Solihull School Lower Sixth student Alia Osman has been celebrating the smell of success since her scented soy candle business, Gammbaz, received a significant investment on Shark Tank Egypt, the country’s equivalent to Dragons’ Den.
16-year-old Egyptian born Alia, who studies economics, physics and chemistry at the Midlands leading independent co-educational day school, saw her candle-making company rocket after she won over the sharks.
Alia creates candles using soy which, when melted, can be used as a skin lotion. This developed into a small business in Egypt which she manages alongside her A Levels.
Producers from Shark Tank Egypt, a show where prospective business owners make a pitch for investment, contacted her and she appeared on screen in December, after Solihull School allowed her to travel as part of work experience.
Speaking of Alia’s success, her proud father Ahmed said: “Alia convinced three of the five sharks to invest in her business despite her young age. Her story went viral in the whole Middle East region where her video on Facebook was viewed over 7.6 million times.”
“We’re very proud of her. This generation don’t really listen to us, do they? They do their own thing, but she’s doing very well!”
This week, Alia presented to Solihull School Sixth Form peers about her experience and her business, explaining, as well as securing the substantial investment, one of her ‘wow’ moments since the show has been the huge follower increase on her Gammbaz Instagram account – from 3,600 followers to over 70,000 in just two weeks, with her products selling out 10 minutes after they were uploaded on her website.
Mrs Evans, Head of Sixth Form at Solihull School said: “It was great to hear Alia talk so passionately. She is effectively balancing school work and her business and is clear that achieving good A Level grades remains her priority. Despite Alia’s business success and aspirations, her academic resolve has not been dampened. She plans to read chemistry at university, with the hope that this knowledge will help her to grow her confidence in the creation of even more exciting products! Well done, Alia, a real inspiration.”
Since her appearance, Alia has employed three people from a charity which supports burns victims – she had previously donated proceeds towards the charity. Alia currently makes batches of candles when the family return to Egypt during school holidays.
Speaking of her ambition and ‘next steps’, Alia would like to open a shop in Egypt and the UK, her dream collaboration would be with Dior, but first … “Perhaps a Solihull candle?”
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