"Being a triplet mom is by far the biggest and best “project” I’ve ever taken on. I am grateful, blessed, tired, in need of Starbucks, and going slightly insane. And you know what? I love it."
Our Girlboss Spotlight is Sudduf! (IG: salamsudduf)
Sudduf is a mom of triplets who are ten months old. Before she had her triplets she was running a store called “Salam Shop” in Mississauga, Canada. She was focused on spreading the love and beauty of Islam through the store and through her platform. Sudduf was able to support a lot of women in business through the Salam Shop, as most of the products were created or produced by women, Muslim women in particular. Through the store, Sudduf was living her dream of empowering other women, as well as herself.
Sudduf did engineering in her undergrad and she also has an MBA. She feels as though her purpose is to create awareness about the love and beauty of Islam, and that became an underlying theme with everything she did.
Sudduf is a force of feminine empowerment, and being able to talk to her was amazing because she really knows how to hit you with that force. It’s hard not to feel motivated, just by talking to her.
Although Sudduf is not perfect (who is?), she’s definitely amazing for uplifting, celebrating and loving women as much as she does.
Part of what you do, you said, is spread awareness on female entrepreneurs and female led businesses. Why do you think it's important to have more women create these businesses and why it's even more important for people to promote and celebrate them?
I feel like women have always been, not the back burner, but it's just been a lot harder for women to succeed in typical jobs, just because of the fact that there are so many other things expected of us and so many other things that we're able to do. For example, we have children. When we have children, all of a sudden we have to take on this other role of being a mother, while we're still working on our professional lives. So, it's very hard for us to take a step back from being a professional, while working on being a mom. I think that's why I've always focused on empowering women because it’s the idea that you can do everything if you want, you just have to really believe in yourself and you might just have to kind of pivot the idea of what you thought your life would be like. For example, a typical nine-to-five job might not work for you once you become a mother but you can definitely still fulfill your hopes and dreams in another sort of way that's flexible to what works for you. I guess in other generations like our parents and our grandparents generations, what they wanted in life was very different from what we want. I think because we were given all these opportunities and because our parents brought us to these countries where we were getting an amazing education, we have even higher hopes and dreams than maybe they did. A lot of the time we're fulfilling they're hopes and dreams for us, so I think that's kind of where this ship has occurred where women want more for themselves, and they want to make it work while also fulfilling their role as a mom. Personally, the reason why I promote women and help women in terms of business and not men is because I feel like I have a connection with them. I feel like it's very meaningful to help other women succeed, and I see myself in a lot of these women. I'm not just helping them; they're helping me as well. I get really inspired by their stories, and I’m always fascinated by how freaking awesome women are. There is nothing that a woman can't do, literally. You're expected to have a baby and all of a sudden you’re expected to know how to be a mom. It's basically a job but no one praises you for it, and no one teaches you about it; you don't go to school for it but all of a sudden you have this job where you're supposed to keep this tiny human alive, and you do it! Women do it everyday, and they don't even say, “I’m so awesome, I’m a mom!” They don't say, “Hey guys, did you see? My baby's still alive today!” They don't do that, right? It's just expected from them.
Now that I’ve been in this role, I just think it's amazing. I'm like 'oh my goodness' I had no idea that women who are doing all these other things, are also taking care of tiny humans. It's not a small thing, (taking care of a baby) not at all. Basically, I love supporting women. I think they're amazing.
As you were saying, women are definitely under appreciated. Like they've pushed out a baby, and most don't even praise themselves or say “oh my god, look what I just did!"
I think they're under appreciated but we're also very humble about our achievements in that sense because of way society is. You'll see a man talk about how he's made this much money or he has this many clients and this is how much he's going to make this year, but you often don't see women doing that same kind of boasting. Women don't talk about their achievements the way men do, and I think it's about time that they were given the opportunity to talk about their achievements and show off about them.
I feel like a lot of girls from a younger generation have this notion that starting a career early or in the future is going to lead to inevitable failure. What advice would you give to girls that age who want to become these successful women but also feel as if they can't make that happen?
When I was younger I used to think that it was mutually exclusive, that being a mum or a wife was mutually exclusive to being a CEO or a boss lady. I didn't think I could do both, so I used to say that I wasn't going to get married or have kids until I’ve become what I want to become. At that time, I just wanted to manage a company, or something else that you're obviously not going to do at 18. Instead of talking to people who were doing both, I just thought "nope!" I can't do both; I have to be doing one or the other. One thing I would say is, do not think that you can't be a good Muslim, a good mom, and a woman with a career. You can do all of these things, it's overwhelming but it is not unavailable to you. You've been built to be amazing and push your limits, so you definitely can. Another thing is that yeah you're going to fail, or have a job that you hate; you might even have several jobs that you hate. You're going to start businesses that are really crappy and it's going to happen over and over again, but if you don't go for it, don't try and don't fail than you're just going to have less experience to learn form and you're going to have all these years pass by where you could have tried things and learned from them, but you didn’t.
