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What's it Like Working for Haute Hijab? A Look Behind the Scenes!

Posted on Feb 27, 2019
Dilshad Ali


What’s it like working for Haute Hijab? Some might say it’s the best company to work for! :) Of course I’m biased, but having worked for several media outlets, a school and a charity organization in my nearly 20 years of work as an editor and journalist, I have nothing but good things to report!

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal highlighted how important it has become in our modern-day workforce to foster a welcoming, flexible and supportive company culture, even more so over a variety of perks. “With unemployment sitting at 3.7 percent and more than 7 million jobs in the American economy unfulfilled, workers are instead assessing workplace culture, the value of their own role and whether they believe in management or not," the article says.

Melanie Elturk at the office

The truth of that statement is embodied in what Haute Hijab is all about - from the work culture to our attention to our products - and how all of us as employees are well-cared for with integrity, kindness, fairness and flexibility. I should know - I was the first employee hired by Melanie and Ahmed (HH's CEO and COO respectively) who works remotely. And, unlike other places where I’ve worked remotely, I’ve never been pressured to clock-in-and-clock-out, to account for every minute of my day. The expectation is for me to produce quality work, help Haute Hijab grow in our communities, communicate effectively and contribute to the team.

It’s about trust, and the beautiful part is with that trust placed in me, it motivates me even more to excel - not just because I want to do good work, but also because I believe in the values of Haute Hijab.

So, why are we talking about this? Many of you are often interested in who works for Haute Hijab and what we do behind the curtains, so to speak. You want to know about our motivations, our work ethics and how our working environment and company culture facilitates what we want to do for you by way of the hijabs we sell, the narratives we uplift and the community we foster and inform. Transparency is our mainstay, and with that in mind let me take you behind the scenes of what it’s like to work for Haute Hijab and what we are all here to do.

I asked five HH friends and colleagues - Gizelle, Mona, Mahmoud, Emma and Noor, who work in different areas at HH, three questions, which will give you insight how what we do starts with the hijab, but is so much more than that.

Gizelle Begler - Creative Director

Gizelle Begler

What led you to apply to work here?

I met Ahmed and Melanie at a Muslim networking event when I first moved back to New York from Egypt. I clicked with them right away, and before I knew it, I was spending evenings at their apartment brainstorming new hijab ideas on their living room carpet. Although I had worked with many hijabi customers in the past, I had never imagined designing hijabs exclusively. However, once I realized what a beautiful privilege it would be to serve this remarkable community while also changing the world of hijab, joining the company was an absolute no-brainer.

What drew you to HH? What are some of your favorite things about working here?

As one might imagine, working with HH is an absolute dream. We are a team of exceptional people all working together towards one common goal — ensuring that hijab-wearing women feel comfortable and confident in their hijab. We all genuinely love each other and support one another not only professionally, but personally as well.

I was drawn to the company (which at the time was just Ahmed and Melanie) after seeing how dedicated they were to their mission as well as how committed they were to the quality of their product. Whether it was their website or the craftsmanship of their product, Ahmed and Melanie operated with integrity and ihsaan, which is exactly how I choose to work and live my life. Haute Hijab as a company will not settle for anything less than the best for the women that they serve.

Share an anecdote about working at Haute Hijab - something that was meaningful to you.

I recently lost my mother to ALS. She was diagnosed with the disease three years ago, and 2.5 of those years I was working for Haute Hijab. My mother was my best friend and my hero. Being her only child, we were incredibly close. That being said, I don’t know how I would have coped with her illness and eventual passing had I not been as supported as I’ve been by each and every member of the Haute Hijab team. Not only did they all flock to my home the evening of her passing, they took turns renting cars, taking Ubers and trains to come stay with me in Connecticut the two weeks I was home to show me that I wasn’t alone.

I truly feel that Allah sent me Haute Hijab as a replacement family to support me through the most vulnerable time of my life.

Mona Mostafa - Social Media Specialist

Mona Mostafa

What led you to apply to work here?

Haute Hijab has been an incredible learning experience for me thus far in my time here! I come from a mental health background where I worked for five years, and as much as I enjoyed my rewarding work there, I knew that I had a passion for social media marketing! Between my love for modest fashion, photography and truly believing in the value of a product, I knew this was a job I would be excited about.

What drew you to HH? What are some of your favorite things about working here?

Since I’ve started, I’ve loved getting to know our customers one-on-one and building a community within our brand! One of the core pillars at Haute Hijab is “building community.” This isn’t the type of retail brand that just knows their customers by their name on the screen! We learn their stories, share beautiful moments through their photos and congratulate them on their successes, whether it be their marriage, graduation or newborn baby! They know each of us on a first name basis, and we know them as well! It’s a beautiful thing, alhamdullilah, and so fulfilling.

Share an anecdote about working at Haute Hijab - something that was meaningful to you.

During my interview process, I remember everyone telling me that if you had an idea at HH, you should present it. And if you get the approval to proceed, you can run with it! Prior to this, I’ve worked with companies who already had their rules and processes set in stone, and there was no room for change or creative ideas! Before I started, I figured this might be the same at HH. However, because we’re such a young company (in more ways than one), you really can present an idea and get not only approval, but encouragement to run with it and make it happen!

