My Divorce Inspired Me To Start My Own Business

Ms Noor was married at the age of 20 and had a hard divorce. She was left with no choice but to get on with life, so she decided to start her own business to build a foundation for her children and cement her independence. Today her business is promoting the ISPY Evil Eye Sapphire Ring which represents a break away from the evil eye, we often are subjects of. Ms Noor decided to invest in herself, through education, and has started a business after being trained as an aesthetician in London, Switzerland, and Paris. She is expanding her business to cater to international customers through strategies that include eCommerce and an impressive Instagram influence. Although she has experienced major ups and downs, what stands out is that despite all the difficulties that came with divorce and starting a business from scratch, Ms Noor never gave up. With hard work and determination, she managed to make a success out of herself and provide services to customers all around the world. We have seen a glimpse of what she will achieve. Through this experience, Ms Noor has learned that the strongest person is not necessarily the one who never fails but rather the one who gets back up after being knocked down: the one who moves on.

What inspired you to start a business from scratch?

I was married at the age of 20 for 17 years. I have learned that the strongest person is the one who gets on with their life. I started with no money, but “education is priceless, and no one can take it away from you.” I had everything taken away from me, including drinking water – yes drinking water! My ex tried to make me homeless but in divorce proceedings I was able to live in the family home, my bills were being paid, and as per the status quo things went accordingly. This was the biggest shock of my life, my bubble had been popped, I lived a very sheltered life in the countryside, and I was a full time stay at home mum. I met someone we’ll call “Doctor” and he saved my life, literally…I have met so many new people along the way and continue to educate myself and stay up to date with products and different methods of training. I was fighting a divorce in the background yet meeting new people and trying to start a business! My ambition and drive to start a business come from my father. ISPY Aestheticare was a business that started to inspire women to look and feel beautiful from the inside-out. I am especially interested in empowering women from my own ethnic background, Pakistan, and I have already started cosmetic charity work in Islamabad and Lahore. In 2024 we will be opening an ISPY AESTHETICARE clinic, which will offer British, Italian, French and Spanish techniques that I currently practice.
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How has your experience with the divorce process and being a full-time mum influenced your business decisions?

I call myself a “mumpreneur.” Starting a business was a means of creating a better life for my kids. Both kids—millennials at home, in cars, on iPads and iPhones, playing games, Tik Toking, YouTubing or Instagramming—needed the best start in life. One day, I asked my daughter ‘if we had to start a business together what would we call it?” My daughter was only 7, when she replied with great enthusiasm “ISPY”. One day I woke up thinking there’s only two ways you can really live your life: 1. I was born to make an impact on this planet bigger than a meaningless life of luxury. Why was I fortunate enough to be born in this country with human rights and in other countries, people suffer from abuse, poverty and stay in forced marriages with no options to leave without facing honour killing? Everyone has the right to a divorce certificate. As an aesthetician I believe beauty will attract positive energy and bring great people into your lives.

How did you overcome any obstacles related to being uneducated to become successful on an international level of trade?

I completed my GCSEs, A Levels, (dropped out of sixth form) and spent most of my childhood swimming competitively. I was a “wild child” so my parents married me off in Pakistan. It’s a fact: a low number of years in education for an unskilled work force with low earning capacity means financial income will always remain low. Eventually, I invested in educating myself and provide aid to women in underrepresented situations through my not-for-profit company and extra endeavours. To protect my positive energy from the evil gaze of people in my past I designed my very own sapphire evil eye ring. This is now an exclusive piece available to purchase on the ISPY website. Coming from a Pakistani background, growing up I didn’t understand why all these people are obsessed with fair skin. If you ask a fair-skinned person from the UK, they will say, “dark skin is beauty” & if you ask a dark-skinned person from Pakistan they will say, “fair skin is beauty.” This inspired me to invest and brand my own skin lightening serum, bleach free, safe for sensitive skin. ISPY AESTHETICARE LIGHTENING SERUM not only lightens the skin but makes it smooth and healthy too. ISPY SERUM is for all skin types, removes dark marks and acne and the price of ISPY WHITENING SERUM is £20 GBP. This is reasonably attractive compared to over-priced brands.

How has the ISPY evil eye sapphire ring helped your business grow? In some more detail, what does this exclusive product represent?

The iconic blue sapphire & diamond ring, a 3.32ct oval sapphire surrounded by F.VS diamonds in a cluster design has an ISPY Authentic stamp of luck inside. (All rings are bespoke, and rings are made in platinum). Upon receipt, the ISPY ring is presented in our beautiful bespoke packaging and a certificate. These rings are made to empower women and to make them look and feel beautiful. The business continues to be “not for profit” to support domestic abuse until I’m officially divorced. This motivated me to keep going to help empower women. I strongly believe when I was married that my ex-husband’s family and specific people close to us “called friends” or those in our narrow-minded village were very envious of us and our family. These people come into your life, give you the “evil glare” and send bad luck your way. Now to protect myself, I pray first but I like to wear my ring for the added extra evil eye protection.
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What does ISPY mean to you as an aesthetician in London/Pakistan?

