The Fresh Smell of Success

Speeches Shim

Tuesday, June 22, 2021
Ishtar's products are handmade, natural, and cruelty free.
DCEO for USAID

Since she was a little girl, Zinah, 32, has loved scents and perfumes -- she even made her first eucalyptus scent at 9-years-old. In 2014, Zinah turned her favorite hobby into a profession when she opened Ishtar, where she sells natural, handmade soaps scented with her own fragrances. Zinah also wanted to make sure her business supports women in her community.  “I wanted to make a business where I can use my talent to make products that smell good, but also only hire women in need so that every dollar we make can go to the right place,” said Zinah. 

Her commitment to women’s empowerment is at the core of her business model. “I know every struggle of women in need, and Ishtar was an idea to help women using the only craft I knew, which was soap making.” After eight years in business, Ishtar has grown its product range to offer a wide variety of soaps and personal care products that are loved by Iraqis living across the country and overseas Zinah likes to think that her brand represents the talent, creativity, and perseverance of Iraqi women.

Though Ishtar has come a long way since its inception, Zinah is constantly searching for ways to remain competitive in a saturated market, especially with cheaper, low-quality imported cosmetics. USAID is supporting Zinah to increase Ishtar’s production by equipping her factory with high-quality machines, which will help . With more products to sell, Zinah can stay competitive with other brands and build brand loyalty from her customers, while maintaining her commitment to social responsibility. 

Zinah will hire female sales agents in each province. She says “with your support, we are able to bring smarter ways that will save us time and effort to increase our production. Our new sales agents can have the amounts of products they need to increase their sales.” Zinah’s plan is to grow Ishtar in the future and open more stores around Iraq. She hopes that USAID’s support will help her business grow and empower other women.

Last updated: November 01, 2021

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