My name is Kaltham Alassam. I am 39 years old, and I have two beautiful kids. My family’s origin is Persian, but my father migrated to Qatar long before my siblings and I were born. My mother is from Bahrain originally, she met my father in Qatar, and soon they married. So I didn’t come from a wealthy family and didn’t have a golden spoon in my mouth.
Growing up, I was always interested in science and how the human body functions internally and in relation to the universe. However, God had a different plan for me. So, I graduated high school science major at 19 years old and went off to a clerical job. Then, I tried flexing my entrepreneurial muscles at 23 years old by contracting with a government office to rent my 4×4 car to their engineers and a private limo company to rent my SUV to their customers. As a result, I made over $7000 net earnings in less than 12 months. All the while, I started my business in science bachelor’s degree in 2009 while I was still working full time.
While cherishing my dream of self-employment, I took on different jobs in leadership, strategic planning and performance management, strategy execution, public relations, and events management. Nonetheless, I always felt that there was more in stock for me.
What inspired you to start Magnifique Dame?
I didn’t inherit any ancestors’ secret recipes and all. I remember my grandmother applying pure Henna mixed with water or some oils blend every week on my hair. But that was it! In my teen years, I constantly checked over-the-counter products and their ingredients, influenced by the commercial ads on television to try them out. Especially the ones that had herbs in their ingredients, or so advertised that way. I have always been passionate about everything natural in beauty but didn’t know other than dermatologists at the time. So I spent thousands of dollars during my youth years visiting the dermatologist, hoping to get rid of acne and pigments. Unfortunately, while the visits paid off for some time, acne and pigments continued to come back during my adolescent life.
Come pregnancy, and hello pigmentation, stretch marks, and hair loss! I felt colics in my stomach, and that wasn’t because of my pregnancy. Instead, my anxiety and fear of what was considered safe for my first baby and me. This feeling in my gut triggered my research and investigation for natural products. I explored using fresh, natural, raw ingredients from my kitchen, read a lot about different components, researched chemical reactions of the various compounds of each ingredient. I was on my way to becoming a Diva; I discussed other treatments considered safe for pregnancy products in the industry with beauty salon professionals. Moving forward, I combined the knowledge I gained through experimenting and researching, equipped myself with certifications in herbalism, organic skincare, organic haircare, anti-aging skincare, and crystal healing diplomas. All that allowed me to maintain healthy skin and thick hair before, during, and after both pregnancies. So I wanted to make that possible for all the women out there. That is when Magnifique Dame was born. Since then, it became my mission to lead the shift from synthetic to natural beauty & a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.
Tell us more about Magnifique Dame, who are your clients, what are they looking for?
We are an Indie Beauty & Cosmeceutical Brand that aims to change the community’s overall perception of organic & natural beauty and drive a shift towards sustainable natural cosmeceuticals and a healthy lifestyle. We believe that our best resources are mother nature, and beauty goes hand-in-hand with internal health and wellness. That is why we follow the holistic approach when assessing an issue. Our approach acknowledges the complexity & uniqueness of individuals, thus requiring a deep examination of all aspects of a person’s life, past and present. Our clients are women and men with hair & skin issues who seek a holistic approach to treating the root cause of their problem and not just looking to numb the symptoms or for a quick fix.
Tell us, what do you do as the owner?
I am a Solopreneur, so I rely heavily on AI to run my business. I have a team of Brand Ambassadors and selective testing groups to manage tangible things like marketing by word-of-mouth, personal marketing through social media, testing products, and getting feedback. The latter allows me to focus more on research, formulation, and quality control.
How is the beauty industry different today than it was just a few years ago?
A few years ago, most communities resented unnecessary plastic surgeries made to change a person’s appearance rather than treat a condition that needs human intervention. However, nowadays, there is an increased interest in plastic surgery, quick fixes, and coverups influenced by celebrities & influencers. As a result, people have become impatient when it comes to looking good in front of a mirror, and going under the knife has become their first choice, whether it is for the face or the body.
This trend has created a niche market for the organic & natural beauty industry with significant challenges. Some of the challenges are to convince your potential customers that organic & natural are just as good, maybe even better than synthetic products. Another challenge is explaining to the customer that the body’s natural cycle needs to be completed for the results to show and that there is no magical shortcut. However, some might get faster results depending on their genes, lifestyle, and external factors. Taking the holistic approach that we do, imposes more challenges due to some customers’ damaging lifestyles. So trying to convince them to change is a challenge sometimes.
How do you keep yourself updated? What are some of the websites or magazines or apps that you subscribe to or read regularly?
Since I’m all about botany, beauty, and lifestyle, I refer to several websites like Formula Botanica, where I got some of my diplomas, School of Natural Skincare website, Chemists Corner, Learning Herbs website, and Mountain Rose Herbs. Also, I follow some hashtags and accounts on social media, get Google article alerts on beauty trends, skincare, and haircare.
How do you track your marketing success?
Since I rely on AI, I track marketing success by sales generated through paid digital marketing. Also, I monitor sales generated by brand ambassadors marketing efforts through each ambassador’s code. As a result, I don’t base my marketing success on the number of new followers I get; instead, I do it based on the number of new customers and sales.
How has covid-19 affected the services of Magnifique Dame so far? Which ones have gotten better and which ones worse?
I started my online store in the middle of the pandemic. Since I’m all about quality and life change, not quick profit, I can’t say that covid-19 affected the business, especially since it has been just one year since I started.
What’s your favorite social network – Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? Why?
I like Snapchat. However, I use Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn for business. They are easier to integrate for free and paid digital marketing, posting pulls, hiring, and engaging with customers.
Tell me about what you’re working on now.
I’m currently working on lots of things for our beautiful divas. First, I’m working with a designer to revamp my website for mobile browsing. I’m also working on some free services that I will offer to our new and existing customers. In addition, I’m working on a free haircare guide as part of a package and many more.
When you suffer a setback, how does that emotionally affect you and your work?
When I suffer a setback, I take a deep breath, stop whatever I’m doing, spend time with my husband and kids, or call my mother to chat about anything. Then, I go back to the issue to find a solution after drinking my “Relaxed Beauty” herbal tea. Sometimes, I would wait for a day or two before rushing back to the issue. I find that helpful and allows me to look at things from a different perspective.
What have you learned most from entrepreneurship?
I learned that it takes more than 40 hours a week of work. Even if you are good at putting business plans, executing them is more complex than you think. I learned that you don’t need a big pocket to become an entrepreneur; starting small and growing big is healthier. It would be best if you were smart about running your finances. For example, I rely on AI to save headcount costs. I hire brand ambassadors to give me the luxury of having a marketing team, a testing panel, and a feedback loop at no charge. While they get to receive free organic & natural products and earn money based on how much sales they generate. Finally, you can’t be successful on your own; family, friends, and community support are essential all the time.
You’re currently writing a book, can you tell us what this will be about?
I’m not writing a book per se, rather a haircare guide. This guide is going to reveal some tricks to haircare that not everyone knows. It will cover different types of products based on their ingredients. It is aimed to educate customers about hair care products and their components. Not only will it educate them about how good my products are, but it will help them while shopping for over-the-counter shampoos, conditioners, serums, and others. And the best part is, they will get it for free as part of a package.