We sat down with Zenab Malik, Director of My Pure Trip, about her journey into business and the barriers she faced.
Me: What made you want to start your own business?
Zenab: When I moved to Birmingham from London, I didn’t have much luck with the job market. Coming from a finance background, I found it was difficult to find anything local and suitable. This time off work gave me an opportunity to think about setting up my own business which is something I’ve always wanted to do.
Me: Tell me about your business?
Zenab: We are a full fledge travel agency which is atoll protected. Pure Trip’s vision is simple; to provide travel experiences to our customers in line with their Islamic beliefs and principles.
Me: Why the traveling business?
Zenab: I did some work experience with a travel agency and as part of this I became a group leader for a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. Known as Hajj. This gave me exposure to the travel industry. It was then I realised that there was a demand for Muslims wanting to holiday not only in Muslim countries but non-Muslim countries. There was a lot of hesitation due to not having access to halal food or segregation. From this My Pure Trip started to evolve.
Me: Did you face any barriers? What barriers did you face and how did you overcome them?
Zenab: Yes. Moving cities was a big change for me. The cultures and communities were so different. I wanted to develop My Pure Trip further and the next stage was to set up an office. I felt the need to work in an environment which would be able to help my business grow but one which understood my culture. The Women’s Enterprise Hub gave me that. I have been able to set up my own office and launch my Travel Agency in a safe and secure environment. The Hub will also provide support and guidance which will allow me to grow my business further.
Me: How has running your own business impacted you as an individual- How do you achieve work-life balance?
Zenab: Running my own business has impacted me in a positive way. I felt more positive and self-assured to set up my business after having a year and half off from work.
Having to juggle work and home responsibilities can be difficult so you need to be super organised. Working in a corporate environment for 9 years I gained skills to help me meet deadlines, projects and prioritise workloads. I have transferred these skills and applied them to my own business and home life.
Me: Do you think women feel intimidated in business?
Zenab: Yes, they do. I think it is out of fear of neglecting family or social life and any responsibilities they may have surrounding that. However, I have proven that fear is something which can be overcome by working with other businesses within the Women’s Enterprise Hub. I have won that battle and want to say to other women that you can have your own business along with your home and social life you just need to look for support from others to help you achieve that.
Me: Top 5 tips for a traveller abroad?
1. Make sure your passport and visa is updated and valid before you set out.
2. Make sure you get your jabs! Look into what you need for the country you are traveling too.
3. Travel insurance is a must.
4. Get some currency exchanged before you go.
5. Do some research of the area you will be staying in and any activities on that you may want to book onto.