two girls playing basketball in asiya sports hijabs
Fatimah Hussein, founder of modest activewear line, ASIYA, bridged a gap that once kept Muslim girls and women from participating in athletics because of their religious hijabs. — Asiya

In our Growth Studio Spotlight series, CO— aims to connect budding entrepreneurs with business owners who have been there, providing advice that can help bridge the gap between a business idea and successful execution. In this edition, we consult Fatimah Hussein, the founder of modest activewear line, ASIYA, to share her entrepreneurial experiences — from finding great employees to successfully marketing a small business. The company has been in business for 3 years and has 5 employees.

Here's how Hussein describes her company: ASIYA is a modest activewear brand enabling sports participation and physical activity for Muslim girls and women.

What is your biggest business challenge?

Today, Muslim girls participate in sports at about half the rate of their peers. We view ASIYA as a social venture looking to increase participation rates, as we believe there is huge value in sports participation for young girls in developing critical skills that set them up for success later in life. However, this poses a business challenge in that we are needing to drive a social change, and build our market to be able to reach a point of a fully sustainable business model. We are impact first, and that will take time.

What was your biggest win?

We recently launched a new product, a swim hijab, to expand our impact! Many Muslim girls and women swim for exercise, and lack of modest swimwear has been a major challenge. Our new ASIYA Swim Hijab is designed to stay in place during the hardest of workouts, with chlorine-resistant and UVA/UVB protective fabric. Our customers are loving this new product!

Be inclusive

ASIYA helps promote inclusivity by offering athletic hijabs that allow Muslim women to participate in sports without subjecting their religious beliefs. Read on for more tips on inclusivity in business.

Our research has found that a lack of appropriate, modest activewear has been a major barrier to Muslim girls participating in sports and being physically active.

Fatimah Hussein, founder, ASIYA

What’s the one thing your business is known for doing better than the competition?

We are a Muslim, woman-owned business, developing products by Muslim women for Muslim women. Our products have always been designed by Muslim girls and women, looking to enable the Muslim community around the world to participate in sports and live active, healthy lives.

What is your best source of new customers?

Referrals are the key! Girls and women love our sports hijabs, and are telling their community about it. We are also beginning to exhibit at tradeshows for athletic administrators, where we are speaking with high school athletic directors from around the country about how they can better enable their current Muslim athletes by providing sports hijabs as part of the uniform offering, and also effectively increase sports participation rates by showing the students and community that they truly value diversity and inclusion in their program.

How do you market your business?

We sell direct to customers through our website, and also direct to schools and sports organizations who are buying sportswear and uniforms for their athletes.

How do you hope to grow your business in the next five years?

We hope to enable more young Muslim girls to participate in sports, and are partnering with youth sports organizations and schools around the country (and the world!) to help break down barriers to sports participation. Our research has found that a lack of appropriate, modest activewear has been a major barrier to Muslim girls participating in sports and being physically active. Our products ensure that girls can participate without needing to compromise their religion or culture, allowing them to play hard without worrying about something like their hijab getting in the way.

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