What was the inspiration behind your business? What inspired you to launch it?
Very good question, knowing that when I started my career as a hotelier, I never thought that I would eventually become an entrepreneur and enjoy it so much. I left Morocco in 1999 during a sensitive time of my life when I believed it was time for me to change my environment, open up my perspectives and further my education. I obtained my MBA in the US in 2003 and moved to Paris, France where I found that applying for a job was not an option because my husband had a diplomatic status. So I started looking for volunteering opportunities and joined the European Professional Women's Network (EPWN) as an active member. It was there that my entrepreneurship spark was ignited. I was inspired by fellow members to start my own business and once I got a taste of freedom, returning to the workplace proved to be challenging. When we later moved to Bahrain and I got an excellent job offer from a local company that I accepted, I found that I had a hard time dealing with my General Manager as a superior I had to report to before discussing anything with the owners of the company, even in their capacity as executives within the company. Now I understand that I had lost that sense of hierarchy that he expected from me. My experience in France had changed me irreversibly, so it is no surprise that I am now an importer of French gourmet macarons.
What are you hoping to accomplish through your business? What is the main goal?
They say that unless it is crazy, ambitious and delusional, it’s not worth our time. My objective is to expand nationally and internationally. I am looking to become a leader in gourmet foods, starting with French desserts but remaining open-minded about other options. Becoming an established wholesaler is my number one priority,
How is your business different than its competitors?
I was lucky to be born in Morocco where the cuisine is exquisite and has its share of influence from French cuisine (as well as other cuisines). Working in the hospitality industry for many years and spending close to a decade in Paris, France, all allowed me to develop a good palate for fine food. I respect everyone else in this industry and I only compete with myself, always striving to provide the best quality, to use the best ingredients and to offer a wonderful culinary experience to my customers, including wholesale clients.
In your opinion, what is the number one mistake that entrepreneurs make as they manage their business and how can they avoid it?
Perhaps the number one challenge for entrepreneurs is loneliness. Not having a sounding board is a major issue and not having a team to support us in the areas that are not in our field of expertise. A significant mistake is not to ask for help, It is vital to acknowledge our limitations and look for experts who can assist us in our entrepreneurial journey.
What’s your approach in solving day-to-day business challenges? Any creative ideas or strategies you may want to share with us?
Entrepreneurship is like a roller coaster, one day we are on top of the world and the next we may feel dejected and discouraged. It is important to invest in our mental well being, strengthen our mindset and shift our perspective. I see problems as temporary challenges that teach us essential lessons on our way to success, I see my world as perfect as it is right now, obstacles being nothing but stepping stones in my entrepreneurial journey. I feel grateful for everything around me and always expect the best outcome.
What is your] biggest strength? And What's your weakness?
My biggest strength is most probably my eternal optimism. I aim for the top and I march towards it believing that everything works for me. My weakness possibly stems from that strength, I find myself sometimes ignoring warning signs in some situations and continuing to believe that everyone means well, when unfortunately, it is not always the case.
How far do you see yourself attached to your business?
I am passionate about what I do and I see myself doing it for a very, very long time.
In what way does your value system influence your business? Or does it at all?
Honesty, loyalty and integrity are key for me and I like to believe that everything I do, whether it is professional or personal, is impacted by my values.\
If you were offered a grant that will provide you with a franchise business, what franchise would you choose?
That’s a difficult question because I am very attached to my freedom. As much as I respect the concept of Franchise as a successful business model, I am not sure that it is for me. Instead, I would love a grant to finance the growth of my business.
What is the most thing that scares you as an entrepreneur? And what is the most thing that scares you in life?
As an entrepreneur I am wary of getting overly caught up in running my business and forgetting to actually live and enjoy my life as a person. I would like to always continue having time for my friends and family and my hobbies. In life, my biggest fear is losing my loved ones. I wish them all a long and healthy life and a lot of happiness.