My Muslim Mums in Business series focus’s on inspirational Muslim women, who are balancing the art of motherhood along with running businesses.
Please introduce yourself and your business.
I’m Umm Khalid from Atlanta, Georiga USA. I hand paint wooden Islamic dolls. They are available in all skin tones, genders and cultures. I also personalize the dolls to look like your own family!
What inspired you to start working from home? Did anyone in particular inspire you?
It was at the urging of my family that I decided to take a go at selling my dolls online. I was quite nervous at first and unsure of the process but I had some amazing support and help from many sisters, particularly Nazima (Nutrition by Nazima), barakallahu feeha.
Where did the idea of personalised dolls come from?
My daughter! She requested a Muslim doll for Eid last year and after having spent time and money on many other Muslim looking dolls in the past, I was looking for something different. By chance, I came across peg dolls online and realized I could just make the Muslim dolls myself. And better yet, I could make the exact doll she wanted – clothing style, favorite colors, etc. Then my son asked for some “boy dolls” to look like him and before I knew it, I was making a couple dozen dolls that looked like our entire extended family!
Are your family supportive of you being a working mother?
Honestly, the only way I can be at a work at home mother, by the Mercy of Allah, is with the support of my family. My husband and children have been my biggest fans since day one and I try to include them in all my business decisions. I frequently consult my kids for inspiration and ideas. After all, they are my target audience!
What are the main challenges you face as a mum and an entrepreneur?
The number one main challenge is balancing work and home life, all while trying to work from home. Over time, I have learned to create boundaries to better separate these two aspects of my life. It is absolutely crucial to stay organized and manage time, so as to be fair to both my family and the customers. I still struggle with this, as I think most work at home mothers do, but alhamdulillah its a work in progress.
Describe a typical working day. Are there specific times in the day that you work on your business?
I don’t think any day of mine is “typical” lol . I homeschool my 4 young children so our schedules are flexible and mostly unplanned. I try my best not to paint or attend to orders during the day and reserve that time for my family, teaching and other personal obligations. The evening hours, after kids are tucked away in bed, is the best time for me to get work done.
What are the pros and cons about being a working mum from home?
The biggest pro for me is the flexibility of schedule. There are some days where the kids just need more of my attention or I just want a slow day at home, then I can do that, alhamdulillah. There are no clock-in times or dress codes to abide by. And of course, being your own boss is very appealing. I don’t have to seek someones permission or approval to try out a new idea; if I like it, I can try it out. If a project or idea just doesn’t make me happy, I can toss it and try something else. On the flip side of that, one of the biggest cons is the lack of socialization as a work at home mom. I think mothers have a hard enough time finding ways to be social, and working from home makes it even harder. There is no opportunity to meet people “in the office” when your office may very well be your living room. Its not impossible, but it’s a lot harder.
On your toughest days, what helps keep you motivated?
A huge motivation for me is the reviews and feedback from customers. I hear deeply personal stories about the dolls being used by school psychologists, as new baby announcements or , like it was my for my children, a doll that looks like them or their family and how much joy that brings to them. It means so much to me that they are happy with the product. It makes those all-nighters worth it!
Where would you like to see your business in the future?
I would love to expand my products to Islamic educational toys and tools. Everything from learning Arabic to Islamic concepts, all using hand painted wooden toys.
I notice you are selling on Etsy…any plans for a website?
It is something I hope to have in the future inshallah. But as a new brand, I am trying to keep things simple and stick to Etsy for now.
Any more products in the pipeline?
Yes, alhamdulillah! So many project ideas, so little time! I don’t want to give any surprises away, but there is a really fun collaboration with another extremely talented sister that should be available for Eid ul Adha, insha’allah. Stay tuned!
What advice would you give to mums considering taking the step of being a working mum?
I would tell other moms to stay confident and positive, and be prepared for making many mistakes. There’s no better way to learn how to do things, until you first mess up a few times. Say bismillah, and do it!
JazakAllah Khair to sister Umm Khalid for taking the time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions! You can find her on Instagram and on Etsy.
If you are a muslim mum with a business and would like to feature then drop me a message in sha Allah.