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Dear Habibtis,

I've done a lot of crazy things in my short 25 years of life, but I think starting my own business while going to school full time while being a full-time mom is the craziest thing I've done! My entire life, I've always wanted to be a lawyer. Joined mock trial teams in middle school and anything law-related any chance I had throughout my years as a teenager. Then I got to college and hit bumps in the road leading me to graduate late. It was so devastating to me bc all I've ever wanted was to graduate undergrad, go to law school, and become a lawyer, and it felt like I would never be able to with every roadblock I faced. I took some time off and decided to work and grind it out to pay my way through school. I started waitressing in the Seaport in Boston. I went back to school after only a semester. I continued working at Strega, met my fiancé, got pregnant.
Then life hit me. How was I going to be a lawyer now? How was I going to go to law school? Am I having a baby as a Muslim before getting married? Who am I? Who is this person? Life hit me hard. Hard in the sense that nothing I wanted and planned since I was a little girl was going according to my plan. What I could understand at that time was that this is life! I wasn't in school, and I was depressed my entire pregnancy. But somewhere in that depression, my daughter kicked me and gave me a nudge to get back to what I wanted to do. I started my journey in the fashion industry with a fast-fashion boutique idea. I started planning it, and then covid hit… I faced a whole new set of challenges, being a first-time mom during a pandemic. My entire focus shifted from starting a business to that. I had my beautiful daughter, Noor, in April of 2020.
When I had my daughter, nothing fit me or hid the fact I was wearing an adult diaper with an ice pack. I could never find anything to wear and didn't feel good. The only time I was comfortable was when I was wearing my pajamas from the target. My favorite pair that inspired it was a Ralph Lauren nightshirt that I wore right after giving birth. I wished I could wear them out without people looking at me like I had 3 heads. The only problem with those pajamas is that they looked like pajamas and weren't stylish. I thought about the Louis Vuitton and Gucci silk pajamas. Who did I think I was, Kim Kardashian, buying Louis Vuitton pajamas, as my mother would say, so I decided to make my own.
I researched everything about clothing manufacturing. I started email manufacturers in the USA and overseas. I started planning and planning. Then I got cold feet when it came down to initial start-up costs. It was a lot of money out of pocket, so I decided I would start my fast fashion boutique and then eventually introduce the Pyjamas and see how people react—all while going back to school for my final year. Once I introduced them and saw the demand and interest were there, I started my designing journey.
Once I started designing my Pyjamas, I unlocked creativity I never had before. My entire life, I've always wanted to be a lawyer and was always the Honors-AP student-athlete. I was a jock. I could never sing, especially not dance, can't draw, sew or anything creative. This was all new to me. I loved it. I loved the process and choosing colors and making my clothes how I wanted them to be. I then decided to rebrand, and thus, Maison Nou was born.
Maison Nou is for every woman or man. Girl or boy. Maison Nou is for the struggling first-time mom with postpartum depression who lost her confidence. Maison Nou is for the curvy woman who can't find her size in trendy and super cute. Maison Nou is for the petite girl who can't find pants that don't fit like a trash bag. Maison Nou is for every woman who tore her closet apart, hating everything she put on more and more, and I said, "fuck it, I'm not going"!
I've lost sleep over this. Cried more times than I could count over this. I wanted to give up multiple times. I felt defeated and like the world was against me. Then I would look at my beautiful daughter while breastfeeding her and knew I had to get it done by any means necessary.
I can't even believe I'm here right now. I launched in April of this year, and I've come a long way since. I gave birth during a pandemic, survived, was an exclusively breastfeeding stay-at-home mom, full-time mom, I was a full-time student. I graduated, started my own business, restarted it all while battling postpartum depression, presented my first collection at NYFW in September 2021 and was featured in a major publication, Weekly Style magazine, in such a short time! That's all because my mind is constantly of Maison Nou. Constantly thinking of new colors and styles. Constantly want more for myself. More for Maison Nou. More for you, my customers!
The best part of my journey is the growth I've done. I lost myself and didn't even know that that wasn't me. That's the craziest part of growth. You don't know who you are anymore, and that's the best thing that can happen to you. I'm so proud of my journey. There's always a light at the end of the tunnel; you have to find your flashlight to help you get there. When you look in the mirror today and see that beautiful woman staring back at you, be proud of her, tell her she's doing an amazing job, and more importantly be kind to her. Shout out to Noor for making me this strong woman that's able to share so much and impact so many people.
S. B. 



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