Interview with U.S.-based Hijab Business Owner: “Don’t Get Caught Up in the Glamour”

If you’re anything like me, a good hijab is hard to find — a nice maxi hijab that’s easy enough to manage, even with the complexity of many different hijab styles nowadays. Sure, there are vendors and relatives overseas that have a good variety of hijabs to choose from. And sure, we can always go to Forever 21 and insist their scarves can be used as hijabs (and we can work ’em, too.) But the struggle of high prices, long distances, and scarf replacements are over. I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to Mariam Qureshi, the founder of Z&M Hijabs, a hijab business based in the USA.

MuslimGirl: What motivated you to start your own hijab business?

I actually never imagined I would own a hijab business. One day, I was just randomly complaining about how it is almost impossible to find good and affordable hijabs in the U.S, and my friend asked me why don’t I just start one, as a joke. However, that comment really got me thinking, and I said to myself – well, why not? I enjoy customer service (I used to work in retail), and I sincerely enjoy putting a smile on others’ faces (which would explain the tiny details I give attention to in all the orders we receive). From there, I started to do some research, and that’s pretty much how it all began.

MG: With the large styles and selections of hijabs out there, how do you choose which hijabs you want to sell?

Initially, I started by choosing all the designs that I thought were super gorgeous. However, with time and experience, I realized that not all designs that are super pretty turn out to be beautiful hijabs. I started to understand what sorts of designs make good hijabs and what kind of colors (and designs) are popular. Every now and then, I still order things based on my own bias (you know that girl urge where you just can’t help but get that really cute item lol). I think that’s what makes the store so diverse. I try to get suggestions from my customers as well, which is why on the website we suggest (or even urge) customers to email us if they don’t find a particular style they are looking for. It’s always a pleasure to hear what our customers want!

“I understand that expenses pile up, causing hijab companies to raise their prices, but it’s just not very fun for the customer.”

MG: What is the best thing about owning your own hijab store?

The best part of owning my own hijab store is definitely all the super amazing du’as I get from the customers. I love love LOVE reading positive reviews and hearing about happy customers. There is seriously nothing better than knowing I have put a smile on someone else’s face. I truly feel that love for the sake of Allah when I’m writing and processing all the orders, so it’s great when its reciprocated.

MG: Jaza’Allah Khair! What is your most recommended hijab?

My most recommended hijab….well, I can’t really recommend just one. I may be the owner of a hijab store, but I am just like any other hijabi – crazy about cute hijabs, so there are sooo many to like. I personally enjoy solid colors because I like to wear a lot of printed sweaters, and I am a serious fan of our glitter hijabs – all of the colors are extremely pretty; I really feel the pictures don’t even do justice to how pretty they are.

MG: What are a few of your most popular hijabs?

Our most popular hijabs are of course the solid maxi hijabs. Amongst the solids, the black, navy, maroon, teal, mauve, and deep nude are extremely popular colors, which is completely understandable because all of those colors are pretty awesome. (I mean every hijabi needs black, navy, and nude.)

MG: How do you feel about the different ways hijabis wear their hijabs? Is there a certain style you like or hate?

I feel that the different hijab styles are an accurate portrayal of our diverse ummah. Different doesn’t necessarily mean bad; there are so many gorgeous hijab styles out there, and they vary not only from location to location but also person to person. It’s a cool way to celebrate the diversity amongst all the hijabis! Personally, I am not a fan of the turban style – only because I definitely cannot rock that look; I have seen a lot of women completely halalify it and make it look super cute; unfortunately, I am not one of those women (plus, imagine a turban niqabi …. hahaha). I am a fan of the standard hijab style; I prefer coverage in the front and back (which is such a challenge at times), and I love folds!

MG: A turban nikabi! Haha, Interesting image! Well, I don’t know if it’s just me, but I feel like there aren’t as many hijab stores in the USA, compared to other places, like the UK. Why do you think that is?

Well, it’s not that we don’t have hijab stores in the USA; the reality is that we have them, but they are just too expensive, unfortunately. I mean, I understand that expenses pile up, causing hijab companies to raise their prices, but it’s just not very fun for the customer. This is really the reason why I began my hijab store in the first place, so even now, I always try to keep my prices as low as I can (I mean who doesn’t love a $6 sale, haha.)

MG: So, what advice would you give someone who’d like to get into the hijab selling business?

The advice I would give to anyone starting a hijab business is to always try to stay true to the ultimate goal (which is to make yourself and your customers happy) and to not get caught up in to the glamour of it all (if that makes sense.) Just go with your instincts and trust yourself. Also, its good to work on making good relationships with your customers; in my opinion, this is more important than making a hefty profit.

My recommended hijab from Z&M Hijabs would definitely be “TheSparkler Hijab.” It’s just soft and maxi enough to style in any way you’d like. The maroon color is perfect for the Fall, but there are many other colors you can choose from!

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My “Sparkler Hijab” look for the Fall!