WISE II Entrepreneur Profile: Solafa

Solafa shares how the WISE II program helped her realize the importance of marketing before production. Name of Business: Zaina (Decorative) Soap

From Anabta, a small village in Tulkarem, Palestine, Solafa was instantly drawn to the idea of making soap after attending a training course offered by The Palestinian Women’s Association, Asala. Solafa valued the concept of integrating the Palestinian tradition with natural resources, such as olive oil and lavender, which are readily available in her village. In September 2014, Solafa sold the gold jewelry that she no longer wears and bought the raw materials to begin producing soap.

It was through the training course at a local community center, where Solafa heard about the WISE II program at Tomorrow's Youth Organization. Since the inception of her project, finance has been Solafa's biggest barrier. Due to cash constraints, she is only able to manufacture small quantities of her products at a time. It wasn’t until attending the business development intensive provided by the Small Enterprise Center (SEC) that she learned that marketing comes before production. By establishing who the potential client base is first, Solafa can then tailor her products to meet their needs. The most important tool that she has taken away from the program is the business plan that she created. She plans to use this as a marketing tool to increase her clientele network for years to come.

Through various trainings and seminars provided by the WISE II program, Solafa has been able to venture outside of her village and expand her network. She has attended exhibitions that she only heard of because of the program, allowing her to meet fellow soap makers from all over the West Bank. This has provided her with a different perspective on the trade and she has integrated some of their methods into her own. In addition to olive oil, which is common in many of the soaps made in the region, Solafa incorporates all natural ingredients that are known to have health and beauty benefits. Avocado oil, goat’s milk, mint leaves, and cactus oil are just a few ingredients that are believed to have beneficial effects such as reducing wrinkles, treating acne and much more. Her business is still in its early stages, but she plans on making it official by registering with the Chamber of Commerce once she completes the WISE II program.

-WISE II entrepreneur Solafa interviewed by Outreach Coordinator Futoon Qadri