Her love for shoes turned into Sophia Jawad’s career. This young entrepreneur found her interest in business printed in her DNA.
Twenty-three-year-old Sophia Jawad is more than just a woman fascinated by fashion and shoes. After graduating from London in retail management with a focus on fashion, she found herself back in the Kingdom with an increasing curiosity in her family business. With a gentle push from her father in the right direction, she started her first store – Tilly’s Closet at the Jawad Dome and recently opened a second unit at Seef Mall called Schutz. We learn more about the young businesswoman.
Woman This Month (WTM): When did you discover that you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Sophia Jawad (SJ): When I was a child, I always wanted to help my father. After school, I used to go to his office and pretend that I was working with him. I have always been interested in what he was doing. Finance and business are my father’s world. So after I finished my studies, he knew that I was capable of taking care of my own enterprise.
WTM: How do you find the world of business? Are there many obstacles you face due to your age?
SJ: Yes, it is very difficult. People don’t understand how committed I am to my work. They are also very curious to see how I handle things by myself. However, no matter how many obstacles I find, I am constantly learning how to deal with everyone around me and the business itself.
I am young, but I have a very serious way of working and handling my clients. My staff takes training courses and I organise my whole business with a little help from others in specific areas.
WTM: What do you like most about your professional life?
SJ: I get to travel and meet interesting people. I get to know more about shoes and materials and the purpose of making them in a specific way. The best factor is that, in the end, with all this knowledge I make people happy with shoes.
I know that I work with very high quality brands and my clients will certainly come back after wearing my shoes for a while and realise how good they are. Nevertheless it is not all perfect. My biggest task at the moment is to understand the consumer market right now in Bahrain.
WTM: Do you have any intention to work with clothing?
SJ: Yes, I am open to all ideas. I feel comfortable with fashion in general and I believe I have enough experience to recognise a good brand. I definitley don’t discard the possibility of opening a boutique. However, right now, I am not thinking about this. I am working with very good brands and I would like to continue expanding my business with it.
WTM: What are your plans for the future?
SJ: I would like to spread out my stores across the GCC. I am the only one working with Schutz in the Middle East. It would be nice to take their shoes with unique designs and very high quality to other places in the region.
WTM: Do you consider yourself a shoe lover? Is it the most important item in your wardrobe?
SJ: Yes! Now, even more than before. I know how they are made, sometimes when I’m unsure of the materials used I even smell them to determine if it’s genuine leather. There is no scent like the scent of real leather. I am always looking for the finishing touches and I became very picky when purchasing other brands. They usually are the pieces standing out in my outfit and I developed a love story with them! I always clean and polish my shoes myself.