I told you I’m an engineer, and I’m clearly not doing anything related to engineering right now. I was working for the government, I loved it at first, and then I hated it. Everyone told me "you don't leave that kind of job!" You don't leave a good job that you'll have for the rest of your life, but I wasn't happy. Everyone said it was the right thing for me to do, to be working at that company, and making that money. But I was like no, I’m young, and I’m ambitious so I’m going to try something else, so I did! I quit, I went back to school and I got another job, then another job. For me it wasn't something that I looked at as failure, it was more like I’m young, I’m going to try all these things and learn form them and figure out what I want to do.
I still don't know! I still don't know what I want to do; I’m just kind of winging it. I'm doing what I love, and I make sure that everyday I get to do something creative and that I feel closer to God, and I just keep going.
So a big part of starting a business, or doing your own thing is risk taking? What would you say to those people who are too afraid to take risks?
Yes! I would say that one of the major traits of an entrepreneur is your ability to take risks. I've had several small business, and I’ve had failures, and I had to close things own, but you just have to go in and know that it could be amazing or it could be really bad. You won't know unless you try it and you just have to have the ability to bounce back. If your personality is one where you just can't take that risk, than maybe you're not an entrepreneur and that's fine, not everybody is. There are a bunch of things that need to line up for you to be able to take those risks. If you have a stable job and a lot of bills to pay, of course it's not smart for you to take a risk and leave everything. However if you have the ability to take a risk, than go for it!
Not all women can always be happy for other women who are becoming successful and moving forward. There's sometimes a negative undertone in the way women act towards each other when one is more successful than the other, therefore there's such a rush for people to get started on their careers, and get things going for themselves. What can you say to people who see others' successes as a reminder of what they have not achieved?
Your rizq is written for you. Nothing that you or anyone else does is going to change what I do. Nothing that anyone else does should affect you, it should inspire you and it really isn't going to affect your success. There's so much out there for everyone, and there's only one of you. If you're being yourself, and doing whatever it is that you want to do, there is nobody else who can do that. If I am writing a blog, and you're writing a blog and it's about the exact same topic, we're going to produce absolutely different content, because you're you when you're writing it and I’m me. I know that in the years past I was very much caught up in this environment of creative work and doing the same thing and you weren't necessarily feeling supportive of them and they weren't supportive of you. I think as I get older, the more I support people and the more I celebrate their successes, the better I feel about myself and the more I feel like I’m being myself. I feel like that’s actually more my personally, celebrating and promoting other people's achievements. It really motivates and inspires me. I would say run your own race. You won't care about it five years from now, so don't give it even five minutes of your time.
Starting has to be one of the hardest steps, in order to get to where you want to be. What can you say to women who want to start, whether it's a business or any creative project?
The piece advice is simple: Just do it.
Stop overthinking, and second guessing yourself, just do it.
The second piece of advice, to help make it easier, would be to have a friend, or a business bff, someone who you can run ideas by. Someone who can be like, “hey where are you at with your business?” Kind of like a motivational partner.
You need to just start.
One of the things I learned was that it's better to fail fast. You put your business out there today, you find out it sucks tomorrow, and you're onto your next after that. As opposed to planning for years and then finding out it sucks, and now you've wasted a few years.
How do you keep up with triplets, a blog, your Instagram, business consulting? How do you as a mom and a creative, do it all?
I don't do it all everyday. Some days I’m not just a mom; I’m momming more than I’m doing anything else. Some days I’m blogging or consulting more than anything else. For example, today my husband is off of work and I got the morning and the afternoon off. So he's been at home with the nanny and the kids, and I get to work on my business and I get to relax. Then this evening my husband is going out, so then it's the kids and me and I’ll be obviously just doing mom stuff.
I always act like ‘I’m so old’ but at this age, I know that balance is not something you can achieve in life. I think it's a whole load of crap when people say; “my life is balanced,” there’s no such thing. Some days you're going to make all your prayers on time, and the sunnah and read Quran, and that day you're a really amazing Muslim. Then some days, you're hardly even making your prayers. That's the truth, and it's the same with business and having kids. Some days you're an awesome mom, some days you feel like a crappy mom. Some days you put up a blog (post) a day, and others you can't get anything done. I don't want to seem like I’m an amazing mom or anything because I’m not. I don't have my crap together, and I have nights where I cry because I can't deal with life. I feel like blogging gives me an outlet, so as much as it is a business, it's mostly, right now, for me to feel like I have some sort of goal and I’m not just a mom. Because being a mom is insane, I had no idea. I guess, I try not to make it seem like I have things together, I try to be really honest on Instagram, because people think my life is perfect and everything, but it's not.
Go subscribe and support Sudduf’s blog at http://salamsudduf.com
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