IZIL Beauty’s Founder and CEO Mouna Abbassy shares about leaving the corporate world and navigating the successes and setbacks of building an all-natural beauty brand rooted in Moroccan heritage.

What do the first 30 minutes of your day look like, your morning routine?

Family holds immense importance in my life, which is why I prioritise spending quality time with my son in the morning. Each day, I make it a point to have breakfast together and drive him to school. This allows me to dedicate the first half an hour of my day solely to my son.

What was the catalyst to launch your own business?

Since my childhood, I have been passionate about beauty and natural mixes, influenced by my mother. Even in Morocco, it was common for us to engage in rituals and preparations involving masks, mother-daughter bonding, hair oils, and homemade scrubs. Upon arriving in Dubai, I was unable to find any products that aligned with my preferences. I felt lost and at that time, niche brands offering organic products had not yet entered the market, leaving mass-produced and complicated options as the only choices. This frustration motivated me to seek out a solution, not just for others but also for myself. Growing up surrounded by abundant natural ingredients like Argan oil, clay, and Moroccan soap, I didn’t fully grasp their significance until I interacted with people from different backgrounds. It was then that I realized the immense value of these beauty treasures I had left behind. People would ask me to bring back argan oil, rose water, and ghassoul clay – so there was a clear demand for these products. This realization sparked the idea of an untapped market: where these heritage Moroccan ingredients were highly sought after internationally. I also felt a strong sense of patriotism and responsibility to showcase Morocco’s beauty heritage on a global scale. I wanted to lead the way and promote the abundance of natural ingredients that our country possesses. With our expertise, understanding of the ingredients, and knowledge of consumer needs, we had a solid foundation to make this vision a reality. Working in L’Oréal further highlighted how multinational brands could leverage resources from different countries, strategically position themselves, and create value under their own brand names. This realization led me to understand the value of a Moroccan brand that could compete with international brands in terms of quality, packaging, communication, and strategy.

“This realization sparked the idea of an untapped market: where these heritage Moroccan ingredients were highly sought after internationally. I also felt a strong sense of patriotism and responsibility to showcase Morocco’s beauty heritage on a global scale.”

Why did you choose to base your business in Dubai?

It was never my plan to create the brand when I arrived in Dubai; it was more about seeking international exposure. However, being in Dubai exposed me to a diverse range of nationalities and opportunities, and I fell in love with the city. While we could have chosen to establish our business outside the UAE, we realized that Dubai was the best choice. It serves as a global hub, allowing us to reach customers from all over the world. Having a presence in such a key city is instrumental to the success of our business.

You’ve had an incredible journey since you founded IZIL in 2012. Are there any milestones you are most proud of?

We have achieved several significant milestones throughout our journey. Firstly, a major milestone was the opening of our first kiosk in 2014, marking our entry into the retail market. Another pivotal moment was when we upgraded from a kiosk to a dedicated store in Dubai Mall. Additionally, the launch of our spa service was another notable milestone for our brand. In 2019, we reached another milestone by establishing our own manufacturing unit and laboratory in the UAE. Furthermore, we take pride in our remarkable team growth, expanding from a small group of three to four individuals to now having over 100-130 team members. Our achievements have also been recognized externally, with highlights including receiving the esteemed Cartier Women’s Initiative award. These milestones serve as markers of our progress and the success we have achieved over the years.


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As a relatively new startup in the beauty industry, are there any difficulties you’ve faced and what did this teach you?

Difficulties are inevitable in every business or job, as they are part of the learning process. Cash flow issues often emerge, and it becomes a make-or-break situation. We faced this challenge head-on by meticulously managing our finances and carefully considering every expenditure. In a startup, outsourcing is often not feasible, so we had to embrace the mindset of self-learning. As an entrepreneur starting with limited funds, it is essential to acquire the skills to minimize costs unless external funding is available. The key to overcoming these challenges is to maintain curiosity and remain open to constant learning. Stepping out of your comfort zone is crucial. Nowadays, knowledge is readily available on the internet, and it is vital to leverage this resource. Cultivating a mindset for continuous learning becomes paramount in navigating difficulties and ensuring the success of your venture.

What have you learnt about the overall brand-building process and what advice would you give to those wanting to carve out their own pioneering career path?

Building a brand is a long-term journey that requires patience. It requires consistency in communication, investment, and a clear vision for the future. It’s important to differentiate between building a brand and solely pursuing immediate financial gains. While quick sales can generate fast money, building a brand requires sustained efforts and may not yield immediate returns. It’s crucial to have a clear vision for your brand’s future and remain committed to it, even if the approach and strategies evolve over time. In the case of Izil, we have rebranded multiple times as we have evolved and gained resources. However, our vision has remained unchanged. Building a brand is about maintaining a consistent and linear vision but evolving along with the market and consumer mindset. It’s a long-term commitment that requires patience, investment, and unwavering determination.

Mouna Abbassy, IZIL Beauty Founder and CEO

Where would you like it to go in the future?

Izil has a clear vision to become a globally recognized Moroccan-Arab brand, celebrating and elevating the rich beauty and heritage of Morocco. Your products are developed and manufactured in the UAE.

Can you share with us what goes into the creation of a new product?

Our product development process starts by understanding the needs and feedback of consumers. We conduct market research, keeping a pulse on current trends and what people are looking for. This information guides our R&D department in creating various options that incorporate the essence of Moroccan heritage and rituals. Next comes the trial phase, where we rigorously test the products in our laboratory to ensure their safety, efficacy, and proper preservation. Each ingredient used in our formulas undergoes thorough quality control measures. Prior to reaching the consumer, our products undergo another round of quality assurance and control during the production process. We take pride in our commitment to using 96% natural formulas. Our products are organic, safe, cruelty-free, and free from sulphates, parabens, GMOs, alcohol, and silicone. Each product we offer is unique, efficient, and carefully crafted to meet the specific needs of our valued customers.

“We take pride in our commitment to using 96% natural formulas.”

What are the hero products?

Our Green Tea Brightening Set draws inspiration from the Moroccan tradition of drinking tea, as we discovered that green tea is rich in antioxidants, a key factor in maintaining great skin. This set harnesses the power of green tea to provide nourishment and brightness to the skin, reflecting the secret behind the Moroccan skincare glow. The Aker Fassi Radiance Booster Set showcases an elevated approach to using an ancient Moroccan ingredient that has been cherished for centuries. This set unlocks the incredible glow and nourishing properties of Aker Fassi, offering a truly transformative experience for the skin. One of our best-selling breakthrough products is Densify, a unique formula that competes with advanced hair treatments targeting hair loss and promoting hair growth. This innovative solution has garnered immense popularity, delivering exceptional results and transforming the hair care experience. At IZIL, we continuously strive to create exceptional products that highlight the richness of Moroccan ingredients and traditions, ensuring our customers experience remarkable benefits for their skin and hair.

This is The Skin Issue – what does it mean to be comfortable in your own skin?

Being comfortable in my own skin means finding inner peace and accepting oneself is essential for cultivating self-confidence. It’s important to acknowledge that perfection is unattainable for anyone. Instead, value your unique qualities and embrace them with a sense of inner peace. Recognize your strengths and weaknesses, focusing on self-improvement and personal growth. Avoid comparing your journey to others and instead strive to compete with yourself, constantly seeking progress and self-improvement. By embracing this mindset, you can foster confidence and live a more fulfilling life.

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