Nour Kaiss proved her ambition and skills as an entrepreneur when she took the opportunity to create the first ever social Muslim marketplace app, can I just say #goals? The Canadian-born-and-based Syrian fashion, beauty and lifestyle blogger is #MuslimGirlFire and is changing the game for the Muslim fashion industry.
Recognizing that there was a lack of platforms where Muslim fashion brands could shine and fashionistas could shop, she decided to create an app that would fill that space.
Souqina is an app that allows to you buy, sell and explore products! It’s easy to use and perfect for brands, influences and shoppers alike. It was launched May 2016 and Muslim Girl interviewed Nour to find out more about the Souqina app. Check it out below!
MuslimGirl: What inspired you to start Souqina and how was the entire process from the beginning to finally releasing the app?
Nour Kaiss: Through my Instagram, I have been fortunate enough to build a strong network of like-minded bloggers, Muslim brands and individuals who were constantly seeking a platform to share their thoughts, become inspired and of course – shop! Throughout this journey, I realized the need for a platform that catered to the Muslim market – especially modest clothing.
The opportunity to develop a unique marketplace or “Souq” for Muslims was the natural result. What drew me further was the chance to really elevate the level of Muslim consumerism beyond convention bazaars and into the realm of modern e-commerce – all while maintaining our Islamic values. I got to the drawing board, wrote out a business plan and got started on what will (Insha’Allah) be the first ever social Muslim marketplace app.
Did you have any doubts or were you hesitant about launching this app at first?
I knew this was a really new concept that challenged the traditional shopping experience we’re used to. To cater it directly to the Muslim market made it even more challenging in the beginning. With the help of hundreds of Muslim vendors around the world the process of developing an app which met the needs of Muslim shoppers became easier.
[It’s a] chance to really elevate the level of Muslim consumerism beyond convention bazaars and into the realm of modern e-commerce – all while maintaining our Islamic values.
Can you tell me a bit more about Souqina and what makes it special?
The app functions like a typical social media application where users can follow, like, post, tag, direct message, comment, etc. The added feature, however, is that they can instantly buy a product they like straight from a user’s post. We like to frame Souqina as Instagram with a buy button. It is easy to use and secure.
How has Souqina elevated the online shopping experience?
Souqina offers Muslim brands and creative sellers the ability to showcase their products and ideas in a unique and social way. Shopping has evolved significantly in the past few years and as a result has provided Muslims with so many opportunities to find products that cater to their lifestyle and needs.
The problem, however, is that it’s difficult to search among thousands of online stores all over the internet to find the items you’re looking for. Souqina looks to solve that problem by creating a community where users can be social while at the same time have the ability to look through all the different products on a single platform.
How do you decide which companies you want to work with and the products you want to feature on the app?
Souqina is open to every brand, blogger, and individual who has things to sell. It believes in the market’s ability to determine which products are quality and which are not. The sign up process is exactly like any social media app – you download it, create an account, add a picture and a bio and you’re in.
Users have the ability to leave reviews to sellers which can help assist follow on shoppers later on.
How does fashion inspire you and where do you get your daily inspirations from?
I like to think of fashion as a medium for self-expression. I get my inspiration from following like-minded muslim bloggers on Instagram, Pinterest, and other social networks who have similar taste and interesting new styles.
What is your goal with the Souqina app and what do you hope to achieve?
My goal with Souqina is to become the first ever social Muslim marketplace app catering to Muslims around the world. I want to inspire and support Muslim entrepreneurs in a practical way by offering an easy to use platform that allows them to showcase their creative side.
I hope the sense of community Souqina provides is a means breaking barriers and bridging gaps between Muslims all over the world as well.
What has been the best part about launching this app?
The most rewarding thing about launching this app is working on it with my husband. We work really well together as business partners and having his support and dedication to Souqina has been a true blessing.
Launching it together and seeing people using it and benefiting from it has been extremely rewarding.
This is great. A marketplace is the best thing to have these days. You don’t need to rush to different places to buy different things. I’ve also been shopping at eastessence.com since last so many years, having seen them emerged from just being a seller of abayas and other Islamic clothing to now a provider of every Muslim essential available.
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