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Chafia is the founder & CEO of Farar, a sustainable brand for effective Argan skincare products with harmless ingredients. She was born and raised in Morocco. She grew up in the Argan region and helped her grandmother and mother make Argan oil products at a young age. “Argan trees and oil are a part of my life. Since I can remember, I have always used Argan oil for my hair, my skin, and nails.” says Chafia. After studying business administration, she moved to Berlin 8 years ago. Through her brand, she wants to give something back to those who we often use their resources. Especially women of indigenous peoples, as they are one of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups.
What motivated you to start your business here in Germany?
I wanted to do something within my professional life that had a purpose. So one day, I was at an event, and someone asked me to recommend Argan oil beauty products. And because I used to bring the oil from Morocco, I needed to do a little research on the market, but I didn't find brands that combined both the ecological and the social sustainable side. Also, many of them were not vegan or were not natural cosmetics. So, I wanted to bring beauty products with Argan oil in their best forms, and a brand that inspires conscious living. Yeah, that was my motivation!
What challenges have you encountered and wish that you had more help with?
In the beginning, it was mostly bureaucracy. When you live in a foreign country, it's not only about bureaucracy for starting a business. And then It was the language. German is not an easy language. After eight years, I understand and speak German very well, but it was still hard to deal with like legal terms that probably only lawyers understand. After a while, I built the company, and I had new challenges like funding or finding helpful programs like incubators or accelerators. As immigrants, it’s harder for us to find such offers, and if you do, they might not fulfill your wishes. Because for you as a female founder and an immigrant. you have different needs.
And with these challenges, what kept you motivated to start your business?
This business is related to my culture, to my home country, the message I wanted to send to the world is that we can build sustainable brands & businesses that also offer great vegan products without any harmful ingredients or testing on animals. And many people don’t know this, but for centuries, women in that region of Morocco discovered Argan oil and used it on a daily basis and this business supports them financially and their education. So I wanted to give back to these girls to whom these resources belong.
How do you think migrant female founders can be supported to make their entrepreneurial journey easier?
By helping them in understanding the bureaucracy and the steps they have to go through to start a business from an early stage. And also, have networks of other female immigrant founders, because they will have similar challenges & problems as you. You can also learn from these founders and collect helpful information that may save you time or money in you beginning.
Chafia, do you think that the cultural differences that you bring influence your business?
I would definitely answer with yes. I grew up with limited resources and needed to find solutions with what I had around me. You really need this trait as an entrepreneur, to be able to find creative solutions and solve problems without wasting resources. And I think that in Morocco, we are more sympathetic and have more understanding towards people, like if someone shows up late or didn’t reach the deadline. As an entrepreneur, you have to be sometimes flexible and accept the fact that not everything will work as you want and that some mistakes won’t be your fault, but you would still pay for them.
What do you think can be the benefit for the ecosystem around immigrant female founders?
What it will best bring is the diversity of course. It would make the German ecosystem rich with new and creative ideas that people who grow up in Germany wouldn't have thought of because they just lived in a different environment or perspective. Diversity can even be on a larger scope as well. Like between countries, for example, Germany and the country of these women.
What is your tip to all women who want to start their own companies here?
The most difficult stage is the start. You have to build everything yourself from scratch and you have a limited amount of money that you can invest. And if your family is not here, you don’t get enough emotional support. So, you really need to know why you want to start this business. Your mission has to be strong enough to motivate and empower you. Because people usually start businesses to make a living. And since your motive is different when you start a business, nothing is secure and is a risk, you would have to compromise things like a fixed salary. So remember why you’re doing this, the purpose and vision behind it. Stick to it, and never give up.
Thank you so much Chafia!