"Sumi, Chia tak boleh ikut to #GIES2015. I finished up all my leave for the year." DIE!!!!

It's always so scary when you have to go to an event alone and you don't know anybody. You know, like your first day in school/ class and all the time in your head, you think 'please someone like me and be my friend. Somebody? Anybody?' But for money I guess the correct response for a business woman would be, 'Charge!!!!'

So with fear and desperation, I contacted my good friend Deana from Abaya Addict to have lunch with me at 12pm. But between my arrival at 8am to lunch, I had 4 merry hours to be alone. Great. 

Walking with courage and a plate full of junk, I went to the seating area which was filled with beautiful huge white garden umbrellas. I thought to myself, 'Oh wow, this is what it feels like when people go out to have dinner alone'. Remembering some movie scenes and advices I picked up from hollywood which are so full of wisdom, duh... 

"It's not for sissies you know, dining alone," said Justin to Birdee casually.
Birdee notices that Justin is 2 tables behind her having a meal all by himself. She can only see his back but she nonetheless coughs up a friendly smile. He continues, "You gotta be made of some pretty stern stuff to do that." 
"Really?" she says appreciating his intrusion.
"You see the trick is to seem mysterious, like the choice is yours," says Justin.
- Hope Floats - 

Ok so I am tough, made of some pretty stern stuff. Now look mysterious and independent, Sumayyah! Then suddenly I see the Productive Muslim guy sitting 1 table away with his guy friends. Eavesdropping on their conversation, I caught a glimpse of how it is to be in the cool gang. 

"Assalamualikum brother, how are you? Oh my God I completely flunked my second start-up with... managed to sell it though for xxx (I can't remember exactly how much but it was in millions of dollars)... How are you re-modelling you second start-up? I really like when you did xxx.." and so the conversation went on. For a second there, I thought I died and went to Jannah. #dreamconvo


I swear to you if those peeps were not guys, I would have given my card and said, "Hi I am Sumayyah, shopaholic turned entrepreneur. I run a Muslimah fashion label call Love to Dress. Can I sit here and join you guys?" But urgh... I am still a bit awkward with men. Hate it!!! It's the freaking 21st century Sumayyah. GET ON WITH THE PROGRAM!

But anyway, I managed to meet some other cool peeps along the way, like Chris from Launch Good who recently got his crowd funding company to USD4,000,000. Woo hoo!! Go Muslims!!! And had an amazing conversation with both Ahmed (Melanie from Haute Hijab's husband on pricing and quality) and Deana's Ahmed on what is happening with the modest fashion industry globally. There were also some amazing college students who were looking for advice on how to start their business and the inspiring Alina who just started her own label called Dounyas Store.

It was so amazing that it triumphed the fact that a particular moderator for one of the #GIES2015 sessions 放飛機/ fong fei kei me. I emailed her 3 weeks ago asking if we could meet-up and she invited me to the event so we could have a chat after her session. She was literally the reason why I booked a flight to Dubai and went for the event only to find out she did not have time for me. I felt it was unnecessary for people to do that, but I will not judge as I am not in her place, and I am assuming it wasn't personal*. Plus, if she didn't invite me, I would have never known how amazing it was to go for such conferences. So even if I was stood up, I don't mind. Alhamdulillah Allah swt is the best Planner, for sure!

فَإِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا - For sure, with hardship there is ease. (94:6)

My dad used to love teasing us, saying, "awak kenal diorang tapi diorang kenal ke awak?' bahhaha... true that. But everybody has to start somewhere Ba and I am cool starting from below. Give me 3 years guys, 3 years and let's see how far Love to Dress can go. GAME ON, sisters!

*Every entrepreneur (big or small) goes through rejection, failure, being stood-up etc. We have to learn to not take things personal and to move on to the next task. The key is to understand that in business, it must be an honest win-win situation for all. Sometimes what we propose to others may not be a wining situation for them, so it is rejected. Keep working hard and insha Allah, everything will be ok ;-).