Verona Collection Founders Lisa Vogl and Nadine Abu-Jubara Talk Opening Their Retail Space, & More

Ever had one those Debbie downer days, where despite your best efforts, all you can think is, “I’m done. I can’t do anymore. There is no way I can make it,”? Don’t feel bad; it’s totes normal. We’ve all had times in our lives when we get discouraged, but one of the major keys (DJ Khaled voice) is to find what motivates you, and keep moving.
One of the things that motivates us here at Muslim Girl is learning about other women who are rocking it out and making waves in the world, and we hope learning about these successful Muslimahs will do the same for you. You may even see some of yourself in their stories, or something that will spark a fire within you, motivating you to move forward with your dreams. So, we’ve dedicated a whole series to it, called #MuslimGirlFire, and in this series, you’ll get to know some of the Muslimahs who are out here making major moves, one baddie at time.

Today, we talk to founders Lisa Vogl and her partner, Nadine Abu-Jubara. Recently, their company, Verona Collection, broke ground as the first Muslim fashion store to open in a mainstream American mall. Started in February 2015, Verona is a fairly young company.
“It is a hijabi Muslim-run, women-run business,” Vogl told WMFE radio, “This is front in-your-face that we are exactly not who you think we are. We are strong, independent, business educated women.”
Read on for more about these two powerhouses, how they opened Verona, and future plans for their company.
Muslim Girl:  Tell us a little about both of you and your backgrounds.
Vogl:  I have a B.A in Cultural Studies and Marketing from Chatham University. I later went on to pursue a degree in photography from Daytona State College. After completing my degree, I began to pursue a career in fashion photography but stumbled across the industry of modest fashion when I became Muslim in 2011.
Abu-Jubara:  I have a Bachelors in Civil Engineering from the University of Central Florida. I worked in the field for about 5 years and started a non profit organization promoting health and fitness, Nadoona Fitness. I became a personal trainer and international speaker. I dabbled in acting and am now an actress in a few films as well. I like to say that I’m a jack of all trades 🙂
MG:  How and when did you open Verona?
Vogl:  After years of working as a photographer for modest fashion, and seeing the need especially for Muslim women, I decided to open Verona and officially launched in February 2015.
Abu-Jubara:  With the development of the health and fitness organization, I immediately identified that there were not many options for modest, functional, and affordable workout wear. I immediately started designing workout tops and bottoms; once I teamed up with Lisa and the rest of the Verona team, the pieces came to life.
MG:  What pushed you to open Verona? What is it that you offer that other hijab stores don’t?
Vogl:  What I really value about Verona is that we’re affordable without comprising quality and have amazing customer service.
MG:  Current favorite pieces?
Vogl:  My personal favorite piece is the Melania dress in ivory. Lisa V.
Abu-Jubara:  My favorite piece is the modena extra long dress top. I love that I can dress it up with heels and silk chiffon hijab, or dress it down with combat boots and a loosely wrapped viscose hijab.
MG:  Tell us about your developing halal swimwear line.
Vogl:  We’re really excited about the new burkini line coming out. We took a really long time to perfect the perfect swimsuit. The current selection in burkinis don’t always offer the most attractive hijab so we took the time to come out with a functional yet fashionable swimming hijab.
MG:  Congratulations on the opening of your store!  How was the first day? How is business going? 
Vogl:  The first day was amazing, customers flooded through the doors the moment we cut the ribbon. Every major media outlet was there. It was all of our hard work paying off.   The grand opening was incredible and we’ve seen a steady increase of customers coming through the door throughout the week.
MG:  Were you scared of its reception before opening the store?
Vogl:  Given the current political climate it did cross my mind that someone could show up to cause trouble. But I quickly let go of my worries, and focused on all the good that is coming out of the store opening…and that’s what I continue to focus on!
MG:  Have there been any non-Muslims dropping by?
Vogl:  We’ve had lots of non- Muslims come in to congratulate and show their support, but still our main customer base is Muslims.
MG:  Where do you see Verona Collection in five years?
Vogl:  I hope to see Verona continue to grow at the pace we’re growing, with multiple retail stores. We’re also in the process of creating a German and French Verona.
MG:  What are some lessons you learned about entrepreneurship?
Vogl:  The major lesson I’ve learned is to not give up, and always continue to try to improve yourself and the company. You can’t be deterred by negativity and have to keep pushing forward. There will be roadblocks; you just need to learn how handle them.
Abu-Jubara:  One of my main lessons learned with every business venture is that your team is your key. A strong team that works together can create anything.
MG:  Do you plan on opening a plus size collection?
Vogl:  Yes, we are planning on coming out with a full plus size line, starting with our maxi dresses and cardigans
Abu-Jubara:  Our sizes currently run up to size XXL and we hope to extend that our to 4XL soon. We also plan on releasing a Tall line soon we well.
MG:  Any other stores on the horizon?
Vogl:  We are looking at retail in London and Paris next!