Deena Al Faris shares her story of success.
Tell us all about yourself.
I was born and raised in Khobar and attended finishing school in Switzerland where I got to practice French and learn a few things about business. That time was a starting point for me. I had a year off during which I interned in accounting and finance in my father’s factory, before finally attending and graduating from Oxford University.
How did you start your successful journey in the world of business?
I have a great father who believes in me and my potential. Around the time of my graduation from university, my father sold his vehicle factory and started a caviar farm with the purpose of tackling a new challenge and bringing something new to the area. After doing a lot of research on it and testing the possibility of running it here, he made it work.
It took seven years for the first caviar to be produced, but he got it certified from the Ministry of Agriculture and we eventually started exporting to Russia. At the time, I was running the development and marketing of the business, then eventually I rose to take on the CEO position. Recently I stepped down from running the business while still retaining a spot in the board of directors.
You recently switched into the fashion industry?
I couldn’t re-invent the wheel in any way when it comes to fashion, but I like to challenge myself. My dream is to see us having academic resources, like a real cut and sew and pattern-making facilities in Saudi one day. With that in mind, I started my own clothing line: Qamrah.
What is the idea behind Qamrah?
As much as I appreciate the traditional concept of fashion startups here, when I started Qamrah I wanted to create something new. Being one of many other Saudi-working women, I wanted to create a clothing line that provides working women with chic/easy-to-slip-on wear. Qamrah is named after my mother and means “moon” in Arabic. The moon goes through phases, so I thought it was the perfect name since women go through phases whether on a daily or monthly basis.
What do you attribute your success to?
When I think about the success of Qamrah, I can’t attribute that all to myself without thinking about the endless support I get every day from my loving husband. He believed in me when I had nothing to prove it was going to work.
What advice can you give to Saudi women who are starting up their own business?
I’d like to say to all the women out there that you shouldn’t worry if you failed once or twice, as long as you have your ideas and conviction. As long as you wake up for it every morning, you will get there. Yes, you’ll face challenges, but it’s all a part of the journey.