December 31, 2021

Malak Trad

by By Amy Johnson - Jalya writer

  1. When did you start your business? Was there something/someone who inspired you?

Back in 2018, when I was still a second-year student at the University of Alberta, I worked as a swim instructor. One day, following my swimming lessons, I had an encounter with some of the students where they approached me asking about the shampoo that I use. “It has a refreshing smell”, they said. I told them that it is an organically made product in Lebanon. The majority didn’t recognize the brand but surprisingly some of them did! They expressed that they would have loved using the products of this brand, but, due to the expensive shipment costs from Lebanon to Canada, they weren’t able to do so.

After graduating with a Science Bachelor’s degree in spring 2020, I had a free-time interval until applying to medical school. Therefore, it is during that period that I recalled the brief encounter at the swimming center and hence, the idea of opening a soap company crossed my mind. That summer, I decided to open a soap company to connect the Lebanese people and their heritage with my fellow Canadians through sharing with them Feniqia’s organic products.

  1. Would you say you reached all of your goals since you started, or do you have more to achieve?

To be honest, I’m very proud of how the company came to be and how it is flourishing slowly amidst the difficult times caused by the pandemic. My team and I believe in the saying: “the sky is the limit”. To say that I’ve reached my goals after only a year of launching the company, is to limit the potential that I see in this brand. In fact, I aspire to make Feniqia a world-renown brand. For me, this brand is more than just a name, it is a legacy. A legacy where a community of different Lebanese families join to produce products and soaps sought after by many cultures.

  1. Who is your target market or potential customers?

I’m Canadian by birth and Lebanese by origin. These two identities made me want to share part of my origins with the community in which I’ve grown in, experienced my first steps and thrived in all the ways possible. As I’ve mentioned before, my main goal is to share part of my Lebanese heritage with all Canadians through Feniqia’s products. But to take it step by step, I’m starting my brand awareness with the Arabic community. I believe that Feniqia’s products will highly appeal to them as it carries within its products the roots of the middle east and all the nostalgia a native country can bring about.

  1. Tell us more about yourself (family, background, education etc)

I was born in Quebec, Montreal, and lived my childhood there. At the age of 15, my parents decided to move us, my siblings and I, to Lebanon so that we get the chance to meet our family and grandparents. In Lebanon, I graduated from high school before travelling to Alberta where I completed my Honors BSc degree in Cell Biology. Because of my background, I’m fluent in French, English and Arabic. I currently work as a lifeguard and swim instructor at UofA as well as a medical receptionist.

Life is short and for that, I make sure to enjoy every good and bad moment and take every opportunity that presents itself, so that I won’t look back one day regretting not doing something. For the past 4 years, I volunteered a lot, worked a lot, and started new personal projects. During the lockdown, I started two initiatives in hope of alleviating the consequences of the pandemic. With a friend, we started creating science videos for children to be used as academic aids for Alberta’s teachers from grade 1 till 6 and we started a community fridge in the Edmonton community; an initiative meant to reduce food insecurities.

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Jalya in the Arabic Language means Community. This platform will be for anyone to post information that will benefit our community. Only exception is politics.

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