Faith in beauty

THE BEST advice Amira Geneid received was a a quote by William Hutchinson Murray shared by her husband – “The moment one definitely commits oneself, then a providence moves too.”

It taught her that if she wanted something, she had to get up and make it happen herself. But there was a time in her life when she didn’t have the confidence to take the step, although she knew she had a passion in halal cosmetics.

Eventually, she took up an entrepreneurship programme in Silicon Valley, located in the United States.

“It’s scary how many things could go wrong and for a time, all those fears paralysed me,” she said. “This programme really helped me further develop my ideas and business model, which were crucial in providing me with the knowledge and confidence to dive in.”

With that upper hand, Amira flourished and founded Zahara, a luxury cosmetic brand aiming to become a truly international and world-class company.

She founded Zahara a few years ago because there weren’t any other cosmetics brands she would give up her favourites like M.A.C. and Benefit for, and she believed there should be a halal equivalent to those two brands.

“We want to be the halal representation among big cosmetics giants, and are working towards that,” the 25-year-old said.

Congratulations on being featured in Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia Class of 2018. What does this mean to you and how will it benefit your final goals?

I feel very honoured to be selected and represent our country. I hope I can continue working hard to meet people’s expectations of me.

We are trying really hard to grow and this is so valuable to us. This coverage has really helped put us on a more international platform. We had much more interest from people from different corners of the globe which we previously weren’t able to access yet.

Tell us about the halal nail polish.

Our nail polish utilises a revolutionary formula where its particles allow water to pass through the nail polish instead of blocking it. That means water and oxygen are able to reach the nails.

This is not only healthier for your nails, but it does not block prayer water. This product has been a best-seller of ours from the beginning, because it goes to our core of knowing our customers (as a Muslim woman who have the same needs) and trying to address those needs to the best of our ability.

How do you feel Zahara will pave the way for the future of retail, and what are the plans in the pipeline?

Muslim women are demanding for more and more customised products. We aren’t satisfied trying to match our needs to what’s available on the market any more.

We feel we deserve products that have been carefully designed to match our needs without any compromise.

Within a few months, we will be launching more colours which are still under wraps. We also have some other products planned in the pipeline for later this year.

Tell us your daily make-up routine. What are your must-haves?

My make-up routine always starts with sunscreen as we need to protect our skin, especially living in the sunny tropics. I like to keep my day-to-day make-up quite natural by focusing on defining the eyes.

Most days, I keep it quite simple with our Ochre Longwear Eyeliner and Daredevil Lashes Mascara. If I have any special lunch plans or important meetings, I’ll spice that up with our Matte Liquid Lipstick for a pop of colour.

How do you think you have succeeded in the first quarter of your life?

I’m pretty happy with how far I have come, and I am so incredibly grateful for all the blessings and opportunities that I have been lucky enough to have. That said, I definitely have a long way to go, and I am looking forward to the next quarter.

What is the message you want to send to women out there?

I am definitely all about girl power. I want to see more women out there believing in themselves and in each other. We rise by lifting each other up.

How are you part of the movers and shakers, and how can you inspire the next generation?

I hope when other girls see me they will think “if she can chase her dreams, I can too”. I learned that the first step is the scariest, but I hope young women will see more and more of their peers taking that step and be inspired to do so as well.

I hope to keep sharing these messages and the stories of other young women doing amazing things.

We have a column on our blog called Zahara Warriors where we highlight women from all walks of life going after their goals. I hope this can inspire many more people to shape the world in their own way.