Thursday, 10 July 2014

Ramadan Journal 2014, Day 12 – We Are Almost 1.

Alhamdhulilah.  AZ and I were surprised at first, and rejoiced later when we received a letter on the yearly renewal for our business. We didn’t really realise that our ‘fairly new business’ is  turning one in about two months.

We both remember clearly. Our dream on starting up our ‘Al-Barakah Abayas’ online store was conceived in Ramadan last year. Masha-Allah.

We registered our business around September and October. AZ and I did all the ground work and tried our best to get in our first batch of stocks by Eid ul Adha last year. Our orders reached us a few weeks later. Actually before that, our heat press machine arrived. AZ has been experimenting on this, on and off, now and has made two pretty abayas for me.

We would like to move into customising abayas for our sisters in the future. Working towards that, AZ is still exploring with design ideas, various types of rhinestones, and suppliers. We will market the concept when he is ready. In-Shaa-Allah. 

 The abaya that is getting worked on by the machine is a sample – AZ created that design from scratch on a plain, black abaya. I had asked for pink rhinestone works and there he is, at work. 

We must have launched our business in December (I think!). In our pursuit of bringing on, “Elegance… With Modesty”…(our tagline)

So, that makes it almost a year now since we made the niyyah (intention) to start an online business to bring elegant, affordable abayas to our sisters here.

Thank you, Ya Rabb, for making this possible for us, and we also thank many other people who have walked with us on this journey.

Our Parents – For believing in us and praying for our success in every single step that we take that and every dream that we pursue, every moment. And my Mum and Dad’s word-of-mouth marketing and handing out of our namecards at all the weddings, functions, market places, and all other places (you name it), they went to. They still do too.

My Brother – For spreading the word among his friends and colleagues. It always brings a smile to my face whenever I hear him say, “Kakak saya dan Brother-in-Law saya jual ini…(My Sister and Brother-in-Law are selling these...)” over the phone to his Malay friends. Oh yes, and for being my very patient Malay to English translator on our customers’ messages and enquiries on Facebook, whatsapp, etc. And occasionally trying to help AZ with photo-taking with our abayas but giving up after our mannequin proves too challenging for him.

Friends and Colleagues – Muslims and non-Muslims alike, these people in our lives have been very sweet and have motivated, supported us right from day one. And still are, with suggestions, on how we can improve, etc.

iMentor Training Academy – When we prayed for a name for our business, AZ and I asked for a name that will give us lots of barakah. And Allah (S.W.T) pointed us to ‘Al-Barakah Abayas’. The first Facebook friend we made once we set up the ‘Al-Barakah Abayas’ Facebook account was Sister Mariam and she introduced us to the iMentor journey. And through that, Sister Ruzie’s invaluable friendship. And then, AZ and I went on to our iMentor journey, and are learning new things through Sister Suria’s priceless coaching. While AZ and I must admit, we must be more pro-active in practicing what we bring home from all the training! In-Shaa-Allah.

Our Suppliers – We have worked with a number of suppliers now. And we thank all of them for the experiences – the difficult ones who taught us patience, and the patient and accommodating ones who taught us gratitude.

Our Customers – Both offline and online. For believing in us, and our products and our services. We thank you for all brothers and sisters for your  feedback, enquiries, words of encouragement, and some really kind-hearted sisters who have also recommended services they have benefitted from.

We also take this opportunity to seek forgiveness if we have hurt anyone in the course of our business or otherwise.

And we make lots of duas for everyone. Please keep us in your duas too.

(P.S. there will be lil preview of what we have in store this evening on Facebook. We will start uploading our humble Eid stocks tmw, In-Shaa-Allah).

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