DUBAI: Some stereotypes hold you back; others help you achieve your dreams. French entrepreneur Rym Yessad, founder of Dubai-based online store Curl Shop, knows this well.
When speaking to Arab News, Yessad, who is of Moroccan and Tunisian descent, said growing up with curly hair in a European country was a struggle.
“It is not like being an adult with curly hair because you do not have the same confidence,” the entrepreneur, who is currently based in Dubai, explained. “When you are young, you just want to look like your friends at school… but when you are an adult with curly hair, it is a statement.”
Yessad recalled incidents where she felt “traumatized.”
“In the work environment, people used to tell me this looked unprofessional, even here in the Middle East which I found super surprising,” she said.
“I had some comments during an interview, someone told me: ‘You do not look like you work on excel files.’ It traumatized me, honestly, which made me feel like I needed to leave this country for sometime,” she added, referring to France.
She encountered situations when people told her curly hair does not suit special occasions, like weddings.
“They tell you: ‘You cannot go with your curly hair to the wedding. It is not classy nor neat,’ and this affected me as an adult,” she added.
But eventually these incidents would drive her to open her own business.
Yessad moved to Dubai with her family five years ago. She worked with some of the biggest global beauty companies such as L’Oréal and Sephora.
Despite the difficult time that the world is enduring due to the coronavirus pandemic, Yessad still managed to launch her brand in June.
“It took nine months — the same time it takes to bring a baby to life. It’s crazy, it’s like my baby,” she said.
On her website, she sells all the products that curly haired girls would need. She offers shampoos, conditioners, curly creams, and even styling tools and accessories like foldable diffusers, special combs, silk bonnet and silk pillows.