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From Engineer to Fashion Designer – A Success Story

Sometimes life throws at us curve balls to steer us in the path that is meant to be walked by us, where our true passion will be fulfilled to have a satisfying and contented life. That is what happened with Dalia Jamal from Jordan. Growing up Dalia, like most girls had her share of dressing dolls and making clothes for them, but little did she know then that this is where her true passion lies and would eventually be her destiny.

Dalia8-Arab Woman PlatformDuring her school days Dalia dreamt of becoming an engineer and focused her energy towards achieving that goal, which she did when she graduated in 2005 as a Communications and Electronic Engineer. Like any fresh grad, she started her career by training and later on landed a job in one of the biggest telecommunication companies in Jordan; her career path was starting to take shape and was very promising.

However a conversation that she had with her brother in 2003 kept replaying in her head, her brother Johar realizing his sisters fashion sense encouraged her to open a fashion boutique that caters to Muslim women’s attire. “Although I was not veiled at the time but the idea really appealed to me, as I noticed the very classic style of many veiled women. I knew that there is another way for Muslim women to dress modestly and be modern and stylish as well.”

With the sudden death of her brother in 2005, Dalia realized how fragile life is and felt the need to surrender to God’s will as well as to honor her brother’s wishes she decided to wear her Islamic veil, this was the beginning of a new chapter in her life. “Shopping for stylish Hijabi clothes was no easy task, so I decided to design my own clothes, something that was out of the ordinary, and although I didn’t know back then how to sketch designs or much about fabrics but I always had an image in mind of what the outfit should look like and feel. With my mother’s help and patient tailors that helped figure out what I wanted, I made myself a decent wardrobe.”

Her designs stared to turn heads and people would stop Dalia in the street and ask her where she bought her outfits from, and when they found out that it was her design, they would ask her to make them one too. “Before I knew it I was taking orders from family and friends. I worked at first from home, but then as more orders came in, I started to deal with merchants and professional tailors, and eventually saved up enough money to open my own shop. Although not many encouraged that move but I felt a desire to do something for me from A to Z.”

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Dalia juggled her full time job at the telecommunication company and her fashion boutique “Johar” in the evening adding to the mix starting her own family. “It was very hectic, like trying to raise ten kids at the same time! But I was happy.”

However as her responsibilities at work grew and became more demanding, Dalia knew she couldn’t keep up with both, and give 100% to each, the time came to choose. “I chose my fashion boutique.”

As Dalia’s business was growing she encountered obstacles of dealing with merchants and finding the best quality material for her customers, “not all the clothes in my shop are from my designs sometimes I purchase from Egypt or Turkey, but I always look for the best quality and that’s not always an easy mission. Another challenge of mine is finding the fine balance between my work and raising my two toddlers, I am thankful that I have a supportive husband, and I do try to maximize my time when at work to accomplish the most in the shortest time so I can spend quality time with my little ones, but I do run around the clock.  I believe that no matter what obstacles one may face there is always a way around it, one has to always keep trying.”

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Dalia didn’t stop here, she self-developed to improve her business, she took several courses on fashion, design and marketing even traveled to Italy and attended design, drawings and sketching courses. “I wanted to succeed so I worked hard not only to improve my brand but myself as well. I dream that my brand and fashion line would become global and be a sought after brand, and slowly it is growing as now we ship worldwide as well.”

Today Dalia is working towards a new goal to become not only a designer but a stylist as well, “most women call me for fashion advice and how to put outfits together, many of my customers only come to the boutique when I am around so I can help them put together a stylish and unique look. I’m discovering a new passion doing this.”

Finally Dalia’s advice for women out there who want to have a career change or follow their passion she said, “Study, study and study, whether online or reading, and practice on yourself and on your close circle of friends. And if you have your own family don’t forget yourself completely for the sake of your loved ones, you deserve to have something just for you. And most of all make sure that you are passionate in what you are doing so it doesn’t turn into a burden and remember “if you follow your passion, you’ll never work a day in your life.” (Tony Benett)

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For more of Dalia’s designs follow Johar on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/joharshop/?hl=en

 

 

Interview conducted and written by Mira Khatib

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