Would you introduce yourself?
I am Hala el Kassm, CEO and Chairwoman of Carina Wear, I’m responsible for all the Carina retail stores. And I’m a mother of five.
What got you into the textile business?
Well, to start with, Carina is a family business. I have always had a dream when I was a little girl; the dream was to be an owner of a store or a shop. My family had a textile business, and I decided to open the first shop for this business, which really was a dream come true.
Where did your entrepreneurial spirit come from? Are your parents entrepreneurs as well?
Both my parents are entrepreneurs yes, and I believe I got this from them. My family is originally from Syria, and Syrians are known for being great business people and entrepreneurs, so itbasically runs in my blood.
Is Carina your first business?
Yes, it is.
What aspects of your business are you proud of?
It is a really long journey, what I am most proud of is how challenging it was when we first started. At the time the retail business in Egypt was still a virgin - unlike now, but for me it was like a race. I ran as fast as I could, without looking around me, without acknowledging the competition, as if I was racing myself. I was running like a train to reach where we are now. So I’m proud of this...
To what/who do you attribute your success
Without a doubt; my father and mother.
What were your toughest moments in business? And how did you overcome them?
One of those moments was the devaluation of the Egyptian pound. We had to take care of our business, but also our people. Expenses went skyrocketing, cost of goods increased, but we also had to raise salaries for everyone, it was a really tough time.
Were there opportunities you feel you have missed out on?
In my dictionary, there is no room for the word lost or missed opportunities; I believe you continuously get opportunities. There is a reason for everything, and a timing for everything, so you can always do things in the future
What are your aspirations for the business?
I see carina as the brand for basics, a must have in every girl and woman’s wardrobe, and I see going global. I also see digitization.
What do you look for in people you hire?
I look for confidence, challenge, a positive attitude and life experience.
What’s your leadership style?
I simply leading with my heart
What advice would you give your team leaders?
To lead with their heart, have their heart at peace not at war.