My favorite part thus far was pitching the “Hijab Makes Me Feel” campaign! I knew there was so much mixed messaging in the media and in western society about hijab, what it is and why we wear it. I wanted to start a campaign that shared personal experiences from girls who actually wear the hijab and to show others that it isn’t scary or oppressive as others make it seem! We received a flood of beautiful and positive responses, shared photos and got to meet so many of our customers through the experience alhamdullilah!

Emma Williams - Customer Experience Associate

Emma Williams

What led you to apply to work here?

HH is a company that truly stands out from the rest, which is what led me to apply to work here. There is such an apparent passion that goes into everything that we do - from designing new products to replying to customers’ feedback and needs, to forming a strong sense of solidarity across the beloved HH community!

What drew you to HH? What are some of your favorite things about working here?

HH is such an exciting addition to the world of fashion that is very much lacking. We are not only debunking the idea that modest dressing and being fashionable and stylish are mutually exclusive, but also encouraging women to feel confident and proud in their hijab! In a world where Islamophobia has become a pervasive issue, I think that Haute Hijab has a very solid and effective approach to positively changing the culture and attitude towards hijabs, both for those who do wear them and those who do not. We are giving Muslim women hijabs that keep up with their modernity and allow them to hold on to and respect their tradition in style.

I am a strong proponent for women's rights and love being a part of a company that is changing the way people view hijabi women and how hijabi women view themselves - as powerful, confident, beautiful women.

Share an anecdote about working at Haute Hijab - something that was meaningful to you.

Once I understood all the policies, the tone, the language and how to answer customers’ emails on my own, I caught the hang of things pretty quickly. Shortly thereafter it hit me - the sheer amount of positive feedback that we get from customers is astounding. I don’t have one specific anecdote that stands out from the rest, but I will say that my job has turned out to be more rewarding than I could have ever expected. From love letters to Melanie to customers reaching out to you personally, thanking you, praising you for helping them out, the atmosphere is one of heightened support and kindness. These little messages are so meaningful to me. Some of our customers’ emails literally have me smiling for the rest of the day!

Mahmoud Yousif - Software Engineer

Mahmoud Yousif

What led you to apply to work here?

When I first applied to the software engineering position, I had just recently graduated and was looking to make a big move in my life. After living in a small town in Maryland for the better part of 6 years, I was looking for a more diverse environment. So I turned to NYC and Haute Hijab came up in my searches.

What drew you to HH? What are some of your favorite things about working here?

Haute Hijab was a blessing that I didn’t fully realize until I started working there. At first I was attracted to the idea of working with people I could relate to on a cultural level, people who would understand my background in a way I wasn’t getting in my small town. It was exactly what I was looking for when moving to New York. Furthermore, the company’s mission spoke to me on a personal level and gave me a sense of a higher calling.

Share an anecdote about working at Haute Hijab - something that was meaningful to you.

More than being able to relate to the company culture, I also related to the company’s work ethic. Everyone here is passionate about what they do and determined to do a good job. We are also a closely knit team and have genuine interests in each other’s lives. The team was so welcoming when I first started. My third day of work was my birthday, and without really mentioning anything, the team prepared a birthday surprise. I actually didn’t see it coming, so that made it even more pleasant! It’s just a small example of how important it is at HH to appreciate everyone on the team and their respective roles It’s one of the best things about working here!

Noor Suleiman - Community Manager

Noor Suleiman

What led you to apply to work here?

I'm the community manager at HH, which means I work on bringing Haute Hijab from online to on the ground. Think in-person events, masjid partnerships, sponsorships, an HH retreat, HH ambassadors and so much more coming your way soon! It's going to be an exciting year, inshallah!

I've been working part-time with HH since January 2017. When I started, Melanie and Ahmed were still working from their NYC apartment, so I used to meet them there for our meetings. I had been following Haute Hijab from Melanie's Dubai days, and always admired her and the brand, and so when I saw the job opening I didn't hesitate to apply!

What drew you to HH? What are some of your favorite things about working here?

Working at Haute Hijab doesn't feel like work, even when it gets super busy and hectic. Everyone loves what they do, and I really think it reflects on the work we put out into the world. We put the customer at the forefront, and everything we do is for them, so we consider all our decisions and goals very carefully. This taught me about the value of slowing down, asking many questions and always trying to do my best work. Melanie and Ahmed also encourage us to completely own our projects, to dream so big and to always seek knowledge, That spills over to your personal self - at least for me.

Also, teamwork is the dreamwork! We're all good friends, and we get along so well. That fosters a work culture where teamwork is so easy, fun and produces amazing things. Everyone can have a say; everyone's input and ideas are welcome.

Share an anecdote about working at Haute Hijab - something that was meaningful to you.

One thing that I'm so grateful and fortunate for is how accommodating HH is to me as a working mom. It's not every day that you find a job that does this. They're not only super understanding, but also love my kids – it's so heartwarming. When I was talking to Ahmed about coming back from maternity leave, it was around the same time they were putting together a list of needs for our new (and first ever) HH office.

He asked me to send him a list of everything I will need to accommodate me and the new baby when we start coming in, and I didn't even know what to say. I think I literally answered, "Um, just a fridge for the milk, which we'll already have in the kitchen anyway?" It meant so much.

Are you interested in working for Haute Hijab? Check out our Careers page and apply!