Middle Eastern Women Entrepreneurs in the eCommerce World to Inspire You

Celebrating #Women’s_History_Month, the day of Women Entrepreneurs and all other women, we have thought of introducing a few examples for women in the Middle East who have followed their passion, launched their own eCommerce businesses, and become an inspiration for their peers.

From baking heavenly cupcakes to engraving luxury jewelry, manufacturing top-notch makeup products, and dressing up world celebs, women in the Middle East have conquered the e-commerce world, gave it all to their dream business, and made it through tough challenges and hardships.

I guess we need to take a deep look at some success stories of ambitious women in the Middle East who penetrate the eCommerce world… 🤩

Let’s go… 💃

5 eCommerce Success Stories for Women in the Middle East

Laila’s NOLA

Women and eCommerce-NOLA

“It was a huge risk when we invested into it, but we went ahead.”

Supported by her brother, Laila launched her cupcake brand with quality and taste that compete and rival international brands.

Laila Sedky started her delicious project in October 2010, with a small, cozy, and elegant cupcake shop at Al-Zamalek.

Laila attributes her success to her family and her close friends. She also said that everybody was up for help all the way long for God knows why.

“I am surrounded by a support network consisting mainly of my family, friends and team. I’m lucky to be working with my brother, as we always help each other focus on our objectives.”

Only a couple of months after Laila has launched her first business, the 25th of January events broke out and things were not the same again. The small team has encountered lots of challenges and hardships that they had to survive and make it through.

After years of hard work, full dedication, and true efforts, NOLA now operates 16 shops across some of Egypt’s premium districts, as well as over 10 pop-up booths for events and universities to become one of the most ambitious women entrepreneurs in the Middle East.

Women and eCommerce-NOLA branches

In 2013, Laila Sedky got named “Entrepreneur of the Day” by Connectors Egypt!

“In my opinion, fear of failure is the main reason why women don’t step up and pursue leadership roles.”

NOLA’s cupcakes are known for their top quality, diverse flavors, innovative mixtures, and neat packaging.

Laila intends to conquer the international markets with her own local brand in the very near future. She is sure that her little delicacies are up to the challenge.

“Women represent half of the working force and they deserve equal opportunities to pursue leadership roles.”

📈 10% of Middle Eastern entrepreneurs are females.

💡 You might love to read this article 👉 How to Start a Phone Case Business in 2021? Action Steps

eCommerce Lessons from NOLA

  • “Never take No for an answer!”
  • You’re never too young to start.
  • Take ownership of what you do.
  • Study the market well, and look for a gap that you can fill.
  • Hardships and market fluctuations are a fact and not a possibility.
  • Having someone close that you trust and count on makes a huge difference.
  • Your success is only limited by your dreams, a business is never done at some point.
  • Do your best to ensure that your customers receive the best quality with superior customer service.
  • Try to always guarantee a high level of responsiveness to the market needs to help ensure customer satisfaction.

📈 36% of business owners are females.

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Azza’s Jewelry

Women and eCommerce-Azza Fahmy

Starting as a young female entrepreneur at one of Khan El Khalily’s jewelry workshops, Azza was the first and only woman ever to apprentice with a goldsmith, in the middle of tens of skilled crafters and male jewelers.

“So I tied my hair back, put on my overalls and spent my days in a workshop full of men learning the tricks of jewellery making.”

Along a journey of 60 years, Azza Fahmy has managed to transform the concept of jewelry making from a craft to an art.

Azza Fahmy is not a mere jewelry crafter, she’s a pioneering woman in jewelry making, an ambassador of Egyptian history and Pharaonic culture in front of the whole world.

“As Egyptians, we grow up around this culture and we are passionate about heritage… In the end, I put everything in a melting pot and expresses it in each piece.”

Today, Azza Fahmy’s workshop employs 280+ people who execute everything from skilled labor, to design, engineering, and marketing.

The company today produces 40,000 pieces a year, ranging in price from several hundred to thousands of dollars.

From pharaonic collars to twisting serpents, Azza Fahmy pieces have been spotted on celebrities such as Naomi Campbell and Queen Rania of Jordan.

Supported by her two loving daughters, Fatma and Amina, Mrs. Fahmy could build a brand that is a model not only for jewelers and designers worldwide but for Egyptian women as well.

Quoting the CNBC, “Her two daughters have even more ambitions for the company, which this year opened its first store in the Mayfair district of London, adding to a network of 14 branded stores, as well as retail agreements with galleries in global cities such as Washington, D.C., and Dubai, and an online shop.”

