The team at Market 13 digs into the real life story of Celine Hajjar, founder of NAFSI Sustainable Luxury
1. Tell us about yourself. What do you want the world to know about YOU?
I want the world to know that I created NAFSI not only because I love self-expression through fashion, not only to pave a path in sustainable luxury, but to change the world — to change consumer behavior and encourage consumers to shop where it matters.
NAFSI is an Arabic word meaning my soul, myself, my breathing. The entire brand stands for doing things that are best for your soul and by doing so; those around you are automatically positively impacted too.
Now I know what you’re thinking….sustainable clothing that’s “good for your soul” won’t change the world. And you’re right. But the people that wear them will. Consumer purchasing power has the ability to demand for ethical practices and environmental consciousness, and thereby shape the way corporations make your garments!
I can’t do this alone, but in doing my part through NAFSI, I hope it encourages you to do yours too.
2. Describe a typical day in your life.
A whole mix of doing things I love, for the most part!
I wish I could say I’m an early riser and that my day starts at 6AM, I finish a book, green smoothie and yoga by 9AM and that the rest of the day is my oyster. That’s what all the successful people do, right? Well it doesn’t work like that for me. I have a very important relationship with my bed and if I don’t get 8 hours of sleep, my day just isn’t productive.
Being passionate about NAFSI makes working never feel like work. I don’t have set hours and I find myself scheduling meetings and sending e-mails until as late as 3-4 AM some nights (shout-out to international partners)!
Family also plays a big role in my day. I always make time to have dinner with my parents and go for a walk with my dad.
And lastly, laughter is always somewhere in the mix. A day without it just doesn’t feel complete.
3. What was one of the biggest challenges you faced during your journey to where you are today?
Realizing it isn’t easy. Entrepreneurship seems like the dream and success is so attainable, but it’s in fact such a humbling experience. There are days where I’ve questioned what I’m doing. Realizing the security of being employed versus that of venturing into your own business is a scary one too!
But one thing that’s for sure, when I’m in a challenging situation I can still taste my accomplishments. Whereas when I’ve hit a successful moment, there isn’t a second of doubt on my mind.
4. Who would you describe as a role model and why?
I look up to strength that pushes through when you realize it isn’t easy.
I look up to resilience that stands up after every failure (or should I say lesson).
I look up to courage that leaves their corporate job to chase their dream.
I look up to honesty that speaks the truth even when it’s difficult.
I look up to integrity that stands in the face of injustice.
I look up to positivity on a gloomy Sunday.
And if you can balance any of these traits, then I probably look up to you too.
5. Tell us one thing about you that most people don’t know.
If I tell you, most people will know.
6. What is one piece of advice about how to cope with challenges/struggles you face in life that you would like to give to the world?
I turn my troubles into rhythm and let it out in dance. It’s my output. It’s how I release. I’m so in the zone when I dance, I forget everything. I think that is why meditation is so important; it keeps you & your mind in the present moment— which is what dance does for me. So whatever it is that makes you feel present and in the zone, find it and do it!
7. What is ONE word that you feel defines you? (It could be your profession, a personality trait, or a quality you possess).