Mostafa Al Sagheer

Carrying on a Remarkable Legacy

Earlier this year, Egypt was saddened by the passing of Mohamed Al Sagheer, the country’s preeminent hairstyling guru and Founder of the famous Al Sagheer Salons. Mohamed Al Sagheer left behind a powerful legacy of excellence in the beauty industry and over the years his salons have maintained their reputation as the go-to destination for iconic celebrities and public figures seeking to be glammed up. Carrying on his father’s legacy of excellence, his son Mostafa Al Sagheer, is applying the lessons his father taught him during the many years he worked by his side while making his own mark in a business that is always evolving. eniGma’s Ezz Al-Turkey sat down with Al Sagheer to discuss his father’s impact on him personally and to learn about his plans to revolutionise the Al Sagheer brand, going forward.

Mostafa Al Sagheer grew up watching his father, a true pioneer, as he became the dominant player in the beauty industry in Egypt. Originally planning to take a different path career-wise, he majored in political science with a minor in philosophy at the American University in Cairo. However, after graduating in 2003, he decided to join his father to learn what it takes to lead in the beauty business. Over the past 17 years, he has been quietly working side by side with his father, away from the spotlight. With the passing of his father, he was pushed to the forefront of the business and into the limelight. He now had to fill his father’s shoes, which are understandably hard to fill. Al Sagheer is going through a tough transition right now, where everything he had learned to do with his father, he has to do on his own and even more!

The confident Al Sagheer is ready to take this leadership challenge head-on but more importantly, he’s taking it with love and passion, just like his late father taught him. “My father was a very hardworking man. He never gave up – ever! It just wasn’t in his DNA. That was the lesson I learnt from him. He was also very charismatic and he led this brand with so much love. He was very hands-on with everything related to the brand and miraculously, he kept up with every single branch, making all our clients feel so special. He really turned Mohamed Al Sagheer, from a name and a person to a brand. I want to continue leading this company the same way he did, with love,” says Al Sagheer.
Al Sagheer, now CEO, is the first to admit that following in his father’s footsteps is a tough challenge and it took him a while to get the hang of working with his father, especially as a young man. As any father-son duo, they often argued and clashed and when business came into play, it was understandably tough at first for Al Sagheer Jr. “When I first graduated and started working with my father, I was obviously very stubborn and I still wanted to do something related to political science. We would argue and clash when it came to work but obviously he knew what he was doing, he’s a legend in this field. Eventually, with time and the more we got to work together, the more I started seeing his perspective and he started seeing mine and I learnt so much from him, more than I could’ve possibly imagined. Everything I learnt from him really made me ready to take over and do a good job as CEO,” he recalls.

With 24 branches across Egypt, Al Sagheer Salons is the largest beauty salon chain in Egypt. Making sure he maintains and nurtures what his father has built, places him under immense pressure, not only from the people around him but more importantly, from himself. “It’s a tough challenge, I’m not going to lie. It’s been hard not having him here. It’s also taken a toll on my family life because I can’t be with my family as much as before. I haven’t been a great family man recently, I have three boys and we’re currently expecting my fourth child, so it’s hard not being there for them as much as I was before. But they know it’s temporary, at least during this first year, until I develop a routine and get things on track personally. We’re currently revamping the salons administratively and I want the brand to evolve and grow, not just to continue succeeding at a steady pace,” exclaims Al Sagheer, who describes himself as an ambitious person who loves a good challenge!

Over the past few decades, Al Sagheer Salons has solidified its position as Egypt’s go-to destination for all beauty needs. Starting as a hair salon, the brand expanded into skincare and cosmetics, as well as retail for high-end beauty products. The brand constantly introduced new trends in the fast-paced beauty world, the latest being the introduction of pop-up stores and beauty trucks for on-the-go touch-ups at important film festivals and other major glamourous events. “The first thing I did was to start hiring young people with a passion for the industry who are good at what they do. These administrative changes were necessary to match how the industry has developed in recent years. This helps us improve and catch up with the trends that change frequently. The industry is not as small as it once was. It’s expanding at a rapid pace because of social media and we need to expand with it,” he explains.

Looking ahead, Al Sagheer says the sky’s the limit when it comes to expanding the brand. He is determined, not only to carry on his father’s legacy but to improve on it and expand it beyond limits. “I want to expand on what my father started and eventually lead it towards heights it has never reached before. There is still so much to do with the company and there is so much room for expansion. The industry encompasses so many fields now and we need to be the top in each one in order to keep up and continue succeeding. I want to build a real empire with Al Sagheer. We’re currently integrating the trends of 2021 with what we stand for and are known for while expanding even more. This is what has kept our clients loyal for so many years. They feel like they know us personally and that we know them and that’s incredibly important to Al Sagheer’s success. I have to keep up this personal realtionship that my father built with our clients. Our clients know that at the salon, they’re not just clients, they’re family.”