Fustany is a platform for all things fabulous, targeting women in the Middle East. The inspiring entrepreneur behind it, Amira Azzouz, has managed to build a solid reputation for it as a platform offering a wide variety of topics that interest women. We speak to Amira about Fustany, entrepreneurship and how female entrepreneurs can inspire and support other women.
How did Fustany come to be?
During my last year in college, I took a freelance job with a London-based magazine at the time, and during my first week, I managed to get them a big client they’ve been trying to reach for a while. I then thought to myself that this is something that I could potentially be good at. A few months later, I decided I wanted to do my own thing, and that’s when I launched Fustany. At the time I didn’t think much and just went through with it.
What were the greatest obstacles in your way? And how did you overcome them?
The obstacles are ongoing and change according to what phase the business is at. What I try to do is be patient, push through, avoid wasting time on dwelling, and address the root cause to try and prevent it from taking place again.
Do you see a way for female entrepreneurs to join forces, raise awareness and inspire young girls to follow their passions?
Yes, there are numerous ways for that to take place, but education would make sense the most; through programs and internships, for example. Also, when female business owners positively support one another, that helps them highlight each other more and would encourage more women to do what they want to do.
You serve the whole Middle East and Gulf area, what are the most interesting topics Arab women want to know about and dig deep into?
There’s a wide mix, but the top five topics would be sex education, self-development, fashion-focused on the styling aspect, skincare, and relationships.
Many women in Egypt have to settle for the traditional goals set out for them by society. How can we support them to pursue their own dreams?
I believe this needs a wave of change, and that type of change will only come with time and success stories. It’s on us to shed the light (in a realistic manner, not la vie on rose style) on the importance of pursuing one’s dreams, regardless of what they look like.
What is your favorite thing to work on at Fustany? What fulfills you the most?
I love analyzing data and product development and linking both together; this is my favorite thing to do at Fustany and Ask a Stylist. Also worth noting, I used to suck at it.
What do you see in the future for Fustany?
For Fustany, it would be to reach more and more women from the MENA region, and we also have cool features launching soon. We’ve launched Ask a Stylist a year ago, and we’ve helped a lot of women update their style in a way that makes them super comfortable and happy. Lastly, we have a third business branching out. The aim is to build a fully-fledged platform (or series of platforms) where women can read, watch, shop and interact.
Most Egyptian women have had to answer the question “Hanefra7 Biki Emta” before in reference to marriage, despite any accomplishments they may have already made, what would you say in response to that question?
Depending on what mood I’m in, I’d sometimes try to turn this into an intellectual conversation on why what they’re saying doesn’t make sense. At other times, I just smile and nod, replying back with “Enty(o) kol dah mesh far7ana beya?”, or I’d just show them a meme (occurs often).