Jerusalem24 – Building your own business in Palestine amid everything happening around is not always easy. But it can also be a way of building your own future and following your passion.
Recently, Palestine has been witnessing the rise of entrepreneurs and small businesses popping up. Young Palestinians especially are coming up with new, creative, and successful ideas.
Zubaida Khalil is one of these young entrepreneurs. She opened an online gift shop – with a twist! – in October 2022 which offers personalized, unique gifts tailored to the customer’s description of the intended giftee. The gifts are then wrapped with a lot of joy and love.
“I come up with many ideas that depend on the value of the gift, not the material,” Zubaida tells Jerusalem24. “Using songs, poems and books that are so special to the person.”
She named her shop Shaghaf – an unusual name that is deeply connected to the idea of gifting and wrapping. “Shaghaf means the layer that surrounds the heart,” Zubaida explains. Shaghaf also rhymes with ghelaf which means wrapping in Arabic, she elaborates, and so the two meanings perfectly complement each other.
The two slogans Zubaida displays on her Instagram page – from which she conducts her online business – are “From heart to heart” and “There’s no wrap worthy for you, so I wrapped it with my Shaghaf.”
“There’s no feeling like it”
In addition to running her own business, Zubaida works full-time in the field of international relations at the Palestinian library. She now dedicates her evenings to her business, and despite the lack of free time, she has no doubts about launching her project.
“It was not [out of] necessity, as much as a passion in a specific direction that I want to dive into and do something that I really love,” she says.
Having the support of her family and friends has been a great help. This is important when dealing with the challenges of launching a business from scratch, she says. “There are two main ways of support: the financial support, and the moral support which is provided by family and friends.”
Although Shaghaf is in its infancy, positive reviews from customers have been a catalyst to continue with the project and be even more creative with her ideas. “There is great feedback that motivated me a lot into continuing the project.”
Zubaida absolutely encourages anyone who is thinking of taking the first step toward opening their own business.
“I believe that there is no feeling like the feeling of owning your own business”, she beams. “There is nothing like bringing a beautiful feeling into people’s life. I think that my job is about bringing joy, which makes this experience really magical.”
“Every woman has the ability and ambition to start her own project no matter what. It’s never too late.”
Listen to the full interview on Vibes.