In the Arab business world, it’s necessary to differentiate.
Siham AlKurdi, who works as a brand manager for a fashion company in Amman, Jordan, is developing a new business, set apart from others by its unique combination of technology and fashion. By using tools like virtual reality and 3-D printing, she will enable customers to create fully customized clothes.
“No item is going to be repeated, ever again,” AlKurdi said, joking that sometimes two of something might get made — one for the customer and one for herself. “Everything will be made to measure, very personalized and will include the customer (throughout) the process.”
Now, as she gets ready to move to Dubai to launch her new brand, AlKurdi is brushing up on her business skills. She is finishing her first semester at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, working toward her associate of applied science degree in applied business.
“Business models change country to country, continent to continent and from one culture to another,” said AlKurdi, who specifically sought out an accredited American university that offered online degrees. “I would love to see my brand travel around the world.”
AlKurdi knows fashion. She has worked in the industry for seven years. She knows technology, too. Gadgets, gizmos and drones are scattered throughout her home. She and her husband like to figure out how everything works and occasionally build their own versions.
They also named their Pomeranian Neo, from the main character in “The Matrix.”
“Very predictable for two geeks,” she said.
After comparing hundreds of schools, she chose UAF for its quality and affordability. With every assignment, “I’m taking notes, I’m making a plan, and I’m going to use this,” AlKurdi said. She is on track to complete the degree in 2018 and plans to launch her business soon after.
“Everything is going to be experimental,” she said. “I’m going to try everything and maybe I’ll figure out a new way of designing.”
While working full time and taking nine credits, AlKurdi, a perfectionist, is also taking local fashion classes and enrolling in an online digital marketing certificate program through the University of Vermont. “I have passion for everything I do,” she said. “And if I don’t have passion for it, I just don’t do it.”