Interview with an Independent Saudi Businesswoman

truffles


Speaking from personal experience, Rana makes some of the most
scrumptious homemade truffles in the Kingdom and probably in the whole
GCC. During a recent convalescence I received some of Rana’s truffles
in their lovely gift wrapped box which is part of her trademark and
can vouch for how delicious they are. Therefore it gives me great
pleasure to have this opportunity to interview Rana and I am proud to
both promote and recommend her business as well as have her story
shared here on how she became an independent Saudi businesswoman.


To begin with Rana, please share a little bit about yourself. I
understand you had spent much time outside of the Kingdom. Where was
that and under what circumstances?
I lived in the UK for 5 Years because my Father (he was a military officer who took up his masters degree in England) then I moved to the U.S for another 4 years we lived in Charlottesville, Virginia. So most of my childhood and early teens were outside the kingdom.

When did you return to Saudi Arabia? And as a Saudi woman who had
lived extensively outside, what kind of an adjustment, if any, was it
for you on returning to the Kingdom?

I returned when I was 13 years old , it was hard at first, but what made it easier to live in Riyadh is when my dad came back he used to work in the military hospital & upon that
( all Saudi’s who had traveled for research or continuing their studies lived in a big compound (a western Arab mixed community)) it helped us a lot to adjust with the community
You can say it was an adjusting stage (spiritually & socially) we lived there almost 5 years

What did you find that you missed most when you returned to Saudi Arabia and why?
The freedom , the ability to go outside & walk when ever I feel like it without any one following me around & criticizing me!!
the well of driving your own car whenever you want
Family gathering & hang outs
The ability to have your own life, with your own privacy.
Also I missed the regulations and rules of the U.S.

As I understand you not only have your own business but also work at a
local Riyadh hospital. Was it easy to gain employment as a Saudi
woman in Riyadh? How do you like working in a hospital? What are the
advantages and disadvantages?
At first it was hard I had to prove my elf between the western world
Because the department that I worked in was pure westerns’ 90% & I was the only Saudi employee there, I had to prove that Saudi people are also hardworking, great, well educated & friendly
So most of my friends in the hospital where westerns’, & as for the Saudi community it was hard too, they didn’t accept a female Saudi to work in an environment with men
I had my part of Criticism (I didn’t care what people thought) it took me 5 years till other females kicked of working in my hospital other than medical sections.
The advantage: proved my points as a Saudi women
The disadvantage: How people looked down upon me as a female working in the financial environment

When did you get the idea of starting up your own business?
Just recently I’m new I started nov’08 , it is a hobby, all my friends pushed me to start selling & showing people & letting them taste my delights
I’m in to cooking since I was young (I’m known to mix up things & wallaaaaa magic a delicious treat)

Was it easy establishing your business? How did you start up? How
did you advertise?

Yes thank god, I’m very sociable
I started through my family’s friends , my friends & my sister’s friends (my work environment & my sisters (King fasial specialist hospital) & my sister-in law (Saudi hollandi bank)
I have great friends (which they will never hesitate to advertise for me any where they can think off)
My brother also had a helping hand, (he told me to advertise my work on facebook) so I did , now I have lots of customers (thank god) in a few months of advertising…
& as for the logo & the accessories one of my best friends is handling it all for me.
So yes am blessed with family and friends.


Please share the details about your business such as its name and the
delectable’s that you offer!

Its called ELITE DELIGHTS, I fell in love with the name as for future references I would want to sell sweets & savory (enshallah)
My menu is Truffles, Cakes, Cookies & Cupcakes mini & normal size
The truffles are made of a mouth watering ingredients such as:
1) lemon cake filled with almond topped with white chocolate
2) white chocolate cake filled with Twix chocolate bar & coated with dark chocolate
3) marble cake filled with white, chocolate frosting, coated with dark chocolate
4) chocolate cake filled with sneakers chocolate bar &coated with dark chocolate
5) cappuccino cake filled with chocolate fudge & macadamia nuts & coated with mil chocolate
6) American coffee cake dipped with dark chocolate
7) Oreo cookies dipped with dark chocolate
8) chocolate cake mixed with zafran coated with milk chocolate
9) chocolate cake filled with caramel coated with dark chocolate
10) red strawberry velvet cake coated with milk chocolate
11) ginger, cinnamon & coconut cake coated with white chocolate & drizzled with dark chocolate
12) carrot, banana & walnut cake coated with white chocolate
13) chocolate cake & chocolate chip cookies mixed together & coated with dark chocolate
14) pistachio nuts mixed with chocolate cake dipped with milk chocolate
15) caramel (butter scotch) cake coated with dark chocolate
16) Joori Rose flavored cake stuffed with chocolate cream dipped with dark chocolate
17) orange cake filled with orange cream dipped with milk chocolate
18) chocolate cake filled with mars chocolate bar &coated with dark chocolate
19) praline cake flavor with peanut butter filling coated with milk chocolate
20) vanilla cake filled with marshmallow cream & dipped with dark chocolate
21) chocolate cake filled with coconuts chocolate bar & coated with dark chocolate
22) Apple Cinnamon cake
23) vanilla cake filled with vanilla frosting & dipped with milk chocolate
Still to come other flavors…

As for the COOKIES cupcakes
Mint , mixed nuts, Plain, Rice Crisps
As for the CAKES:
Rich Chocolate Cake, Carrot Cake, Strawberry Cake, Date Cake, Marble Cake, Coffee Cake

Are the majority of your customers Saudis or expats?
70 % Saudi’s & 30 % Expats

And for those who are fortunate to be reading this interview and
located in Saudi, how can they reach you to place an order?
They can contact me on my mobile : +966590093415
Or email me elite
delights@yahoo.com
or check my face book page:
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?gid=37892793182&ref=ts
Or Elite Delights Group

What advice would you give to other women, whether Saudi or expat in
starting a home run business in the Kingdom?
Be strong, confident & have lots of faith in yourself in achieving any goal
& you have to be very very patient because in life you need to work hard & struggle to achieve & leave a good name for yourself among people

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24 Responses

  1. It is good to have the first comments……………….anyway good for her

  2. This reminds me with a place in Jeddah called Goodies. All there sweets are homemade — I guess 3 Saudi women are in charge of it. There are some women who own such business and they cater for big parties, weddings etc, but ordered must be request 2 days in advance for big orders.

