Prior to starting up her business, Mother of 3 Fowzia Suleman was a youth worker for 15 years. Although she really enjoyed this, the time came when she felt that a change was needed.
Photo: VGGVart

‘I always wanted to have my own business, I just didn’t know what. All I knew was that I wanted to be self employed.’

After having her children, she found it increasingly difficult to find modest yet fashionable clothing. Finally, Fowzia found a niche gap in the market for modest clothing, this became her idea for a business that she was genuinely passionate about. The result of this is Maryan.
Currently Maryan offers bespoke, fashionable and modest clothing for women, handmade by Fowzia herself. However, the business is looking to have designs manufactured due to the overwhelming demand. 
The Liverpool resident sat on the idea of self-employment for over a year, giving her time to do ‘lots of research and connections with individuals in the industry because it is vital to the success of your business.’

‘After years of watching my mother sewing, I discovered that I had unknowingly been absorbing those same skills when I started taking classes.’   
These natural skills, a supportive family and lots of market research made the journey into self-employment very smooth. Knowing her market inside out meant that she didn’t encounter any barriers whilst starting up. Fowzia also received further support and advice from The Women’s Organisation to ensure that the journey was as smooth as possible, 
‘My business advisor was really helpful. She gave me so much information and it was all relevant to my business. I also sat on the courses, Business Planning, Tax & National Insurance, E-marketing and Basic Book Keeping, which were so easy to understand and made things simple.’
Almost a year on, Fowzia is really pleased with the progress her business has made and is excited for the coming year. She has already been part of a few fashion shows and at present is working on showcasing her latest designs online, as well as plans to do more work in London.
‘There is a very big Muslim community in Liverpool and they are very loyal customers of my business. I am really enjoying it, it’s so rewarding to do something you’re so passionate about.’
When asked what advice she would give to someone considering starting up their own business, Fowzia replied: ‘Go for it! Do plenty of research and make sure that you learn your market inside and out. I can’t tell you how much those months of research helped me.’
The mother of 3 one day hopes to expand her business and open up a shop here in Liverpool, and later on in London, where she already has an established customer base. For now she is working on a website to showcase her work for next year.

To find out more about Maryan, email Fowzia directly on
And if you’d like to move forward with an idea you’ve been working on for a while or would like to know more, contact The Women’s Organisation on 0151 706 8111 / or visit

By Beckie Kinsella