Category Archives: Mompreneur

Tips For The Online Momprenuer

By Mona Ismaeil

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I started my online business with my husband in 2010. I can’t believe it’s been that long!  Elhamdulillah it has been a success and although it took a long time to get off the ground, it was worth the effort. When I chose to stay home with Manessa in 2013, knowing I had Modern Hejab to occupy my time as well as provide financial support for my family made that decision easier.

It was not easy at first and I would be lying if I said that an online business is easy – it is not! Although you aren’t opening up a store with long working hours, it is equally difficult but in a totally different way.  Online selling gives flexibility and you can reach customers from all over the world, but there is far more competition for you which means you really have to know what you’re doing.  Here are some tips to help make your endeavour a bit easier.

Know Your Product

When you decide what you want to sell, it must be something you really understand. You must be a product expert in order to be able to successfully sell it to others. Potential customers feel more comfortable buying when they feel like the seller knows everything about that item. For example, I sell hijabs. That means I must know everything and anything about hijab. That means fabrics, what’s good for each face shape, styling, washing, drying, EVERYTHING!

Know Your Selling Platform

There are so many places you can sell your product, you need to choose which one is best for your type of business, your commitment and your budget.

Amazon: www.amazon.com

Great platform which can help you to move a great deal of product. Requires a big commitment as they have strict rules for images, postings, communication with customers. Also it is a great deal of effort to set up. You have to know how to play by the rules! Also, they have Amazon fees which takes a chunk out of your profit.

Etsy: www.etsy.com

Fantastic site especially for handmade items . There is a certain culture that goes along with Etsy which lends well to more expensive handmade items. The only thing to consider is you have to pay $0.20 per listing per month. You’ll be investing into keeping the listing up whether or not you’re selling.

Ebay: www.ebay.com / www.ebay.ca

This site is easy to set up and can be great for selling but there is very high competition as you can have sellers from all over the world. Your prices needed to be very low in order to compete.

Your own website

It is always great to have your own site as long as you know how to drive traffic to it. Your website will not just show up on google on its own. You will need to put some effort into marketing and SEO. Also, the design and set up will take time.

Facebook

This is probably your easiest option for setting up a selling space. It has the least amount of effort when it comes to set up. Be sure to make a PAGE, not a GROUP. You will have to set up some sort of payment system which you can do through PayPal.  You will have to do some work in getting followers and engaging them to keep them not only interested but so that you continue to show up on their feed.

Know Your Competition

If you sell jewellery, you must be knowledgeable of all the other jewellery sellers as well in your style, price range and location (city and country). In the online world, you are not only competing with the store across the street, you are competing with every online store across the WWW. This means you need to step up your game when it comes to products, promotions and marketing.

Know your Customer

This takes time but you must understand your customer base. The way you market to moms is different than you would teenage girls. If your product is good for different ages, genders, etc. you must really work hard to cater to all of those and market to their liking.

Remember You Are Still a Mom

I’m not a stranger to getting frustrated with Manessa because I’m trying to work and she’s nagging at me. We must remember that you and your business but work around your child’s needs not the other way around. We are first and foremost moms and developing a balanced schedule and life is tricky but you can do it! Your passion for your business and your family will be your greatest asset.

 

About the Author:

Mona Ismaeil is  the Associate Editor Muslimmoms.ca. She is also an elementary  teacher turned blogger and writer. Mona is the proud owner of Modern Hejab and stay-at-home mom to a sweet little girl. She loves to travel and see all the world has to offer with her family.

Are you an entrepreneur, or thinking of going that route? How do you manage your time to make sure that your business is as successful as your family life?

Kaamilah.ca: A Positive Approach to Business

By Iman Khan

Kaamilah Online

Entrepreneurship is synonymous to relentless hard work, enduring commitment, and immense dedication. It advertently comes with a series of spiraling highs as well as staggering lows. Our ability to handle these oscillations is directly proportional to our efficiency and productivity as a capable businessperson.

A little over seven months ago, I too bit the proverbial bullet to delve into the business world by becoming a part of Toronto-based, Kaamilah Boutique.

