Thursday, April 7, 2011

Muslim Womenpreneurs article

Women showcase businesses at Bazaar

Sampling. Amal Alsadek shows customers her products during the Muslim Womenpreneurs Bazaar held yesterday at the Anatolia Islamic Centre. Photo by Claudio Cugliari
Puneet Parhar
April 3, 2011

The Muslim Womenpreneurs Bazaar at the Anatolia Islamic Centre, yesterday, gave several Muslim women across Mississauga, who own and operate small businesses from their homes, their first opportunity to make introductions to the community at large.
“I wanted to create support for minority women who feel shy to go out there and make sales,” said Ibtissam Sebbahi, founder of the event and a Milton mother of three, who owns Jasmin Jewels.
Sebbahi decided to give Muslim women a means of advertising that they could afford, after she realized that her own small business could not afford the cost of renting a table at large trade shows such as the Suhaag Wedding, Fashion and Lifestyle show in Toronto.
She browsed through several online directories like for the names of small business owners like herself. “I searched for them,” said Sebbahi, who worked the phones, calling the women one by one to invite them to participate in a local bazaar.
By the time the flyers went out, Sebbahi had already filled 90 per cent of the available spaces in the bazaar, which consisted of several tables set up around the lower level of the Islamic Centre. She was ultimately forced to create a waiting list of over 20 local business owners.
Abeer Qita of Canadian Smile Clinics explained why the bazaar is so popular. “Nowadays, a lot of women do not want to put their children in daycare, and so they look for jobs inside their homes, they want to generate incomes from their homes, with low investment.”
The bazaar represents an opportunity to do business for vendors like Sadia Khan, a fashion designer and clothing importer, who added that  “women don’t have the resources at home” to put themselves out there.
Sebbahi said she was also motivated by a desire to showcase Muslim women offering services, since the usual local bazaars singularly display clothes and jewellery.
She limited the number of clothing vendors to four each in the Arab and Pakistani communities in order to challenge a misperception that “Muslim women do not contribute, and that when they do, they do clothes and stay inside the community.”
Dania Obaidi displayed the paintings of some of her art students and offered registration to the art courses she teaches from her home. Qita performed a teeth whitening service, while May Dajani of Abjad Educational Resources, which sells Arabic language books to teachers in the Peel Language Resources program, explained how to use the “speaking Koran,” which recites and explains the origin of each verse aloud to users.
“A womenpreneur is a chance for ladies to express themselves and come out of their ‘shells’,” said Khadija Youssef, Women Service Coordinator at Community Microskills Development Centre, which provides settlement and employment services. “We need to show that we are not just here to co-exist.”
Noseiba Rifi, a mother and Mississauga native, said the usual bazaar fare consists of hijabs and abayas. “I was happy to see a sister doing homeopathic medicine, and another sister doing a “Sisters” magazine!” she said. "I’m still looking for a hairdresser though!”


  1. Assalaamu aleikum sis
    JAK for posting this... I wanted to go but was feeling sick last weekend and didn't go anywhere :-( Looks like it was a great event, I hope it becomes a regular thing in sha Allah!

  2. Wa Alaikum salaam

    Wa iyaki.
    My daughter says they are planning to have another one on the last night of Ramadan insha Allah.

  3. Last night of Ramadan?? why?? DD's school once did a henna party the night before Eid (can't remember which Eid it was, al-Fitr or al-Adha) and it turned out to be not such a good idea time-wise, too many others things to be done for Eid prep...

  4. Salam alaykom,

    Mashallah...wonder if they have something similar here....would love to attend and support these women. My sister and I are hoping to start something together.

  5. Asalaamu Alaikum Huda

    I don't know why they chose that day and I think its not a good idea either. I read that some women stay up for hours cooking on that night to prepare for eid. I probably wouldn't be able to come either.

    Wa alaikum Salaam Qiyama

    You should look around. Maybe you could be the first to start it.