Let’s play “I spy with my little eye something beginning with ISPY: I-NTELLIGENT, S-ASSY, P-OWERFUL, Y-OUNG-AT-HEART YUMMY MUMMY ISPY is driven to inspire intelligent women, educate them further, and allow them to look sassy inside out. ISPY AESTHETICARE sell exclusive treatments and products; they offer bespoke life experiences that have many benefits to mental health and well-being. My brand is built around my vision of myself as an artist and a human rights activist. It took me most of my mid-life-years to figure that out, now people are connecting with me globally and I am inspiring so many men and women. The book I published on Amazon is all about how my life started on a low and ended on a high with a triumph. On Spotify and other platforms my audience can find my podcasts called “Rise Above Culture.” I strongly advise businesses like mine to go for a narrow audience with low competition. I specialise in skin whitening and exclusive serums made in Pakistan. To be inspired by the ISPY Ethos you need to be brave enough to be a part of a very narrow, very specific market. Think millennials, older people, men and women who have let themselves go because of their life circumstances i.e. divorce. I have identified gaps in the market in Pakistan where most aesthetic treatments and products use medical instruments that may not be easily available. Creating international treatments available for men and women; offering Masterclasses for the rich and the under-privileged—sharing business secrets that work for start-ups and entrepreneurialism—so they do not lead a life and line of lives stricken by poverty; and adapting to and competing within the online demand with a high quality web experience are all ways I am filling the gaps I have identified. I have been trained in aesthetics in London, Switzerland, and Paris. I personally always focus on quality; this poured into ISPY to differentiate it from low-cost peers. In my industry medics will always say that us non-medical aestheticians haven’t spent adequate time in clinical training, but as practitioners this is completely untrue. ISPY perform at high levels of quality, training and standards always focused on clients. Sitting in on an ISPY seat, it’s all about you. I am genuine and educate you about the clinical information within my market. I offer what is best for clients, not what I want clients buying.
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What strategies do you employ to market to international customers?

For a country where retail still relies on customers walking into beauty clinics, lockdown pushed people online all over the world, and in Pakistan this was very challenging. As a result, more people also discovered Instagram. This shift empowered big, small, old, and new businesses to take a leap into e-commerce. I was privileged to be born in London, educated in London, and raised in London where e-commerce thrives. My long-term goal is to make ISPY the trendsetter and authority amongst its global peers.

How has your cultural background shaped your approach to business and aesthetics?

Being a British Pakistani, the insights I have gained are unsurprising for many women. On top of the social checklist of ideal beauty in Pakistan is pale or fair skin. With ISPY we are concentrating heavily on marketing this in the UK. We are combining skin whitening with French aesthetic techniques, with our exclusive products and training methods. We are marketing in Pakistan what is already in high demand with medical aesthetic products and techniques. However, in Pakistan there is a high magnitude of wealth division that needs to be addressed.

What insights have you gained from dealing with international customers?

Visiting Pakistan gave me many opportunities money can’t buy with the local people. Learning about the culture and introducing mine {British}, exchanging ideas, values, beliefs of different religions within a dominantly Muslim country allowed me to broaden my worldview. This added to my personal development so I’m proud to say that I am proud to be part of a Global community. In Pakistan ISPY is mainly working to bring products for skin whitening in the UK. I share the reality of eating superfoods, fat freezing, furthermore we work very close with plastic surgeons in Turkey and arrange packages and referrals to surgeries. Aesthetically we offer all anti-ageing skin treatments, for hair, skin, neck and hands. Men & Women, middle aged plus are the target audience for beauty products and treatments. We will be working very closely with a designer chocolatier, but these discussions are still under negotiation.
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What have been some of the most rewarding moments during your entrepreneurial journey so far?

The most rewarding moments for my journey so far have been receiving my qualifications and educating myself and learning the biggest lesson in life that “I have no friends”. I want to seriously thank everyone who gave up on me, left me and gossiped about me. It’s because of you, I’m where I am today. If you know my story, you will know that it has inspired me to grow in a way that no one can take away my education, my personality and my charisma. I have pushed my children into education. They are very lucky and fortunate to have had such an amazing start in life. In 2024 my goal is together a team of doctors, Aestheticians, hairdressers, and beauticians together from London to start a charity in Pakistan.

Starting a business from scratch without specialised education must have changed your mindset and goals quite quickly as an adaptable businesswoman. How would you describe your current business practices in comparison to when you first started out?

When you have reached your goals remember the top of one mountain is the bottom of the next one, so just keep climbing. There is no limit in life, to your education, to your growth. People don’t respect you when you are at the bottom, they ignore you when you are in the middle and as I have witnessed, they hate you when you are at the top. You will never have everyone’s approval, therefore better you learn sooner rather than later, respect yourself. We are obsessed with money and materialistic things in this life, my richness is my quality of life. Are you rich with a lot of possessions in the bank? Because, in my future I don’t want those kinds of riches. Now I’m too old to worry about who likes/dislikes me. Support me and I’ll support you, I have too many things to do to worry about to care about what people think. Never blame anyone in life, good people give you happiness, the worst give you a lesson and the best give you memories. For example, I lost my father a couple of years ago and he gave me the best memories. Weak people revenge, strong people forgive, and intelligent people ignore. Don’t you dare doubt you’re worth. My last note is that if you are an adult, who dropped out of school like I did, there is a big difference between school and real life. In school you have a lesson and then a test. In real life you have a test and then the lesson is learned.
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