Here is what Rasheedah of Noorah Gifts has to say about how she started the gift shop, the challenges she encountered, what she learnt along the line and lastly a note or two for other budding creatives.
I started Noorah Gifts back in 2015 after deciding to pursue my passion for creating unique Gifts inspired by faith. I had tried a few businesses before this so the concept of selling items online was not new to me.
I ended up closing the other businesses after a while but with Noorah Gifts everythjng just flowed naturally. I really enjoyed creating different items and the response I received was very encouraging. Initially it was supposed to be a hobby business; something to keep my mind engaged and to help out with a few bits around the house financially.
However after investing so much time and energy into it, I realised that the sky was really the limit and there was nothing stopping me from taking it to the next level.
It's been one of the most exciting things I've ever done! Alhamdulilah. It's been an absolute honour to create hundreds of items for people all over the world to gift to those who they care about.
It's such a wonderful feeling to know that something I've made currently resides in a city or a land that I may never visit.
The journey has been alot of fun and smiles. I absolutely love what I do and it has brought me so much joy by God’s grace.
On a personal note, I'm so grateful for the priceless lessons and mindset skills that I've gained through putting myself out there. I've been forced to work on my weaker character traits through stepping out of my comfort zone.
I've learnt so much about myself, human psychology, faith and what works and doesn't work in terms of online selling. I've learnt the importance of setting clear boundaries for yourself and for others. I've also been fortunate to experience the kindness of so many people. It fills my heart with hope to know that the world still has a lot of good people and people who genuinely want to support small businesses.
When I first started I wasn't entirely sure of what direction I wanted to go in. I knew I was a born creative but I didn't know exactly how to turn that creativity into something that could benefit others and myself.
I also had limited funds and limited knowledge in terms of product creation. With time, I researched and learnt all about these things.
One of my biggest personal challenges was confidence and believing in myself. I come from a background where creativity isn't glorified as much as academics and so this subconscious limiting belief seeped into the way I viewed my talent and the way I marketed myself as well as the prices I charged. I felt "bad" for enjoying crafting so much and although I knew I was incredibly good at it, I didn't think it was "all that" so to speak.
After doing some internal work, I was able to identify where my lack of confidence came from. Thankfully I was able to overcome that mind block and ever since then I've really been enjoying charging my worth.
Along with doing some internal work, I have really come to understand the importance of investing in relationships that encourage you to be the person you want to be. Whether that is with friends or family. Your friends and family are usually your first point of call whenever you have an issue in your business.
I'm fortunate to have family and friends who tell me the truth even when I don't want to hear it. They encourage me to be reflective in my business practices. They encourage me to think big. Even when I feel like being relaxed about certain things they never allow me to slack. My closest friends and family are my support system. I use the word "invest" in relationships because it's important to make sure that the support that your circle gives you is reciprocated.
I have absolutely no regrets. I only did what I believed and knew to be correct at the time; although looking back, I know that I made plenty of mistakes. But if there's one thing I could do differently, I really wished that I had believed in myself sooner. I would have saved myself a lot of anxiety and burnt out episodes.
Lol.. let me make sure my husband isn't reading this. Lol
This has been another challenge for me. Honestly speaking it is something that I will probably always have to work on. Life is about balance and the thing about maintaining a balanced lifestyle is that you constantly have to keep working on it... some days you'll do alright and some days you won't. I make a conscious effort to remind myself that my family come first. (Although sometimes it can be difficult to stop working).
My husband has been sooo incredibly patient and I recognise that I am fortunate to be married to a man who sees my success as his success. Alhamdulilah. Although we don't always see eye to eye on the way I do things.
I have learnt that there are blessings in working together, so whenever he is unhappy about certain choices that I'm planning to make, I either try my best to convince him or I don't do it. (I'm not sure why but I've come to see that whenever there isn't unity in the decisions we make as a couple things hardly work out).
My 2 kids have literally grown up on crafting and seeing me make stuff. I think it's had a positive impact on them. They have a brilliant imagination MashaAllah and they know that nothing in life comes for free. Whenever possible, I try to get them as involved as possible. It hasn't always been easy but now that they are older they have their own set routines which I work around.
Teaching has always been one of my passions. Before I started Noorah Gifts I was a secondary school Maths teacher. I love to learn and share anything that I find useful so it was only natural to teach what I curently do.
In 2019 I did my first ever live masterclass. It was a 4 hour session where I showed how I create a few of the items which I sell. The attendees were also given a pack of craft items to create their own pieces.
Some went on to start their own crafting ventures and I'm so honoured to be a part of their journey. Shortly after that, I launched an online version of the crafting masterclass. I also have a private instagram page where I share the more detailed behind the scenes aspects of my business.
It is my hope that it will serve as a way of giving back to others. As with most things in life; it takes time and revision to get things right. The online masterclass is currently being revised so I can be sure that I am providing the best online crafting course out there.
More details will be announced once the course has been re launched.
- Going forward, what are your longterm plans and advice to upcoming creatives.
In a nutshell, no one is born knowing it all. You will never know how something will turn out unless you try. Make informed decisions, never stop researching and don't stop learning new things.
Mistakes are inevitable, I've worked with so many companies that are much bigger than mine and they still make mistakes every now and again. No one is perfect. But at the same time it's important to work on making your mistakes as few as possible.
Not every idea will amount to something. Ive had many ideas that have not worked out. Things that I have invested in that have not amounted to much. I don't see them as failures, I see them as lessons and I'm glad I have those experiences because I now know what doesn't work for me and why.
If you truly truly believe in an idea that you have, you should really just go for it. At some point you will also have to mute all the voices around you (even those of the people who you trust) and listen to your inner voice. Only you know what you are capable of.
Your vision is unique to you and it is a gift. It's yours to gift to the world. The best part is; whatever you have been called to do in this world will always be made easy for you.
Gratitude is key. No matter what results from you following your dreams, always remember that anything good which comes your way is simply from the favour of God Almighty - To Him belongs all praise and thanks.