Muslim Mums in Business – As.You.Request (AYR)

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.

Assalamu alaikum. I’m Ayesha, a mother of four. I currently work in education part-time which I whole-heartedly love but my true passion lies in creativity. As.You.Request (AYR), my small business allows me to explore this.  At AYR, I focus on designing and creating personalised pieces with love. 

What makes your business different from your competitors?

As the name of my business suggests, each item really is as you request. So, if there’s something particular you want in your design we endeavour to deliver. When I had my first son 14 years ago, I searched high and low for Eid bodysuits and bodysuits to reflect our Pakistani heritage but these were non-existent. I remember having to create my own very basic Eid bodysuit for my now 7-year-old son when he was a baby as the only ones I could find were from American based businesses on Etsy.  At AYR I enjoy creating designs to fill these gaps, the ‘laadla/laadli’ bodysuit is my favourite.  

What inspired you to start working from home? Did anyone in particular inspire you?

This idea, focusing on personalised items had been bouncing around in my head for years. It was only during discussions with my sister and mum while I was on maternity leave a year ago that really pushed me to get started. Watching my mum work on her sewing creations when I was a teenager always inspired me to be in touch with my creative side too and she’s always been the most encouraging when I’ve shared my creations with her. My sister has worked on her own ventures with so much motivation and it’s really taught me not to overthink everything and to just go for it. 

Is your family supportive of you being a working mother?

Yes, they absolutely are! Of course, working on a creative business at home can get chaotic with four children and family life. The support of my husband is key and the children’s enthusiasm and feedback with my designs is invaluable. 

What are the main challenges you face as a mum and an entrepreneur?

I would say time management. A mother’s job is never done, as they say, so when you add into that a business venture and a career it really does get busy. A good, crazy busy! 

Describe a typical working day. Are there specific times in the day that you work on your business?

With the older children at school, I work on my designs mainly in the mornings when I’m feeling most inspired and the baby is napping. This gives me time to test them out and improve them. I also use this time to complete orders but flexibility and support is essential. There have been evenings I have spent working on orders with the help of the whole family. 

What are the pros and cons about being a working mum from home?

For me, to have something of my own that I’m passionate about brings me happiness. And to be able to work on that in the comfort of my home is even better. I also love how the children see me steadily improve and follow my interest, I hope it inspires them to do the same. As lovely as it is, working from home can make it difficult to differentiate your ‘work time’ from your ‘family time’, so ensuring good time organisation is vital. 

On your toughest days, what helps keep you motivated?

As my small business is very much in the early stages I try to keep focused on my long-term vision of building something my family and I can be proud of. This keeps me motivated. 

Where would you like to see your business in the future?

I’d like to continue to work on more personalised clothing designs for mums and children. I have some ideas up my sleeve that I hope to bring to fruition in the near future.  

What advice would you give to mums considering taking the step of being a working mum?

Go for it! 

Follow your passion, whatever that may be. You will love having something that is completely your own that you can take in whatever direction you desire. I also strongly believe it will serve as an inspiration to those around you, including your children. 

Thank you sister Ayesha for taking part in my series. If you’re interested in knowing more about her work, then visit her on social media: Instagram

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