Kaamilah, translating to complete in Arabic, is the original luxury boutique for Muslim families in Canada. The concept opened its doors to the GTA community in the Fall of 2013. Farheen Khan, the vision extraordinaire and powerhouse behind this endeavour initiated the space to support and grow small businesses owned by enterprising Muslimahs.

Kaamilah has worked to provide a sociable platform to house brands and their craft under one roof. It is a collective effort that fosters sisterhood and positivity, and strives to function as a cooperative to assist with the growth of each individual business. With brands like The Craft Souk, The Olive Tree Soap Company, Kashkha, Dara Boutique, Smore Treats, Hafsa Creates, among others, Kaamilah hosts a dynamic team that lends creativity and resourcefulness to our community.

I have learned much from my association with Kaamilah and I hope that some of these lessons can also help aspiring Mompreneurs in our midst.

At Kaamilah, here are some ground rules and useful reminders we stand by to maintain a balanced approach:

Visualize positive scenarios

The power of the mind is immense. And you can leverage this attribute by occupying it with happy thoughts! Think up a vision of everything you hope to achieve, and your dream will unravel before you! For this reason, most successful entrepreneurs have vision boards that help them keep their eye on the ball and consequently, steer them to reach their set goals successfully.

Give of yourself to others

Always do well by your peers, guests and customers. Honesty is indeed the best policy. Be fair in all of your business dealings, and never hesitate to give useful advice, collaborate or offer a helping hand to someone in need, even if it means stepping out of your comfort zone to accommodate another.  A state of mind that is positive improves decision-making skills, and helps in better judgment.

Optimism is the attitude of the Believer

Meditate, perform Salah, immerse yourself in Dhikr and ask Allah SWT for His Help and Guidance, always. In good times, show gratitude and when in a fix, ask of Allah, fully knowing only He is capable of guiding us on the Right Path, setting right our wrongs, and the caretaker of our Rizq.

 Say Alhumdullilah – now, and always!

Be perpetual in your gratitude towards Allah SWT and everything that you have been bestowed with, and in the process watch your life transform for the better. Stay grounded in the face of success, and disappointments. A positive, grateful temperament is your mainstay to success in this life and the Hereafter. Always seek the smaller blessings that have been sent your way to rid yourself of self-pity and hopelessness. Remember, the Mercies of Allah are infinite!

Be a people magnet

The attitude of an optimist who focuses on solutions rather than problems, and seeks valuable opportunities in every situation – is contagious.  Surround yourself with those who make you happy and bring out the best version of you.

Exercise and spend meaningful, quality time with family and friends. There is no substitute for happy living than good health and a great support system.

With a little effort towards inculcating a vigorous and positive psyche towards your work, and life in general, you will find yourself lucky more often than not. Here’s to shining optimism!

About the author: 

Iman Khan is a new immigrant to Canada, and lives with her family in Mississauga, ON. She is the creative founder of hijabistas.net, and manages the online operations for luxury Muslim boutique – kaamilahonline.com

Mompreneur: Raana Smith of Silver Envelope

By Rumina Rizvi

Raana Smith of Silver Envelope

Raana Smith of Silver Envelope

Raana Smith began creating Islamic stationery products at the tender age of eight when she wrote Eid Mubarak  with a permanent black marker on a plain ribbon purchased at K-Mart. As a child of the 80′s, Raana longed for fun, classy ways to celebrate Muslim holidays and special occasions. Her love lasted into adulthood as she started designing greeting cards and printed ribbons for the two Eids.

People loved the gifts and cards they received so much that Raana started producing cards and ribbons in higher quantities to offer to her friends and family. Slowly, she added a product or two every year to much customer appreciation. In 2001, Raana started Silver Envelope.

Today, with a product line that includes greeting cards, invitations, wrapping paper and gift bags, scrapbook art, buttons, balloons, and much more, her hobby has turned into what something of a service to the Muslim community. Silver Envelope today employs people who work at their offices in Richmond, St. Louis, and Doha, Qatar.

Muslim Moms of Canada to talked to this enterprising lady as part of our Mompreneur series.

Silver Envelope

Can you please tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

I’m an American Muslim with a passion for design, Islamic Art and paper. I love any type of paper product–everything from paper cups to games and, of course, stationery. I was born in the early 70′s to a Pakistani mother and an American father. I grew up in a very small town in Virginia – we had cows in our back yard!