📈 Women started running their own business in 1972

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eCommerce Lessons from Azza Fahmy

  • Success for women has no boundaries.
  • Do not be afraid to defy social conventions.
  • Try all possible ways to find your inspiration.
  • “Love and passion are the secret keys to success.”
  • There are no limitations to achieve your dreams.
  • Go international, as long as you have faith in your brand.
  • Being a good mother and a successful businesswoman is totally manageable.
  • Shifting from a single-owned workshop to a structured business is not easy, but it’s possible.

📈 The majority of females need less capital to start a business than males do.

Huda’s Beauty

Women and eCommerce-Huda Beauty

One of the most famous and richest women in the Arab world today is the beauty expert Huda Kattan, founder of the makeup brand Huda Beauty, preferred and sought-after by a huge sector of girls and women around the world.

Huda is an Iraqi woman who loves makeup and cosmetics. Her tendencies toward these interests began from a young age. She was keen to put makeup on for herself and her sisters.

After the family moved to the United States of America, the opportunity came to Huda to study the art of cosmetic and makeup techniques at the University of Michigan in America.

Huda started her career by working with many celebrities around the world, such as “Eva Longoria.” Then she worked as a makeup artist at “Revlon” cosmetics, until she made the decision to establish her own brand.

On her blog, she regularly published content on the art of beauty and the secrets of cosmetics and skincare for every girl and woman.

Huda Beauty’s blog gained amazing success and achieved great reach among a huge segment of her audience around the world.

Women and eCommerce-Huda Beauty blog

In 2013, she started her first product line, Huda Beauty, to produce cosmetics.

“Kim Kardashian” is her first and most famous client, which was the secret of her rapid success, as this provided her with other great opportunities among a large segment of Kim Kardashian fans.

False eyelashes were the first product Huda produced, and then the brand expanded in the production of many cosmetic products: lipstick, eyeliner, false nails, eye concealer, and blush.

“As a brand, we are fun yet sophisticated, and we are always innovating!”

From putting makeup on her little sister, working as a makeup artists, and creating a small blog, to finally launching a brand that is one of the strongest cosmetic brands today in the Middle East and the whole world — an entrepreneurial journey to be proud of.

📈 Female-owned businesses earn double of those male-owned of the same category.

💡 How to Write Instagram Captions? Your 2021 Ultimate Guide

eCommerce Lessons from Huda Beauty

  • Put time and effort into a dream, and it really pays off.
  • Success doesn’t come overnight, it’s a long process of hard work and innovation.
  • It’s not about what you studied, it’s always about where your heart is.
  • Learn to take tough decisions and take responsibility.
  • Don’t be in the business only for the money.
  • Always connect with people and build your brand’s community.
  • “Sometimes you don’t know what you’re capable of, until you try it!”

📈 Female-owned companies have seen an increase in numbers with 100%.

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Razan’s Fashion

Women and eCommerce-Razan

Born and raised in Saudi Arabia, an environment not conducive to artistic creativity, Razzan Alazzouni did not ignore her passion with art and design.

“Growing up with artistic tendencies was harder to accommodate and conform to the norm around me.”

She applied and got accepted at The School of Museum of Fine Arts and TUFTS, University in Boston, Massachusetts, where she concentrated on sculpture, screen-printing, and papermaking.

After graduation, Razan dedicated herself exclusively to fashion and design, and developing her own clothing line.

Razan was thrilled when Anna Sophia Robb wore a short white dress with delicate beading by Alazzouni paired with a denim jacket. It was her first big break, and then other famous actresses were seeking her outfits.

Women and eCommerce-Razan Alazzouni celebs
Razan’s outfit on the Red Carpet

Razan derives most of her inspiration from women themselves, where she is keen on exuding the femininity, delicacy, and grace of the female form.

Women and eCommerce-Razan Alazzouni

📈 10 female-owned companies, started in 2019, are now worth one billion dollars.

💡 You might love to read this article 👉 Powerful Marketing Channels That Drive Sales in 2021

eCommerce Lessons from Razan Alazzouni

  • If it’s easy, then it’s not worth it.”
  • Family is the number one supporter.
  • Let your passion be your compass, and nothing else.
  • You’re not a prisoner of the environment you were born into.
  • “Have your own style that sets you apart and never imitates.”
  • Passion and creativity must be enhanced with learning and study.
  • “If you really want something, then you have to keep going no matter what until you find a solution.”

📈 66% of women in the Middle East get their primary income from an allowance, and just 16% overall derive theirs from paying work.

