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.
Salaam! I’m Karishma, a home-schooling mama of four. Over lockdown, I decided to teach my kids about entrepreneurship and set up mypraisebeads.
We make stunning tasbihs using semi-precious stones. Every piece is handcrafted by the kids – they are involved in all aspects, including the design, photography, setting up the website and dealing with customers. We live in Saudi, but we have limited stock available for sale in the UK, via our website.
What makes your business different from your competitors?
My kids are the heart and soul of our business. I think their input makes us distinctive, as do our tasbihs. Take a look and I think you will find they are truly unique in their design, the crystals we use and even the way we tie the tasbihs! Alhamdulillah, people love them – many have said they are like jewellery – we now even have a range of necklace tasbihs.
What inspired you to start working from home? Did anyone, in particular, inspire you?
I’d always toyed with the idea of a small business for the kids, a hands-on way of teaching them. But I had no idea what that venture might be! Then, whilst I was looking for an Eid gift for my husband, I knew exactly what I wanted to buy, a Lapis Lazuli tasbih. Not just any tasbih, but something that looked great. Something that would make him say, wow! But I couldn’t find anything that was actually a reasonable price. And that’s where it started. We bought some beads with the intention of making gifts, made them and discovered a whole new creative outlet!
How are you finding working with your children? Is the whole family involved and supportive?
Alhamdulillah, I’m really enjoying working with the children, and I definitely couldn’t do this without them! I think the whole experience has really taught us about each other’s strengths – things that we might not have noticed otherwise. It’s also a great opportunity to give the kids some responsibility, especially the older children. My 14-year-old has taken charge of the website, photography, and accounting, whilst my 12-year-old manages all our Arabic speaking customers and is taking on more and more of the social media and marketing. My 9-year-old and 5-year-old handcraft the tasbihs.
What are the main challenges you face as a mum and an entrepreneur?
It has certainly been a learning curve. Nothing (even putting beads on a string) is as easy as it looks. But the most difficult thing has definitely been to keep everyone motivated! After an initial buzz, it is now overwhelming if there is too much work to do or things are not going quite as planned!
Describe a typical working day. Are there specific times in the day that you work on your business?
We have to fit in work alongside our studies. Like anything, doing small amounts consistently adds up. So each day we set aside a little time to work on the business. Quran and secular studies are still our main focus, and so those actually get done first in the day. We tend to work on the business at the end of the day unless of course, we have urgent orders to tend to.
What are the pros and cons about being a working mum from home? On your toughest days, what helps keep you motivated?
The biggest pro is definitely flexibility. We adapt our schedule to suit our priorities, so we take on less work when we have exams, or plan ahead and front load work when we know we will be on holiday. Working from home means I can enjoy the challenge of working, whilst being present for my kids. But it also means work can take over my life. Our living room is often overtaken by beads, but it will be worth it, in sha Allah!
The desire to make this a success for my children is encouraging in itself. One of the main things I’d like to instil in my children is a desire for high standards, and to try their best. But if I’m not motivated, I can hardly expect the kids to be!
Feedback from our customers also helps to stay motivated – it’s great when they love them, and especially when they make dua for us to be rewarded in turn for the dhikr they make. A friend recently asked us to work on a set of tasbihs for her family, using beads from a broken tasbih of sentimental value. I know how much this meant to her, and seeing beautiful pieces made her so happy. Her father is visually impaired, so we made sure he would be able to feel the difference between the beads and she chose a perfume vial pendant for him – these can be filled with perfume and give an amazing scent! May Allah bless her and her family. Ameen.
Where would you like to see your business in the future?
I would love this to be a success for my children – to give them the confidence to go for it when they have an idea in sha Allah. It would be amazing to grow our business in the UK market and see where it can go, for people to recognise and trust our brand.
What advice would you give to mums considering taking the step of being a working mum?
I guess I would say; first, think about your “Why?” What are your intentions? And what is holding you back? Once you’ve explored that, do istikhara. All being well, say bismillah and trust in Allah! If you don’t try it, you will never know!
These Praise Beads are beautiful.
It’s wonderful to hear about other mums making a go of things with a great business. x
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