Sumaya Abdi recently took over as the owner of Suds, after former owner Claudia left town for a brief period, and has quickly become something of a pillar of the community. Only last weekend she helped organize the fundraiser for the Central Virginia Land Conservancy in honor of our newly elected mayor, Vishaal Khuran, where gift packages from Suds could also be enjoyed by the guests to take home.
Miss Abdi, who is the embodiment of a promising young entrepreneur, is freshly arrived from her homeland Somalia, where she also runs the non profit Rajo foundation, which we will return to in a later part of our story. When asked to describe Suds to our reporter she is keen to let us know that there is not one word that can describe Suds, but that it is a place where people can go to find products to indulge in a bit of self-spoiling, in relaxation. She states that she wishes for people who come into the shop to feel not just like customers, but like family, and that her store promotes products that let people feel good about themselves.
Although Miss Abdi is by no means a newcomer to the world of business, retail of beauty and self care products is a new adventure for her. It is a challenge, however, that she is taking on head first, with the attitude of “if you have the proper skill set, nothing is beyond your grasp.”
When asked why she is now taking up this new endeavor, which is indeed not something she has done before, she is quick to talk about how it all comes down to her wanting to contribute to and grow the local community. The close knit community of Clifton Forge reminds her of her own home, and has made her realize that she doesn’t just want to shop to contribute to it, but take a more active role. So when she learned that Suds was looking for a new owner, she jumped at the chance. And with Suds being “a place where people go to and feel happy when they leave” she tells us: “who would not wish to be part of that?”
Venturing further into the community side of her new enterprise, Sumaya shares with us how parts of her proceeds go back to local charities, her recent sale of Pride related products being an example of this. She also looks locally when sourcing products, and searches for those who are interested in selling their range with nowhere to do so. If someone want to try to sell what they make, Suds would look into renting out a shelf for them in the store for a small amount of money. Of course, Suds also make their own products out of locally sourced raw materials. Not, she presses, to save money, but to stay local, without any part of the proceeds going off to some big company with no interest in the Clifton Forge community.
When sourcing their products and materials, Sumaya and her staff make sure to not only source locally, but as environmentally friendly as possible, too. And not only that, but all their ingredients are natural, too.
Besides the products being put through necessary tests to prove their safety for usage, Suds staff also try them out themselves to be able to provide certain product reviews and assure their customers their products are safe. And although their processes of testing might take a little more time than what is ordinary for big chains, Miss Abdi ensures that none of their products are ever tried out on animals and that no shortcuts will be taken when it comes to testing their products. Only the highest quality products end up on their shelves.