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The men’s grooming brand born in a Saudi Arabia kitchen

Words by Rob Chilton

Like his beard, Waseem Sendi’s Diggn’It range is all about growth

Diggn’It was co-founded by Waseem Sendi, his wife and partner, Samya Fetyani, and partner Layal Ismail. Sendi spoke to EDGAR about the mistakes he made and where he got the name from.

When did you first start using beard products - and why did you find them disappointing?

My brother suggested I start applying oil to my beard in 2014 when I first let it grow out. Ordering beard oil in Saudi Arabia was a pain, it took weeks to arrive, and sometimes it never arrived at all. I started making my own for personal use and it made sense at that point to make more for the community.

The brand was born out of the community

Were you really in your kitchen making products?

You bet I was. The house constantly smelled of oil and we converted one of the bedrooms into a mini-warehouse. We even got a hot plate so we could make it in the office and save the kitchen for more traditional experiences like cooking and preparing meals.

Did you have any experience in making grooming products?

My background is in science, so I was very comfortable in a lab-type setting, but I never made grooming products before.

Was it daunting?

I like to start something by not knowing about it, since it gives me room to grow. One of our partners, Layal, is a chemical engineer and she was instrumental in bringing a lot of technical expertise to the process.

Starter kit for guys

How successful were your first attempts?

Initially, we made over 50 different samples with various scents and formulations. I took them everywhere and got feedback. Some of them didn’t smell very enjoyable, some of them were quite heavy, and some of them had colour issues. But having a lot of samples meant that only one or two needed to work.

You must have made a lot of mistakes – what was the worst?

I am the kind of guy that runs ahead before I had a chance to think and learn what was the best option. For instance, in 2015 I set up a website that was only in English, and couldn’t be translated, which of course was pointless considering the primary language of our audience is Arabic. I had to rebuild the whole website on a different platform. The best thing about mistakes is that they teach you something you didn’t know before – you don’t learn anything from getting it right the first time.

What’s the essential product that you use every day?

I’m addicted to Beard Balm. I love beeswax and shea butter as they soften and seal in moisture to keep my beard in a little spa-like environment.

Misk beard oil

What’s your favourite scent in the range?

I have been a Misk man for so long, I just love the freshness and versatility. But in the last year, I can’t get enough of Smoke & Pine.

Where did you get the name Diggn’It from?

I think the name found us. When an Arab man starts growing his beard he begins to get a lot of comments that aren’t entirely positive. One day my wife and partner Samya posted a picture of us online and someone commented on my appearance. My wife responded, ‘Why? I’m digging it!’. She looked up at me and we said, ‘That’s the name!’ Diggn means beard in our Hejazi dialect of Arabic, and digging it was how we felt about the whole thing, so we ran with it.

If you were to start a small business again tomorrow, what key thing would you do differently?

I would set bigger goals. When I started Diggn’It I was trying something new, a venture to share a positive message of self-care. A big limitation is how far you can dream into the future. I would expand my timelines and behave as if there is no way other than forward. Self-doubt is very common and kills ambition, and I think now I wouldn’t be afraid of taking bigger swings at things. I truly believe the limit is only in your mind.

Waseem Sendi

Are you ever tempted to shave off your beard?

I did it once on the spur of the moment in 2014 after growing it for six months and regretted it immediately. I learned my lesson that day and I am no longer tempted to shave my beard off. I’d feel like two little lips and eyebrows – I need the balance.

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