Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Hijab Style Exclusive: Zyra Interview

Today, Hijab Style brings you an exclusive interview with Sumayyah Nasar, founder of the Malaysian clothing brand Zyra. Sumayyah writes all about her ventures over at her blog Love to Dress. Read on to find out more about this Muslimah designer!

Jana: Tell us a little about yourself and your brand.

Sumayyah: I am Sumayyah, a simple housewife from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia who is very much passionate about dresses. I had the burning desire to express my creativity and at the same time earn an income that is suitable to my life style. So about a years ago, I decided to take this idea seriously and met 2 amazing individuals who had the same passion, and by the grace of God, Zyra was born. Zyra is a retail clothing company that specializes in elegant and modest dressing for urban women age ranging from 25-35. We have a unique objective which is to inspire women to embrace their femininity.

Jana: Do you feel that blogging about your business experience has helped you form a rapport with your customers?

Sumayyah: Yes, I feel that it has. It helps my customer to identify the brand to the person who is actually running the company and the direction to where it is going. My customers could also follow my journey of ups and downs in setting up your own business.

Jana: What has been the biggest challange so far in setting up your business?

Sumayyah: The biggest challenge that I am facing in setting my own business is to run my business as honest as I can. This is very much a spiritual journey that I have chosen to embark into. As a Muslim, I am very much inspired by our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his wife Khadija (may Allah be pleased with her) and how they ran their business. He was an honest business man and this is the most challenging character that I am trying to instill in myself. There are many instances where I have to remind myself that everything done should be so in a way that pleases God and everything comes by the grace of God. Because of this, I feel the struggle within my soul in balancing the act of selling and the way I have chosen to do things in a certain manner.

Jana: What do you think makes the Malaysian clothing market different to other Muslim countries?

Sumayyah: For a start, Malaysians are such colourful bunch of people. We thrive on mixing all sorts of colours together. Also, even though we are Muslims, Malaysians are actually quite open minded when it comes to what we choose to wear. This is because when Islam came to Malaysia in the 15th century, our king embraced Islam by choice and not compulsion. We have therefore retained our cultural heritage but emphasized the values that the Quran and our beloved prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) brought. So in general, Malaysians are quite open to new styles and they cherish that freedom as well. For that, I am thankful that Malaysia is a Muslim country that allow women the liberty to choose what they want to wear.

Jana: You've teamed up with Zyra Chic who sell hijabs, what have you found were the advantages of this over setting up on your own?

Sumayyah: This was a strategic move by me because Zyra Chic has started before and they had a customer base that was in my market segment. They had a fantastic website and their hijab was complimentary to my dresses. I was also very much inspired by my 2 partners who were very hardworking and I wanted to work in a team so that I can learn to manage better. They have given me a learning platform on how I could build my company to include other products and thus to expand my company organically.

Jana: Finally, any words of wisdom for budding entrepreneurs?

Sumayyah: Firstly, don't be afraid to start and when you do, be persistent even if it is a small step. Positive thinking helps A LOT! Look for a mentor, but if you can't get one, then a partner or a close family member or a friend who can support you. For me, it was my husband. He gave me a lot of positive support when I was struggling to start and continue to push me to strive in my efforts. This is what I am most thankful for.

Secondly, at the end of the day, this is a business venture. There is no point in producing something that people are not going to wear. I am always learning to balance my creativity to produce a product with business management. As an entrepreneur, my biggest responsibility is bringing income for the company so the company can continue to grow.

Lastly, the most valuable experience that I have learnt is - it's OK to make mistakes!


Anonymous said...

Salaams, I think this was the most interesting interview of a designer on hijab style yet. Mashaallah I really hope your business becomes very successful and that Allah rewards your striving to be an honest businesswoman with success in the dunya and akhirah. and your designs are amazing too!

Anonymous said...

Jana jazakallah for this great interview!! very inspiring!!!

Anonymous said...

where can i find the hijabs, i love the colors and combination.

Ridda said...

She is such an inspiration M'A!
May Allah SWT continue to give her hidayat along with all other sisters to go on to do something so amazing for fellow sisters, i am so inspired by Sumayyah! Because this is exactly something which i was hoping to pursue!!

Thankyou so much for taking your time out to interview such a lovely sister :)

Ridda xx

Ridda said...


& I hope Sumayyah gets on real well with her business, i'A!

I'm sure she will:D


Hezlina said...

Congratulations Sumayyah! :)

Naziehah said...

Yeayy Su! Congrats! :D

Anonymous said...

I read wonderful article about "world under hijab". It has been written by an Orthodox journalist from Serbia.
It was lot of reaction. I suggest you read it.

Anonymous said...

i luv all the habyyas in their website...but the ordering is i cant pay by credit card :S

Elsa said...

wow, i really like the purple...

and the green one!!!

Sue Nasar said...

mashallah sisters thank you so much for your kind words. May Allah reward all of you better. And thanks Jana for publishing this interview :-)

Nani said...

Assalamualaikum. The dresses are beautiful indeed. Being a Malaysian myself, makes me proud of Sumayyah. There's this other Malaysian designer i found who also makes pretty creations herself. Checkout her blog:

Salsabil said...

Masha Allah!!! so beautifiul dresses!!! Simply amaizing! I am Ukrainian and unfortunately it is completely impossible to wear such beauty here, as it is a huge challenge just to wear hijab here)))) May Allah bless you ladies for your wonderful work and your intention to follow example of our beloved Prophet, peace be upon Him..... Good luck to you and many blessings!!!! insha Allah)))


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