Celebrating International Women’s Day with Hasna Kourda

WORDS BY Hasna Kourda
8 Mar 2024
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Hasna Kourda: Celebrating International Women's Day
To celebrate International Women’s Day we caught up with Hasna Kourda to discuss all things female empowerment, business growth, and conquering self-doubt. Join us for a candid conversation that unveils insights into navigating the world of entrepreneurship.

What advice would you give to yourself upon starting your entrepreneurial journey? 

This last year has been tough for startups and unfortunately in the last year we have seen a lot of great companies close. So it is difficult to answer this, building a startup now is very different to when we built Save Your Wardrobe. In 2017, when we launched, there was more room for mistakes and more room to learn. The market now is not as flexible or forgiving and it can be daunting for a Founder to launch. 

My advice to any aspiring entrepreneur would be not to rush, to ask yourself if your business answering a hot topic and what is your speed to market? I would suggest that those who are looking to start out on their own as a Founder should prioritise a strong approach to hitting the market. 

The other benefit to a Founder just starting out, creating a new business model is that you can learn from those before you and get creative! Now more than ever there is room for newness and creativity.

Is there anything you would do differently?

I am really proud of all the achievements of the Save Your Wardrobe Team! If there was one thing I would do differently it would be to embrace my differences from a cultural and a gender perspective. Being a Tunisian woman I bring my own unique skills - instead of spending so much time trying to conform to predominantly western and male ideals of entrepreneurship. There are many important qualities that come from being a female founder and they should be celebrated and embraced.

What drives you? 

This is a great question for me to reflect on personally! I would say problem solving drives me. Sometimes it can be frustrating when people do not understand or see the importance of what we are trying to do, but this has meant I have needed to take a step back and really think, what is the problem here? Facing challenges and problem solving is really what drives me. I am very good at turning my doubts and setbacks into a force for finding solutions.

Do you ever doubt yourself and how do you deal with it? 

I get asked a lot about doubt and self doubt, in my opinion this is something you have to embrace, it is a double edged sword, it can kill you but it can also make you find other solutions to a challenge or obstacle. I want to challenge the narrative that women experience more doubt and are held back by it, in many ways as female founders we are more lucid. We want to show that we are the best and it can become quite easy to get caught up in NEEDING to show we are the best.

Something I have learnt from my own entrepreneurial journey is how easily you can get caught up in manufactured, linear narratives of success. It is important to recognise and admit when things are not working. This is where real problem solving comes in and things can change and develop for the better.

Can you reflect on the last year, what has been your highlight? 

Obviously this year has been huge for Save Your Wardrobe. A few short months after we last sat down to chat about all things International Women’s Day we won the LVMH Innovation Award and I went up on stage to accept the award from Mr Bernard Arnault himself. This year I have also had the opportunity to meet with Apple’s CEO Tim Cook to talk him through our business model. These opportunities alone are enough fuel to carry me forward for a long time! 

Despite all these amazing professional achievements it has also been a real highlight to spend time with my family.

What does IWD mean to you? 

International Women’s Day is a great opportunity to support and be inspired by our amazing predominantly female team. To me it means taking time, feeling inspired and uplifted by those around me. It is such an honour to be able to work alongside all the amazing women of SYW! They all make such a crazy journey feel like a cruise!