Interview with Lisa Yasmine Frid (31), business owner of YAAS
With YAAS, Lisa Yasmine Frid brings beautiful Berber rugs to Brussels living rooms. In addition, she is also spokeswoman for the Moroccan rug weavers with whom she works. Each creation is 100% handmade, every one with a unique story that is actually woven into the rug.
After her studies in interior architecture (and a series of communication, marketing and design courses), Lisa went to work as a communications officer at a biomedical company. In 2019, she decided to fully dedicate all her time to her passion for Berber culture which is where her roots lie. With the start-up of YAAS, she wanted to actively promote and support the rich craft of rug weaving in Brussels.
Berber craftsmanship for design enthusiasts
Who or what is YAAS?
“YAAS is a company that specializes in promoting and selling Berber handicrafts made by women’s cooperatives in Morocco. These are the world-famous handmade Berber rugs, pillows, poufs, wicker products, etc.
At YAAS, we like to emphasize the unique creative value of each piece. This is because each product is made by a talented craftswoman. Therefore, we strive to make their work known to the general public, and to pay them a fair price.”
Are you alone at the helm of the company?
“Yes, I am solely responsible for the business. With help from a female friend for written communication and translations.”
“For YAAS, Brussels is an obvious choice. It is a cosmopolitan city, very trendy in terms of contemporary design. In addition, Brussels offers the necessary support to help entrepreneurs start a business.
On a personal level, the city is also close to my heart. I grew up here and don’t see myself living anywhere else anytime soon.”
Have your plans been thwarted by COVID-19?
“It’s quite difficult to precisely analyze and evaluate its success since it was the first time I sold my products in a physical store. Either way, I’m currently very satisfied with the result. Despite some delays in the launch, and constraints related to the crisis, there’s a lot of interest in our products. This makes me conclude that the launch of YAAS is indeed a success, despite the challenging situation.”
Have you found alternatives to tackle the crisis?
“At the beginning of the crisis, we started a webshop. In this way we managed to make up for some lost revenue. I also always remained very active on social networks, to win over customers and promote the project.”
What were the biggest hurdles in starting up?
“I am not yet able to afford to rent a permanent, physical store. So the hardest thing was to position YAAS online, where there’s quite a lot of competition.”
Where were the opportunities, in your opinion?
“The temporary residence at L’Auberge Espagnole was the most important and best opportunity for YAAS. That way I could finally meet my customers and evaluate & fine-tune the concept. Thanks to this, I now have more financial insight into whether YAAS can afford to open its own store in the future.”
In your opinion, should you be of a certain age to start a business?
“I don’t think there is really an age to start a business as there is little point in thinking too much about it. Just go for it, try out ideas without fear of failure. Because those who learn from their mistakes can grow and gain confidence for the future!”
3 golden entrepreneurial tips from Lisa Yasmine:
- 1) Be versatile.
- 2) Be curious.
- 3) Seize opportunities.
Like Lisa Yasmine, do you want to start your own business? Discover our extensive services for start-up entrepreneurs:
Do you want to get started in the retail business? Come test your concept for less and with less risk at the Auberge Espagnole Etterbeek and Saint-Gilles, our two retail pop-up store incubators!
Are you opening a retail business soon? Have you recently opened one or are you planning on expanding? hub.brussels’ coaches follow your commercial project, from idea to realisation.
Do you want to open your own restaurant? Come test your culinary concept for less and with less risk at Kokotte, our hospitality incubator.
Do you want to learn the business from qualified entrepreneurs? Participate in the “Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs” programme!