When I first spotted Zahra Aljabri, she was cradling her sweet 5-month-old daughter, Tasneem, at a table of 25 other female entrepreneurs. The breakfast was to honor and connect women in various stages of starting their own businesses, and Aljabri fit right in considering that last year, she won SheKnows Media’s The Pitch competition at its annual BlogHer conference, which draws some of the most inspiring and visionary female entrepreneurs. Aljabri’s company, Mode-sty, offers a brilliant service to women: Modest clothing that’s also modern and stylish — at a totally affordable price.
A former civil rights lawyer who fought employment discrimination at a nonprofit (and ran her own practice too), Aljabri is now a mom of three beautiful kids: Mus’ab, age 6; Thanaa, age 3; and Tasneem. As a mother of two daughters and a super-successful entrepreneur, I wanted to find out more about what inspires Aljabri and how she keeps juggling her many varied commitments — check out what she shared, below.
SheKnows: How does your family inspire you to pursue your career ambitions — and how do you balance both?
Zahra Aljabri: My husband is my biggest champion and supporter. He encourages me and challenges me to push harder. Since having children, I’m driven to be a role model for them to see me as a mother and working woman. Of course, it’s a constant balancing act and having support is the way I’m able to juggle it all.
SK: Being an entrepreneur yourself, what values do you want to help instill in your girls as they grow up?
ZA: I want them to know that you can’t let what other think or say limit you.
SK: What was the hardest lesson you learned during the process of launching and growing Mode-sty?
ZA: Ignoring the voice in my head saying I can’t or shouldn’t start my own company. I still battle the doubt constantly and developing a self-love and self-care plan has been the hardest lesson to internalize. It’s me driving this initiative forward, and if I don’t take care of me, I can’t take care of anything or anyone else.
SK: What do you wish everyone knew about women who choose to dress modestly?
ZA: I wish people understood that dressing modestly doesn’t mean you’re dull or limited in life experience. It’s just a presence for the way you dress. It doesn’t mean you’re a prude or necessarily have conservative political values.
SK: How do you talk to your kids about the political state of the country and world?
ZA: We talk about difference and tolerance. Through Mode-sty, I’m working on bringing diverse women together through their shared love of modest fashion, which I believe is important to impacting positive political change.