Celebrating Influential Women: Exclusive Interview With Rania Atef, Founder of “I Make This” Facebook Community
Today, the entire world is celebrating International Women’s Day. It highlights all the success stories from every corner of the world, all the bosses, engineers, students, mothers, entrepreneurs, wives, artists, and more. And Facebook is celebrating International Women’s Day this year, by giving us the opportunity to conduct two interviews with two of our community leaders that started Facebook Groups and are constantly changing women’s lives.
One of the leading Facebook Groups that affects the women’s lives in our community is I Make This! The group is basically a community and marketplace for female entrepreneurs in Egypt, founded by Rania Atef.
Rania Atef started her Facebook group purely so that she could drum up a bit of business. As a freelance photographer, she needed more bookings but found marketing expensive and hard. So, at the start of the year, she set up I Make This!, a community group where other female makers could advertise their own products in exchange for inviting their own network to like the page, thereby increasing the market audience.
We had an exclusive interview with Rania to International Women Day to celebrate the influence that she’s having on women from her community.
From what you see in the group, what are the sectors with the highest gaps and demands?
I see in the group a demand across all diverse themes. It has to do with appreciating the talent and authenticity behind the product more than just filling a gap. We are a community that is bringing together women to showcase their innovation, creativity and share a purpose with the aim to lift our social and economic impact.
How did the idea of the group come to you?
When I realized that all available platforms for advertising on social media were charging massive amounts to allow women to advertise about their small projects, I realized we needed to bring all friends of friends in one group and be able to share all the amazing things we do for free.
In two months, we got 150,000 members, which is spectacular for a closed group. We’ve been lucky for two reasons – one, the kind of posts are really astonishing, and secondly, those who weren’t makers have felt like that if they’re not on the group, they’re missing out. In Egypt word of mouth, recommendations are like gold; everyone loves it.
How do you think the group influenced the lives of women in your community?
I make this! Helped more than 1000 women so far post about their small projects to a huge market of over 150k women. Many of those who posted reported being sold out after actually posting on the group. The group has created a free and big market for those women and has increased its sales and followers massively.
What are your expansion plans for the group?
We have a lot of plans that work on two main areas, expanding the market for those women even more (online and offline through events and bazaars) and developing their skills to match that increased market through the training and development opportunities we present on another group called IMT lab which is a group for all the women with small projects that posted on I make this!
What are the challenges that faced you when you first started the group?
The biggest challenge was actually a surprise to me! When I first started, I thought the biggest challenge was going to be how to grow the audience of the group but in two weeks only the group has expanded to 50k members and 100 k in one month. The actual real challenge is the massive number of talented ladies who want to showcase their work on I make this! On average we receive 200 or more posts from women with amazing projects and can only post a maximum of 30 per day.
When did you discover that the group has reached its true purpose?
When I kept receiving amazing messages from women who posted on the group about how just one post has transformed their businesses completely to a different level.