Features, International Women’s Day - March 8, 2022

#BreaktheBias: Noof Al Shekar Founder, NS by Noof


To commemorate the International Women’s Day, we are featuring women who have made notable contributions in their respective industries. We aim to explore the tenacity of each and discover how they pushed boundaries to rise to the top. 

What does the 2022 International Women’s Day slogan, #BreaktheBias mean for you in your work life? 

In my line of work I design and create for every gender, color, nationality and religion. 

I create my pieces by taking inspirations from the different cultures around the world, from Arabic geometrical shapes to the Russian patterns, my stones are picked and chosen from different continents and countries. The mix of different mediums from different places used in one piece is created for an anti-bias market where everyone can feel that the bag belongs to them.

What is the main challenge that you’ve faced as a woman in your industry? 

The challenge I face as a women in my industry, First, being a Muslim Arabic woman who wants to take her business and creations globally is a challenge. Being a mother of four and an entrepreneur is another challenge I face, where people won’t take you seriously and think of it more like a hobby and not a business.

What has been the most empowering moment in your career?

The most empowering moment in my career was the challenge of diverting this niche brand which I built in the last 11 years from full on high-end exotic skin handbags to a sustainable brand maintaining the same quality, feeling and brand DNA. The more I looked in this matter the more I wanted to be in the lead; not only to be sustainable, but also to maintain the high-end luxurious feeling with sustainable materials. 

In addition, we have tried to raise the amount of recycled waste used in every product – each bag wasequivalent to three to four recycled bottles. We have increased that by increasing the use of the same fabric for each bag of up to 10 bottles per bag. That gives us pride and joy to be more aware of our environment and do our best to give back.

Which powerful woman do you admire the most and why?

Zaha Hadid. She proved herself in an era when men used to rule, she defied physics and normality to create her vision. Coming from the same background, a woman like her is an inspiration and a legend.

Do you have any advice for women wanting to start their own business or work their way up the ladder? 

First, do something you love, so you’re always motivated and inspired. Don’t give up, if today is a bad day,tomorrow will be be a better one. Small steps are better than no steps at all.

Learn from your mistakes, stand up for yourself, love your work, accept criticism and accept your mistakes, this is the only way you will learn and evolve. Be open to change, embrace it. Take every obstacle as a challenge, and enjoy overstep to your goal, remember the goals and methods might change but your intentions are the only things that matter.

What main change would you like to see for young girls in the next generation? 

I think the next generation females are strong, powerful, confident and I would like for that to continue. I would like for the next generation to find patience and trust as they grow.

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