Assaliamu aleikum Sisters!
The 1st post is finally here. September was a milestone for us – Annah Hariri is 3 years old… I remember when our FB page and website went live on the 1st September 2012 I wrote down all my ideas about AH project in order to cultivate them with time transforming into reality. One of the most important points on this list was writing a blog and highlighting every day life of Annah Hariri atelier. But this plan was hard to implement: I work full-time day job from 9 to 6 pm and have only 5 hours (till 12am) to share between my family and Annah Hariri. And then the new day comes and 5am alarm clock… It took me a lot of time to get my body and mind trained to live such a tight schedule.
My very 1st post will be probably an answer to the most “lazy” question: “Why so expensive?”. I call it lazy because if anyone makes a bit of research on how prices are formed, she will find that cheap price usually involves underpaid labor, harsh working conditions, low quality fabrics & etc. which is against sharia laws of our deen. On the contrary, we should be always guided by the best practices and sourcing the best materials available in the current situation and time. This is what we try to do… Welcome to A H atelier! A fair trade ummah & dawah project as I call it.
Let me start with elaborating on “ummah” term here. As many of you would know I am a revert to islam. After shahada, I deeply dived into ahadith and tafseer. Amazed by lectures of famous mufaseerun and daee (allow me to name few here: Nouman Ali Khan, Yusef Estes (revert), Ahmed Deedat (allah yarhamu), AbdulRaheem Green (revert), Dr. Zakir Naik, you name it), I was thinking: “What can I do to benefit this my new ummah?” I am not good at Arabic, English is not my mother tongue, thus forget Annah about giving dawah. But I did not give up on the idea of adding at least a small amount of value to our muslimeen society. And subhanallah God presented me an opportunity.
Why dawah? When I posted my very 1st picture in a headscarf to my FB profile, I was expecting comments. Surely! But I was not expecting such hate from my ex uni and school mates… Sitting under rock and crying was not a solution… I decided to show the beauty and universality of modest wear, its diversity from land to land. And subhanallah many of my non-muslim (or not yet muslim as I like to call them) friends wear A H clothes now. We also have many ladies who positively comment on our FB page and order our dresses because they have preserved that inner fitra of modesty. In sha Allah may they be guided to the Truth.
Now about the fair trade. Since not many would like to google the term as I would guess let me give quick definition here: Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers. To make it easy: it is basically a sharia law of trading where all the participants of manufacturing and production are paid fair wages. We try to source our fabrics and accessories from muslim retailers; all our employees are muslims. Not because we are racists ☺ but I do believe that we need to support each other in the ummah. We have a woman among our employees who is the only breadwinner for her 4 sons. There is also a muslim who was kinda lost and now alhamdouliallah is back to the straight way. A man who lost all in war and now is trying to establish the base again here in UAE… And more… We pay wages based on our employees’ experience and achievements, not underpaying them because of their passport (nationality) and age. Our atelier is furnished as a comfortable home where all staff love to spend time.
A H prices reflect real costs involved in the production: fabrics, operational & admin costs, FTE salaries, and a little to none margin so we can keep improving our quality and practices. In the end it is a decision of every one where to spend the rizk you earn. You can support transglobal companies or help your own ummah by lending a hand. From our side we ensure to continuously working on improving our standards!