‘Dreams Are Not Things to Be Feared’
Zakiyyah Smailovic, creative director of House of ZS;
‘I founded my jewellery brand, House of ZS, when I was 23, and many people told me I was too young and inexperienced. The day I launched my online store, I got an e-mail from someone I didn’t know telling me, “This kind of online business won’t work.” Well-meaning friends and family threw all sorts of criticism my way – things such as, “You don’t know how to do business” and “This industry is not for women; you’re a dreamer!” It was painful and deflating, and made me question everything I was doing.
‘What no-one seemed to understand was that, yes, I was (and still am) a dreamer – and that’s not a bad thing! Dreams are not things to be feared, but the means by which each of us is motivated to be our best, whether by starting a new business or taking up a hobby that could turn into a lifelong joy.
‘I’ve had to learn not to take people’s opinions personally, and not to let them define me or dampen my self-belief. Sure, I was young and inexperienced; so are most entrepreneurs when they first start out.
‘It’s easy for people to underestimate you – but I’ve learnt to see that as an opportunity to prove them wrong. Nothing will keep you on course as much as your own gut, intuition and passions – things that outsiders often don’t understand. And FYI: I’m proof there’s no such thing as “too young” or “too inexperienced” if you have drive and passion.’