Sisters Bazar – Our Entrepreneur Women of today.
Saturday 9th April was a day London Muslim Centre hosted a sisters Bazar, in aid of raising funds for Syria. Now there is no need to explain why there was a need to raise money for Syria, so I will leave it at that; May Allah make it easy for the people of Syria in this difficult time. Ameen.
In2mate Nights made the FIRST ever appearance in public at this event. Yes, I was a lone stranger going to the event, with a belly full of butterflies but reminding myself it is for a worthy cause.
Come morning, I was rushed like mad and with the support of my husband set up the stall at East London Mosque. Was pretty pleased with the set up we had worked so hard on – banner up, table set, petals, candles, price cards and the lingerie ready to be viewed on the rails.
11am.. I sat there – nervous as ever – thinking OMG have I really brought something which is such a taboo topic in the Muslim community, to the HEART of the East London Muslims – The masjid! Desperately trying to build up courage I took some vids on our Instagram/ Facebook to get some support.
I thought back to those negative comments I had first received on social media and how hard it was to deal with yet I could hide behind the online screen – How would I deal with that to my face?
“Assalamualaykum, I am so glad you came! I actually asked the sister to please put my stall right near you!”
Those first words of the day from a complete stranger (at the time) was something I will never forget. A sister with her own silver jewellery stall approached me after frantically but with so much care had set up her stall. After a short conversation, I was boosted to give it my best!
I won’t lie – It wasn’t all FANTASTIC from minute one – NO; of course not! I mean this is a brand new concept – and our Muslim women didn’t know how to react to begin with! But It didn’t take long for the sisters to pluck up the courage and come view the lingerie I had on view and have really in depth conversations with me – all of whom really appreciated that this now finally existed!
LESSON 1: Never give up!
What started as a sleepless night and just a bag full of nerves, ended with a HUGE drive to keep going and continue to bring In2mate Nights to the forefront of the lingerie world!
I was just itching to see the stalls with all the wonderful things on sale! It was like being a child at a candy store… the delicious smells of the hot spicy food, the sweet aroma of chocolate – the bold, bright colours of saris, hijabs and abayas – the bling of the jewellery stands and the uniquely packaged hand made goods! 50 stalls of just pure talent!
When it was quiet, I did a quick stroll around; one sister was selling handmade face creams and serums. Yes, HANDMADE! She spent time to create this cream and package it in beautiful bottles. Spoke to many sisters in the fashion world – every stall different from the other. Just a quick walk around and I was in awe at the talent in one room.
I sat back down at my stall and tried to recollect the conversations I had – teachers, social workers, counsellors, fitness therapists and University students – all managing their day jobs and lives as well as aiming to succeed as powerful business women.
What made my jaw drop furthermore was when I realised so many of these women were MOTHERS. Yes, women who had Jannah lying under their feet for their children were working their little feet off to be the best they can be!
LESSON 2: Patience, perseverance and hard work – a non stop game!
This was my very first bazar, and half way through I was shattered. Some of the women were doing this all weekend; whilst managing their home – they never know if they are going to make huge sales but they keep going.
Being a success won’t happen overnight... time for me to REALLY buckle down.
So, refuelled myself with a delicious kebab roll and couldn’t resist the chocolate cupcake from another stall – geared myself up with more motivation from these amazing Muslim business women.
I no longer saw them as Muslim sisters - But empowered female entrepreneurs!
I began to get more and more women coming and speaking to me; not just taking my business card, but asking questions, asking for advice, asking about lingerie and why I started this all. Building that relationship, I shared a lot of my stories and reasons, not realising how similar it was to the lives of the women I was talking to.
Many young women, who were preparing to enter the world of marriage asked lots of questions – and I could sense some of the fear and worries they had. Alhamdulillah it was an amazing feeling to be able to put their minds at ease and making sure they knew that if there was anything else – here is a place to come!
Finally end of the day, I realised something far greater than anything – MY PASSION!
Lesson 3: LOVE what you do!
It didn’t just feel like a business selling lingerie – it reminded me of why I started this – Why did I love this? I wanted to serve a purpose for our Muslim Community – a huge missing gap – a gap that revolves round the BIGGEST decision of our lives – marriage!
Do I love what I do?
YES, I DO!
So my message to all the women I spent the day with – both at the stalls and women at the bazar; THANK YOU! In your own ways, you have made me learn so much that books, webinars or courses can not provide.
My dua for you all –
The empowered, confident Muslim woman you are; I love the passion you have for what you do and life itself; yet there is still a small part within the Muslim community, where this taboo topic of intimacy is hidden away and almost made to feel forbidden...
it’s time for you to show that confidence and passion where it matters the most; your marriage.
Success is stronger with your partner, be loved, feel loved and everything else will fall into place, inshaAllah.
And he created you in pairs…