    Some of these combination are yummy yummy 🙂 I like everything that is homemade 🙂

  3. Nice to see women in Saudi Arabia getting involved in such initiatives!

  4. The photo is magnificent! The product looks irresistable. Does Rana have a special kitchen in which to prepare the sweets? If not, I forsee that she will have need of one soon enough, as the demand for theose delightul sweets increases!

  5. The truffles look yummie!
    Good for her and all the best..

  6. Obviously the most successful new business ventures are those in which you engage in something you personally find passion in doing…helps you through the long hours and constant drudge aspect of it I would imagine.

    All those look and sound delicious….if she expands and opens a branch here in Bahrain…I wanna work there…yummy!!!

    *Carol…just wondering why the text is a little adventurous (lol) …whats with the mix of font size etc…interesting but hard on my eyes a bit (old eyes and all)

  7. And please note that the photos are from Rana.

    Coolred – I’m sorry…I don’t know why the font size got mixed. )-:

  8. There are many Saudi ladies going into the home made food business. Best cheesecake I’ve ever had was done by a lady in Makkah who runs the business from her home. There’s a restaurant in Jeddah owned by a lady, and the kitchen staff are all ladies as well.

  9. I remember reading about the restaurant in Jeddah. I think it is great to learn about more women in business in KSA and how they got started.

  10. It’s a very interesting interview, and a vrey remarcable lady.
    The truffels look WAW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    and the cakes! Sóóóó cute!!!!!

    I’m sooo into chocolate right now…
    do you have any idea how evil this post is for a chocoholic?????

  11. Way to go lady.

  12. Having had Rana’s truffles myself – I have to say, they’re as delicious as they look 🙂

  13. Great – Congrats to her on such swift success!

  14. Congratulations to her, and kudos for sharing her marketing strategies (at least the more common ones).

    Having the interview in 2 different colours of type is excellent in terms of legibility.

  15. Good for her! I’m glad that she’s found something that fulfills her.

    What I would like to see is the Saudi businesswoman who did not spend her formative years outside of KSA.

    ‘all Saudi’s who had traveled for research or continuing their studies lived in a big compound (a western Arab mixed community) it helped us a lot to adjust with the community’

    I found that very interesting. I wonder what the real intent of that was. Was it to help them adjust or was it to protect the ones that hadn’t been exposed from being exposed? It’s like they had to live in a decontamination compound or something.

  16. Not to be a fly in the ointment because really, good for her, but isn’t it impossible for her to be an ‘independent’ business woman? Doesn’t she need her male guardian’s permission to operate the business? She could be a highly successful business woman but it seems to me that she can’t really claim to be independent.

    Really, just asking.

  17. SDR yes of course she has a mahram backing her up. There is absolutely nothing a woman can do or cannot do, unless a mahram gives permission.

  18. I did not mean to imply the woman was making the claim of Independent. Just its use in the title might be a little ‘off’. That is all.

  19. Behind every successful Saudi woman there is a loving, supportive mahrem! 🙂 😀

    Behind every successful woman there is a loving, supportive man (or more than one man)!

    San Diego Reader–I agree that independence is relative here, but it always is, just in varying degrees.

  20. I think these interviews illustrate that there is progress and forward movement in KSA for women but it also points out that the majority of the Saudi women who are excelling in business seem to have had “external” exposure. For the time being that is simply a fact given the traditions and culture of Saudi Arabia. However it is encouraging to see how some Saudi women are taking advantage and initiative for creating opportunities.

    Chances are the woman who has not traveled out of KSA and is doing some kind of business may likely do so oriented towards serving women and may not have English in order to be interviewed!

    And yes, every woman has to have the mahrem. Can’t see the mahrem going away anytime soon.

  21. I met another Saudi Business woman who also advertises on facebook (I met her on facebook not in person). She lives in the Eastern Province and makes upackes. Her fb group is called My Little Cupcake.

  22. Thanks for sharing Ummadam. And I would also like to mention that if anyone is active on the professional networking site LinkedIn there is a forum for Professional Female Saudis. However I will note that the majority of the Saudi women active and networking in the forum have typically been educated outside of the Kingdom. What does this mean? In my view I think at the moment the majority of the Saudi businesswomen who are “out there” and marketing, working, commenting in English have generally come from more open families and/or privileged backgrounds. However they are out there which is good. Everyone keeps saying they want to hear from a “normal” Saudi businesswoman but the question is, how many of them really exist yet and if they do, are willing to be public about it? For example, there are a number of women in my extended family who work in various professional capacities but they are more traditional and when asked, prefer not to be interviewed, even anonymously. They are simply private individuals who do not believe it is appropriate to have it announced that they are out there. And of course that privacy must be respected.

  23. Good luck Rana! i tried her cupcakes and her chocolate cake,,, the cupcakes are light and mouthwatering.. the chocolate cake is to die for soo rich and the more u leave it in the fridge the better it becomes 🙂 and i am not a chocolate person..

    Naseem xx

  24. […] who has been baking in Jeddah since the 1970’s.  Residents of Riyadh are not left out either.  Rana, founder of Elite Delights, is a Saudi woman who specializes in homemade […]

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