Welcome to EW‘s weekly series ‘How I got my job as…’ where we speak to some incredible entrepreneurs both based in the UAE and globally to find out about their career paths that led them to where they are now; what their daily routines look like; the advice they’d give to those starting out; and the hurdles they’ve had to overcome.

This week we chat with the founder of Business of Preloved Fashion, Hadiza Aboubacar. With a platform that features authenticity at its core and a team experienced in luxury fashion to keep up with trends whilst communicating an overall timeless approach to fashion, it connects buyers and sellers through a shared passion for luxe fashion items.

Emirates Woman sat down with Aboubacar duo to find out more about the pre-loved e-commerce platform and what inspired her to enter into the industry.

What was your favourite subject at school?

My favourite subject at school was Maths, I’ve always had a way with numbers and I recall always getting excited to take the Maths exams in university. Numbers are just straight forward and if you know the formula things always add up.

What was your first job?

My first real job was at the Ethical Fashion Forum, based in London. The Ethical Fashion Forum’s mission was to raise awareness and to support sustainable practices in the fashion industry. I gained a lot of insight into the impact that the fashion industry has environmentally and socially. The Forum was an excellent platform to share multiple ways of connecting with different individuals and businesses as they embark on taking on more sustainable practices within the organisations.

What inspired you to go into the fashion industry?

I’ve always loved fashion while growing up, however, I got introduced to the luxury fashion space when I moved to Dubai after completing my master’s degree in the UK. I was inspired by the flagship stores across the malls and the sheer amount of luxury fashion items in circulation. I recall being fascinated by how many people were adorned in designer brands, as it was a sharp contrast to what I had seen when I lived in the US and the UK, making it even more clear that I want to be a part of this. So, I leveraged my background in ethical fashion and my newfound flair for luxury. I made my way into fashion resale and it has been 6 years so far, with me loving each and every moment of it. Specifically, I have always been passionate about doing work that ‘makes a difference’ and the resale luxury fashion space does just that. It’s been great working in space where you’re handling beautiful and well-designed luxury handbags, shoes and clothing as buying and selling pre-loved is beneficial in so many ways, by allowing clients to clear their closets, making designer goods more accessible and most importantly allowing the items to stay in circulation, thereby helping the environment, making it a win-win on all fronts.

What eventually brought you to Dubai?

I relocated with my family to the UAE in high school, I then left to get my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the US and the UK. I’ve always loved the UAE and I knew I wanted to come back. So after graduating, I decided to pursue my career in Dubai. This city is buzzing with so much opportunity and there’s potential to do so much, with me wanting to be a part of that.

Talk us through the story behind the Business of Pre-Loved Fashion.

I have been in the luxury resale industry for six years, combining my love for e-commerce and the luxury resale industry, I decided to launch my own luxury e-commerce brand. Most importantly, I wanted to launch a business that offers value and is making a positive impact on our communities and the world. The fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters in the world, with BOPF as I want to empower buyers and sellers to extend the lifecycle of luxury goods as supports long-term sustainable goals.

Hadiza BOPF

You’ve launched your pre-loved fashion e-commerce site just this year. What’s the story behind launching your own brand here in Dubai?

Dubai is full of opportunity and potential. As mentioned, I have been in the industry for about six years. I want to build a brand that educates and inspires people to want to extend the lifecycle of their wardrobe. As case studies show that the Middle East consumers spend most on luxury goods and the luxury resale market is estimated to be growing four times faster than the primary luxury market.

What are the key elements of your role?

I wear many hats, I essentially handle every part of the business and I spend a good portion of my time on three core areas which include digital marketing, strategy, sourcing, and client relationship management. In his spare time, my husband helps me with the e-commerce side of the business.

Talk us through your daily routine.

I have a large cup of coffee in the morning to kick off my day. I then spend breakfast with my son and prepare him for the rest of the day. On average my daily routine consists of checking and responding to emails, taking meetings with clients who are looking to sell, overseeing all digital content creation, market research, and lots of strategizing.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to follow in the same footsteps?

Firstly, I believe that if someone wants to be an entrepreneur, there must be a strong passion and drive to launch their own brand. I believe that’s what will keep you motivated to get through whatever obstacle may come your way, it’s also what will set you apart from the rest. I believe one’s passion and desire to succeed is always reflected in how the business performs.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

Do the best you can with what you have, where you are.

And what is the worst?

Do it tomorrow.

What has been the biggest challenge you had to overcome?

There is no one ‘big’ challenge, it was more like a combination of different worries and concerns that crept up before getting to the point where I finally launched. I’m happy I didn’t let those concerns hold me back. I tell myself to live one day at a time. That is my mantra

What are your goals for 2021?

Growth on all sides. Increase in brand awareness and I would also love to get some collaborations with some great brands with similar values in the region. I would also like to expand into new markets, today although we service several countries our primary focus is the UAE. And lastly, it would be great to hire staff and get more hands-on board.

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Images: Supplied