NAYA | Turning talents into businesses

“I believe this was the perfect step to make my talent grow,” Said Ayyad. “It’s the best decision I’ve taken in my entire life.”
by Danah Kaouri

9 May 2019 | 09:18

Source: by Annahar

  • by Danah Kaouri
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 9 May 2019 | 09:18

Picture shows Zayna Ayyad (Photo by Amir Fakih).

BEIRUT: Turning a talent into a profession and a source of income is what will make going to work one of the best things one can do. NAYA decided to meet with a few female entrepreneurs who built small businesses around their passions to discuss the birth of their ideas and how they overcame the challenges associated to it.

As a schoolgirl, Zayna Ayyad attended drawing classes which developed her talent and enabled her to express herself through her art.

After graduating and getting a full time job, the painter wanted to make sure she was never too busy to paint.

“I started painting random mandalas. My friends seemed to really like them and started requesting customized paintings for birthdays and other occasions,” Ayyad told Annahar.

This was just the start of Ayyad’s journey into launching a business she likes most.

The painter doesn't only paint on canvases but also, on walls, boxes, and furniture.

“Anything and everything can be canvas,” is her motto.

After more than two years of drawing from her bedroom, the painter wanted to have her own store and a brand for her work.

“I believe this was the perfect step to make my talent grow,” Said Ayyad. “It’s the best decision I’ve taken in my entire life.”

Likewise, Jessica Najem has been drawing ever since she could hold a pen.

“I spent my childhood drawing. When I was 12 years old, I used to watch Kat Von D do tattoos, then my dad got me my first tattoo kit,” said Najem. “Tattooing is very different from drawing on paper. You cannot mess up a tattoo, you cannot erase.”

After working with other tattoo artists for four years, Najem decided she wanted to have her own tattoo shop. And so, around a year and a month ago, she opened The Candy Shop.

Najem’s parents were the most supportive of this decision.

“After I got everything for the store it was difficult to afford more so, my parents were the ones who helped me,” mentioned the artist.

The tattoo artist is determined to expand both her talent and her business.

“I’m going to Ukraine in summer to get a third certificate in tattooing, which is a Masters in Portraits,” the artist explained.

Nonetheless, being a 24-year-old woman with an independent store doesn't come without challenges.

“It’s usually the people who try to belittle you and your work,” said Najem. “Sometimes the best you can do is ignoring and not let it ruin anything.”

From the art of drawing to the art of baking, Nahlan Saade didn't realize she has a passion for baking when she came from New York to her home country for an internship. Back in New York, Saade studied fashion merchandising.

“Once I was done with the internship, I was super bored so I started looking up baking recipes and trying them out,” said Saade. “I started inviting my friends over for lunches and dinners and the feedback was positive.”

Later, Saade started getting requests to do customized cakes and participate in bake sales. It was then that she thought “why not turn it into a business and make use of these opportunities?”

For two years, the baker worked from her home and advertised her work on social media. Once she graduated she opened Better from Scratch.

Saade’s favorite part about having her own store is seeing people’s reactions when they see the final product.

“When I was working from home it was hard to see people’s excitement to what they’re buying. Now I get to see my customers and meet new people,” said Saade.

The Better from Scratch team has been growing.

“The more my team grows, the more I realize that you cannot do everything on your own; it’s important to have a supportive team and divide tasks,” Saade told Annahar.


Welcome to “Naya,” the newest addition to Annahar’s coverage. This section aims at fortifying Lebanese women’s voices by highlighting their talents, challenges, innovations, and women’s empowerment. We will also be reporting on the world of work, family, style, health, and culture. Naya is devoted to women of all generations. Naya editor, Sally Farhat:

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