Episode 26: Nafisa Bakkar
Nafia Bakkar, CEO and Founder of Amaliah.com, on helping Muslim women look and feel good.
Nafisa Bakkar is a woman under 30 to watch according to Forbes, Wired, CNN and other news outlets. She is the CEO and co-founder of Amaliah, a modest fashion, beauty and lifestyle platform for Muslim women.
Nafisa’s journey with Amaliah started out with a search for clothing that not only aligned to her Muslim values but that also helped her to look and feel good. Most women’s fashion trends in North America and Europe tend to move counter to Islamic values of modesty. It's always a challenge for modern Muslim women to strike a balance between trends and tradition. This search inspired Nafisa to help the millions of Muslim women like her who struggle to find fashionable modest clothing.
In the last two years, Nafisa and her co-founder sister, Selena, built a community of over 250,000 users who turn to Amaliah for curated modest fashion. The platform includes over 70 collaborators who share stories of the ethnically rich and diverse Muslim women’s community.
Find out from the podcast how Nafisa:
- Reconnected to her Muslim identity and discovered that clothing was an important part of it
- Launched Amaliah, a modest fashion platform, to help Muslim women look and feel good by empowering them to be "unapologetically" Muslim
- Defines “modest” fashion
- Describes the difficult journey of launching Amaliah from learning to code, to fundraising for capital to networking with different people
- Rejected prize money from a pitch competition because it went against her values
- Advises on how not to be a performing “monkey” when raising angel investment for funding
- Got a hand up from a mentor and pays it forward
- Believes some of the narratives around “women in tech” are dangerous
- Defines success in her own terms
"It’s other people that will open doors for you. You need to be able to create those relationships.” -Nafisa Bakkar
Nafisa Bakkar and her sister, Selina Bakkar, launched Amaliah from their mother's kitchen table in 2015 as an Instagram page to curate Muslim-friendly clothes from top brands.
Since then, that page has grown into an online community of more than 250,000 Muslim women. Amaliah has been featured in Forbes, CNN and Wired. Follow Nafisa on Twitter.