I found that I didn’t quite fit in to either culture and decided to just do my own thing, march to the beat of my own drum and make myself happy. I have a degree in Political Science and worked as a technical writer during the internet boom of the early 2000′s. I love traveling especially to Islamic historical sites. My favorite places so far have been Andalusia and Morocco.

How did you come up with this idea? What inspired you?

My father became Muslim before meeting my mother but we still visited our Christian relatives on traditional American/Christian holidays. Talk about a blending of cultures! I was exposed to both sets of holidays and enjoyed the fun and festiveness surrounding the Christian holidays. Ramadan and Eid didn’t have the same feeling for me but that could have been for several reasons. So, at the age of eight, I started making my own Eid ribbon–each Ramadan, I’d buy red satin ribbon at K-Mart, unroll it, write Eid Mubarak across the whole roll, and then use it to wrap gifts. I knew that we only had two holidays to celebrate and I wanted to make it a fun time for family.

After finishing college and moving to California with my husband, this idea struck me again. Wanting to make Ramadan and Eid special, and not wanting to use Christmas cards and decor, I set out to make a few cards and ribbons for our holidays. They were well received and so I added a product or two each year to see how they would do. What started out as a hobby and has now turned into a business with over 150 skus and operations in two countries. However, our goal has always been the same: Inspire and revive the Islamic spirit in people, especially our kids, through celebrations. It provides a sense of importance and being part of a bigger community.

Raana Smith

Is entrepreneurship for everyone? Were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming a Mompreneur?

I don’t know if entrepreneurship is for everyone. You have to be willing to take risks and realize that you may not get it right every time. I started the company in 2001 and didn’t welcome my son until 2010. I had a good 9 years of running the business without being a mom, but I run the company today the same way I did back then.

The biggest obstacles I faced were in the beginning, with the actual products. Tasteful cards and ribbons were not seen in the Muslim market. Nothing was! It took a little time for people to catch up with the idea and when they did, Alhamdulillah, the idea caught on!

What are the biggest challenges you face as a mompreneur?

I think every mom has a work/life balance struggle. My challenge these days is being self-aware and mindful of my time with my son. I don’t have as much time with him as I used to (because it’s the busy season) so when I am with him, I hide my phone and am present in the moment. I’m not tweeting photos or talking to other people, I’m just there with him playing, painting, or sword fighting like knights.

As a mompreneur, how do you approach risk taking? And how does being a mom factor into your decisions?

I approach risk taking full speed ahead. We have new ventures overseas and things are opening up for us, Alhamdulllah. How does being a mom factor in to things? My time is meticulously scheduled. From the time I drop him off at his pre-school to the time I leave to pick him up, I am focused 100% on work and making the best use of my time.

Is the profession personal? How do you keep a balance between home life and work life?

Again, I’m very focused and I do not socialize in the day while my son’s at school. I may go out with friends once or twice a month in the evenings. But once I’m on my own time, I try to make the most of it. While I’m with friends or family, I’m focused on them. It may be only a 30 minute visit with someone, but I try to make it a focused and fun time!

Raana Smith

What are you offering this festive season of Ramadan & Eid ?

We are very excited to offer our Party Kits for Ramadan and Eid. You can find them here. They include decorations, food kits (you add the goodies, we make them pretty), and even party activities like fanoos craft kits and a ‘pin the tail on the donkey’ inspired games.

And last but not the least, what advice can you give to other Mompreneurs?

If there’s something your passionate about, stick with it. Keep doing what you’re doing and never compromise on quality. Always make your intention to please Allah and you will be successful, Insha Allah.

We at Muslimmoms.ca wish her the very best for all her future ventures Insha Allah.

You can look through Silver Envelope’s Eid collection here. You can also ‘like’ their Facebook fanpage to stay posted on their latest offerings here.

Silver Envelope

 

About the author:

Mother to two wonderful kids, Rumina Rizvi works for an Islamic Education Academy, catering to a large community of Muslims, conducting Quranic and Islamic studies. She also works with New Muslim Care Halton Chapter for our New Muslim Revert brothers and sisters and feel sprivileged to be living in this part of world, learning and exploring knowledge of Deen and contributing to her community.