It all began with blogging. Pakistan was first introduced to petite beauty, Alyzeh Rahim Shirazi, when she launched her blog “Beauty Fruity Blurbs” back in 2012. This became a guilty pleasure for most as we would spend work hours poring over her feed as she unabashedly posted up numerous selfies, OOTD’s and fresh makeup looks. It wasn’t difficult to notice that the girl had serious style skills. This was only the beginning. Since her blog launch four years ago, Shirazi is now at the helm of a burgeoning business empire running four separate projects at the same time, from cosmetics to fashion accessories and exhibitions. We sit down with this 28-year-old self proclaimed “startup addict” after the opening of her first brick and mortar store “The Exhibit” in Lahore.
WO: You wear a number of different professional hats. Tell us everything that you do and how can we keep a track of your work?
I don’t believe in wasting time, and I like to do as much as I possibly can. I think I’m a startup addict; I have so many ideas and want to implement them all! I have two of my own businesses; Arsazi, which is basically statement fashion pieces and Magicosmetix, which focuses on innovative tools and trick products that boast changing your makeup routine forever. Then, I have partnered with a friend in the UK to start a sunglasses company called ‘Holy Chic London’; which is statement accessories for the woman on the go and most recently, my partner Sania Hasnain Ali and I started organising these huge multi-brand exhibitions under the title ‘The Exhibit’. It was almost by fluke that it started because we wanted to introduce our own brands to the local market so we thought what better way to do it than to put together many designers under one roof to get as much footfall as possible. The response was so good, that we have had four since March and we have already opened the first concept store in Lahore at Galleria Gulberg.
How did you get your start?
I believe my blog was the very first style blog to be based in Pakistan, I used to post outfit pictures and fashion ramblings. That got off to a great start and was my introduction to the world of fashion in Pakistan. Unfortunately, I don’t have time for that anymore though, but the blog is still up on www.beautyfruityblurbs.com
What does it take to start a cosmetics line of one’s own?
A lot of hard work, dedication and research, just like it is with any other business to be honest. Branding has to be on point, it has to be relevant, the timing of product release needs to be right, the price points have to fit. There is a lot that goes into it, that cannot be summed up in a couple of paragraphs, but most importantly you have to have a good customer value proposition that stands out in the sea of brands.
Why do you think you always get covered in the local press as a style star and not a businesswoman?
That is for two reasons, the first my introduction to the fashion world through blogging/ my role as Fashion and Beauty Editor at OK! Pakistan, and secondly because my main businesses are currently not targeted within the Pakistani market, so a lot of people may not even know I personally own those particular brands.
How big is your company and how do you manage all your employees?
They are small-medium sized businesses, I have been very lucky in regards to employees, I have gotten like-minded, hard working people on board that are honest and reliable. I don’t have a high employee turn over. I really love everyone that works for me like family and feel very blessed that I have them on my side! It’s not tough to manage them at all, I train everyone personally and they are quick to catch on, take initiative and implement!
Which one of your businesses is growing the fastest?
Definitely Magicosmetix, because it is a mass-market brand and caters to everyone. The Exhibit is high up there too!
What requires the most attention?
The Exhibit because it’s the newest venture and we physically now have a shop which requires a lot of attention especially at this point in time. It does help that I have an incredible partner and friend that I work closely with though.
What are 3 tips you would give to women who want to start their own businesses in fashion and lifestyle?
- Find a gap in the market and create a unique product. Don’t let your decision depend on other people’s success. Be original and take a risk.
- Dedicate your life to work. If it’s you own business you cant afford to work part time.
- Believe in yourself!