Mona’s Mumzworld

Women and eCommerce-mumzworld

Listed as one of the Middle East’s Power Businesswomen 2021 on Forbes, Mona Ataya is the CEO of one of the highest-funded women-led e-commerce businesses in the region.

Starting out as concerned parents themselves, she and her friend Leena launched their e-commerce website Mumzworld to fill a huge market gap in the field of babies’ and kids’ clothes and utensils.

“We weren’t satisfied with the product range or information we found at crowded malls and scattered online stores.”

Mona and Leena wanted to provide parents all what they wanted for their kids with the best quality from local and international brands from the comfort of their homes or offices.

“We envisioned giving families in the Middle East one place to search, compare, and buy from a wide range of leading local and global brands, all from the comfort of their homes and offices.”

In 2019, Mumzworld built a 66,000 sq. ft. warehouse in Dubai, which now houses over 250,000 products.

The e-commerce website and company raised $20 million in new capital last January 2020, which gives it a total of $50 million in funding. That’s why Mumzworld is considered one of the highest-funded women-led e-commerce businesses in the region.

As the company’s CEO, Ataya declared that they plan on regional expansion across North Africa and the Levant.

“We are a mumz team, here to support, empower and inspire.”

📈 62% of women entrepreneurs are between 40 and 59.

eCommerce Lessons from Mumzworld

  • Put your customers at the heart of your brand.
  • Take advantage of market gaps and work to fill them.
  • Your business’s inspiration might come from your everyday life.
  • Think of solutions that will make life easier for a certain group or segment of people.
  • As an e-commerce store owner, ensure that the store’s visitors can shop in the fastest, most convenient, and most cost-effective manner.

📈 Most women start their own business to juggle between family and career.

Examples for Female-Owned Stores on ExpandCart

ExpandCart, as the largest e-commerce enabler in the Middle East, supports women in earning their living and taking their business from offline to online.

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Here are some pretty amazing stores that are built and run on the ExpandCart platform by female entrepreneurs.

Ola’s Garden — Handmade, Heartmade

female-owned stores on expandcart-olas garden

This female-owned online store sells handmade items that you’ll instantly fall in love with: scarves, jewelry, paintings, home décor, and more.

Ola Mubsalat, the owner, lives in the heart of Amman, Jordan, with a background in graphic design, applied arts, and handcrafts.

As she can understand the human need for beauty and creativity, Ola gathered all her skills in arts and crafts in her secret garden where pieces vary from handmade jewelry, scarves, clothes, sculpture, paintings, and mosaic to embroidery and many more.

“My method in design is meditation in details through patience and observation, designing directly from life, committed to design rather than trends, with nature loving spirit that captures essences.”

You can buy Ola’s Garden handmade products at her online shop and have them delivered to your doorstep.

Coco Fleur — Make Someone Smile

female-owned stores on expandcart-coco fleur

Coco Fleur is a gorgeous online store delivering breath-taking flowers for all occasions to your door.

They have a wide collection of birthdays, anniversaries, congratulations, and more, where customers can conveniently choose from, pay online, and deliver to the ones they love and care about.

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💡 You might love to read this article 👉 How to Find Trending Products 2021 and Market for Them

Mini Signatures — All about Elegance

female-owned stores on expandcart-mini signatures

Mini Signatures is a female-owned e-commerce store built on ExpandCart that customizes clothes and stuff for babies and kids.

They are thrilled to give babies and children personal gifts with their names on them, specially made for them.

Mini Signatures’ team always works to develop unique accessories and products that are made and presented with much love and care.

They give great attention to quality, personalization, and customer care.

Samar Al-Assaf — Luxury Jewelry

female-owned stores on expandcart-samar jewelry

Samar Al-Assaf jewelry online store sells high-end, innovative, modern jewelry pieces, crafted from precious metals and gemstones by the famous jewelry designer Samar Al-Assaf.

Samar is an artistic designer, with an eye for details and a hand for perfection.

The famous designer introduces luxury jewelry and man elegance on her e-commerce store, in addition to living-art pieces like this pretty eyeglasses chain of deer horn shape.

Zomorod — Softness to Fall in Love with

female-owned stores on expandcart-zomorod

Zomorod online store offers a wide range of linens, mattresses, quilts, pillows, and others.

The store owners are keen on providing high-quality products at good prices. They have different sections to appeal to all users: kids, offers, store gifts, etc.


Hats off to moms, stepmoms, mothers-in-law, sisters, daughters, and each and every female out there, aiming high and achieving greatness.

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