SOCIAL media has indeed swept over thousands of women in Saudi Arabia where many of them are getting comfortable to finding a space for themselves to portray their hidden image by exposing their talents, strength and success to the outside stereotypical world. Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has helped many Saudi women become successful entrepreneurs by allowing them to post and share beautiful photos of their products and sell them while some women have found it useful to sell their image.
Last year, The Online Project (TOP), a digital creative agency in Middle East released a report titled “Reintroducing Social Saudis — a throwback report” that shows the changing behavior of social media consumption among the Saudis over the past two years. This updated 2015 version of TOP’s report released in 2013 mentions that “Instagramming” and “Snapchatting” for example, are new trends among Saudis, owing to the apps’ soaring popularity worldwide.The report states that Instagram is considered as popular as Twitter in Saudi Arabia, with around 8.8 million active users recorded at mid-2015.
The report highlights — “On average, Saudi users post around 12 times a week. Thursdays are the most active days with 6 – 9 p.m. being the most active time of the day. Posts are currently divided equally between photos and videos, with video posts generating higher levels of interaction. Most used hashtags on Instagram (#Style #Cooking #Clothing #Makeup) indicate that the platform is gradually turning into a female community.” Three successful Saudi women entrepreneurs spoke to Saudi Gazette on their success and shared their story of how social media especially Instagram has helped them achieve a lot more —
Instagram: @accessories_ar — 85K followers
I’m Rozana Al Daini, the owner of Accessories_ar. I’m 21 years old, born and living in Jeddah. After graduating from high school, I had a hard time to go and study in a college, as I was suffering from health issues. I have always liked photography, since I was 13 years old, and that made me ask myself “How can I make money from this passion?”
Sometime later I decided to go to Dubai to buy some accessories. I took pictures of the accessories and posted them on my Instagram account. When I started sharing pictures on the application, a majority of people liked my products and they started buying. And the most crucial thing that helped me to sell my products was taking nice photos of the products.
Gradually, I got many new followers and also, I started buying more accessories from Dubai and different places. Currently, my business is very important to me, in fact, I did not expect that I would reach to this level of my business.
In conclusion I just want to say that every woman has a dream that she can achieve. If she can do it with determination and insistence nothing will be impossible to her. When I was in high school, I always used to write — “ A dream you dream alone is only a dream.”
Instagram: @laceevents — 83.2K followers
I’m Sarah Al Dabbagh, a 28-year-old Jeddah-based wedding & event planner. I found Lace Events a little over 4 years ago.
I’ve always wanted to be a wedding planner. Ever since I could remember, I’ve had a great passion for ceremony and celebration. The first wedding I planned was my cousin’s and that was when I was still in my senior year of college. As the guests congratulated me at the end of that wonderful evening, I knew that no matter how tired or worn out I was, nothing could beat the joy of turning people’s wishes and dreams into reality. From then on, my love flourished into a passion and then came Lace.
It happened to be that Instagram was created the same year I launched Lace Events. I remember buying my first iPhone that year and I was searching for cool applications to download, when a friend of mine suggested Instagram as a nice photo editing and sharing application. I love photography and I enjoy sharing pictures of my work and travels, so Instagram came very handy and gradually started becoming the next best thing.
I created social media accounts on different platforms for Lace Events along with my website (Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest). I have to say Instagram was and still is my favorite social media tool along with Pinterest, as they both are a great way to get inspired and to also inspire others. My followers on Instagram started growing drastically after every event that I planned and shared, as people would tag their friends and I would gain more and more followers by the day, that of course helped exposing my company and my work and got me new clients from many different countries.
In fact, social media gave Saudi women the opportunity to share their talents and dreams with the world, it’s a great tool to show the world what they’re capable of. Now more than ever is the time for Saudi women to shine, and the world is watching as they do. Day by day Saudi women are breaking stereotypes by excelling in different fields and exposing their talents and creativity. I wish to see Saudi women continue to prove themselves and reach new heights and gain global recognition always!
Instagram: @reemmua — 153K followers
I’m Reem Alswaidi, a 24-year-old makeup artist from Saudi Arabia based in Riyadh.
I have liked makeup since I was 13 years old. When I went to college, I still had that artistic and creative side to me so I enrolled in Interior Design. My friends saw how much of interest I had in makeup and encouraged me and with the support of my dad, I entered the French school of make up. Then I took many training sessions with international make up artists. For almost a year I studied and worked at the same time. At the end of my first year, I was the first Saudi girl to host a big make up workshop in Bahrain for an International artist and that boosted me. Now, I have my own business under my commercial name “Reemmua”.
I opened my first account on Instagram based on my friends’ suggestions and I thank them because the app did help me a lot. Currently, I have 153K followers. As for Twitter and Facebook, I had them before starting my way to beauty world.
I believe social media has opened up a lot of doors for women in Saudi from access to knowledge about the lives of other women around the world, the concept of feminism and even it has opened broader opportunities such as opening small businesses online. Things are looking up, especially with the municipal elections and with women’s media use.