Turning passion into business on a budget
Success can start with a simple idea coupled with the passion and talent to develop that idea into reality. (File photo)
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One of the newest trends picking up in Saudi society is people with very tight budgets who cannot rent out shops starting businesses from their homes. These people market their products through social networking websites and by participating in public events. They advertise by simply posting samples of their work on Instagram, Snapchat and other social media sites.
Their success starts with a simple idea coupled with the passion and talent to develop that idea into reality. Saudi Gazette met with three young Saudis to know more about this trendy way of making money.
Sumaia Saleh Almaari is a 20-year-old finance student who started a year ago with a very small amount of money. Speaking of her experience, Almaari said: “I started with a very meager budget of SR300. I was literally afraid of failure because people always preferred to go to well-known stores. I told myself why not make a try. I bought the necessities and basic materials for my work. I started with wrapping gift boxes. I prepared three large boxes, then I took pictures of them and posted them on Instagram. The first couple of orders I got were from my friends and their classmates. Then I started becoming popular among university students and their relatives. Every week I used to get three to four orders. The students were excited because it was a new idea for them. Therefore, they talked to each other about it.”
Almaari decided to advertise her business more in Ramadan when the demand is normally very high.
“I paid SR3,000 for advertisement to a well-known Instagram figure. By the grace of Allah, it did wonders and I got lots orders ever since. I was very happy because I worked all Ramadan and Eid. On these two occasions, I added creative little things to the gift boxes that can express the holy occasion. I also participated in big events, which helped me in many ways. Another turning point in my business was when I did the décor for my booth at one of the events because I also do murals. I was surprised that people asked me about the décor more than the wrapping of gift boxes. They asked me could I do it for a graduation party and a wedding. I happily agreed. I even got two small restaurants, which asked me if I could design their menus. Thank God, I like designing cards and menus after learning how to do them some time ago. I designed my logo and people liked it. My business expanded to cover all my talents, which are wrapping gift boxes, designing cards and menus, decorating graduation parties and wedding ceremonies all from home. Soon I will work with a restaurant to do murals. Honestly, I did not expect people to like my drawings on walls but they obviously did. I do not think of opening my store right now. My dad recommended that it is much better to stick to Instagram because you know it is from home and you do not need to pay extra bills. My major is finance but I adore marketing. Before I used to work in designing logos and creating personal brands. My ambition is to build my name and my own brand. I want to incorporate all my skills and make money from home.”
When asked which is better: business from home or a regular job with a monthly salary, Almaari said: “Your own business can create satisfaction more than any job. You can be creative and unique. You are given enough space, you do something you love and you can develop your talent without any restrictions. My goal is to have my business; my direction is not into a regular monthly-paid job. Our society welcomes new talents and small businesses.”
Sahar Al-Hazaa is a teacher by profession but she chose to double as a makeup artist from home.
Speaking about how she developed the idea of starting a home business, Al-Hazaa said: “It dawned on me four months ago. I had to attend a party and I used the services of a makeup artist. After she did my makeup, friends told me I usually do my makeup better. So, I thought why not become a makeup artist myself. I learned how to put eyeliner when I was in grade 6. However, I had never thought it was a means of making money from home.”
Al-Hazaa said she was not happy with the makeup the artist put on her for her party. “That day I searched for other makeup artists in Saudi Arabia. I found lots of them. I got encouraged and started learning how people start in this profession. I surfed websites of famous brands such as Chanel to see their latest products and got to know more about the world I love. I started with doing makeup for my family members. They always noticed the difference before and after my makeup,” she said.
“One of my happiest moments was when I had a problem with my brushes. All of them were wet. Therefore, I used my finger in putting the eye shadows and blending them together. My relatives were very happy at the results. It helped me to build confidence,” she said.
As a teacher of physics, Al-Hazaa said she always used a mind map in her class. “I used that technique in organizing my thoughts on how to professionally begin and branch out. I wrote down possible ways to improve myself in the field, my necessities, budget, etc. Then I went to Bahrain with my husband to take an intensive two-day course with a well-known Brazilian makeup artist. I listened to every single word she said through a translator. I wanted to benefit from the opportunity. It was truly the happiest moment of my life after my graduation. I felt I am on my way,” she said.
After coming back to Riyadh, Al-Hazaa opened an account on Instagram and started looking for a model and a photographer to document and post her work.
“Then I started preparing my brushes and makeup products to put it on the model. Every month I upload two to three looks on my account. I started with SR3,000. I did a lot of modifications to my plan in order to distribute my budget wisely. I spent SR1,000 on makeup necessities I needed for the first look on the model. The model took around SR1, 000, and the photographer took the last SR1,000. I learned four types of makeup: bridal, soft-look, smoky and Khaleeji. My friend is very good at drawing and she did just one logo but I liked it. I told her what I wanted and she did it for me. It even helped her to boost confidence,” Al-Hazaa said.
After a while, she talked with a relative who is unemployed and likes taking photos but she never did it as a paid job before. “I encouraged her to work with me and thanks to Allah, she did it well,” said Al-Hazaa.
When asked about how she organizes her schedule between being a teacher and a makeup artist, Al-Hazaa said: “During school days, I do not accept orders. Just on weekends and during holidays. The first order I got was from a colleague at school: she, her sisters and mother. I was on top of the world.”
Al-Hazaa says her next dream is to give workshops on makeup styles to hundreds of women at a big place.
Falah Albogami, a 28-year-old high school graduate, chose to pursue his passion in drawing by threads and pins. Speaking to Saudi Gazette about his experience, he said: “I started drawing six years ago when I graduated from school and was looking for a job. This took me almost two years. Sincerely, it was a very good opportunity to get to know my hobby and develop myself. My drawings were portraits made by pencils and charcoal. I started using pins and threads a year and a half ago. Ever since, I worked on improving this talent. It has been a self-learning journey where I have not taken any course. I started with 40cmx40cm. Now I can use more than 1,700 pins for one picture. My old art works had some mistakes and over time I learned how to fix them. I learned about this technique via a video I received on WhatsApp. I liked it a lot and immediately started applying it to my work. Then I began drawing portraits.”
Albogami said he turned a room in his house into an art studio. “There I can find all my works and necessities. I feel I am literally in another world. I turned my talent into a business. I sold my works after posting them on Instagram and Snapchat, and by participating in events and exhibitions. Thanks to Allah Almighty, now I can draw portraits of anyone any size,” he said, adding that his prices are not high compared to the efforts he puts in.
“It is not easy at all but it is my passion. I see my future in drawing, not in a regular job. I can do something I enjoy 100 percent. I feel I am on top of the world whenever I draw. Nothing is better than investing and making business out of one’s own talent,” Albogami said.
He said he would highly recommend to all young men and women to try investing in their talents “because no one can imagine its joy. And finally do not ever listen to anyone who tries to put you down.”
By Hanan Alnufaie