We had the good fortune of connecting with Latifah & Tami Al-Hazza and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Latifah & Tami, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
Women are the primary caretakers in most, if not every, country in the world. They routinely face insurmountable challenges, oftentimes alone, to working and raising their family. In many third world countries, females do not have a voice in society. Although individuals in first world countries may understand that women in other parts of the world are struggling, the concept isn’t real to them, in part, because they have no first-hand experience with these struggles. That’s where Femscape comes in. Although with my mother/cofounder, I have created a company that offers privileged women from around the world an intimate experience with women in remote areas of the world.
We pride ourselves on redefining authentic travel experiences for women by creating a travel tour company that offers unique tours where advocating for women is our central focus. We primarily work with female owned or run establishments (hotels, restaurants, guides, etc.). We also ensure that our clients become familiar with the struggles and challenges of the women in the countries we travel to. We do this by going beyond the typical tourist experiences. For example, on a recent trip we traveled to a tribe in a remote part of the mountains of Morocco to chat with the tribal women, learn their craft, spend time in their homes and ultimately give back to them (via monetary donations, artisan purchases, or offering supplies to local schools).
These experiences help dispel cultural misunderstandings, lay the foundations for acceptance and understanding, and forge bonds for lasting impactful friendships.
From connecting these two diverse groups, both are empowered. Through this exposure we believe that both groups of women will see alternative pathways to empowerment, gaining rights, achieving more visibility and gaining respect. Whether it’s the women traveling with us who are empowered by the strength of the local women or whether it’s the local women who feel empowered by recognition from the women traveling with us, the power of women must be seen, heard, celebrated and honored. Together, we can strive to enhance the overall development of society and improve the stature of women within all societies.
Femscape Sojourns also promotes another aspect of female empowerment, the bond between mothers and daughters. We started the company in hopes of facilitating mother and daughter relationships by beginning with trips catered specifically to them. The incredible experiences my mother and I have had while traveling together birthed the vision of providing the same opportunities to others (but made easier as we do all the work). In addition to our mother-daughter trips, our company has now branched out to include trips for women ages 40+ and trips for women in their 20s and 30s
Aside from leading immersive cultural women’s trips around the world, Femscape Sojourns’ newest venture is our boutique. Our boutique items were handpicked by us and handcrafted by women that we have spent time with, in countries that we have traveled to. By purchasing these items, we are giving these artisans access to an international market, enabling them to become independent and giving them the opportunity to make a living wage to support their children. And, with each purchase comes a handwritten story about the artisan and the product. We are constantly discovering new activities, working with new partners and finding more impactful ways to solve imperative societal issues.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
After traveling extensively with friends and my mother, I realized that many people would like to have travel experiences where they engage in adventure and bond with their mother through travel as I have had. After discussing this with my mom, she expressed her concerns that women her age might be afraid or uncomfortable with the idea of traveling alone. Many older women want to see the world but have no one to travel with because they are divorced, widowed, or don’t have an adventurous circle of friends who want to travel. After much discussion and research, we decided to create a boutique women’s travel company that offers culturally rich, authentic trips for women.
Like most creatives and entrepreneurs, there are anticipated challenges and unexpected challenges to building (or creating) your brand, your career, or your company. We were very experienced in travel; however, this was our first time launching a business, so we had to develop an entrepreneurial mindset. We had to take business classes, startup classes, learn new technology, and seek connections with people who were successful in the field and willing to give us advice. And, we had to listen and be willing to discard ideas that didn’t work.
We have found that we had to prioritize our goals and focus our time and energy. Growing a business on your own without any investors is time-consuming, it’s expensive, and requires a lot of dedication and motivation. We kept reading that you need to hire people to complete tasks for various components of the business; however, it can be challenging to hire everyone you need, so in the beginning, you must learn many aspects of the business. So, no, it certainly hasn’t all been smooth. But it has been worth it. We have expanded our identity and self-image and now see ourselves as businesswomen and women connected to millions of women throughout the world.
The elevator advice that we would give to new entrepreneurs is that a business isn’t successful overnight. One of our reality checks was that we expected to become popular within the first year and we took it a bit hard when that didn’t happen. Depending on your line of work, it is essential to first build a following before you offer goods or a service to the public. For women just creating their business, it is vital that they develop confidence and endurance and realize the time, monetary commitment and skills that it will require to launch a new business. They must anticipate that growth will take time. We advise that they celebrate every tiny success along the way as if it’s a huge accomplishment instead of a small victory.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Where to Eat in LA:
Milo + Olive: Burrata & Prosciutto Di Parma Pizza
Sidecar Doughnuts: Huckleberry Doughnut
Perch LA: Scallops Plat Principal
Blue Plate Tacos: Shrimp Tacos
Bestia: Osso Bucco Agnolotti
Kazunori: 6-Hand Roll Set
Southend: Kinney Artisan Pie
Where to Hangout in LA:
El Matador State Park
Hike Sandstone Peak
Where to Visit in LA:
Griffith Observatory for sunset
YogAqua stand-up paddleboard yoga
Grand Central Market
Downtown LA Street Art Tour
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
All credit goes to my grandmother and great grandmother. Both of these strong women always encouraged my mother that she could do whatever she wanted as long as she believed in herself and worked hard. They also encouraged her to help women whenever she could because society often gives men an advantage in every aspect of life. In turn, my mother instilled in me the same core values, so I have an unshakable belief in myself and a passion for forging bonds with other women in societies around the world.
Other: Latifah Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tifahhhh/