The chance to take something you love and turn it into a successful business is something that many aspire to. And the ability to share your talent in a way that not only influences others but inspires them as well is something that many have struggled to do. After spotting a gap in the market for those interested in homemade crafts, Mayya al Said, owner of Sew Chic and Unique, and Dahlia al Riyami, who makes decorative headbands for children, decided to open up a Facebook page called ‘Crafty in Oman’ with the intention of bringing together like-minded individuals.
Having launched the page just a couple of weeks ago, the two working mothers are surprised by the reaction the group has had in such a short space of time. Mayya started Sew Chic and Unique after she stopped working full-time so she could spend more time with her two daughters. While looking through the Internet one night, she came across a blogger in the United States - also a mother - who blogged about her new craft projects.
Mayya said, “I realised that I could do that as well, so started to teach myself to sew and thought it would be interesting to blog my progress. I started looking at other blogs and YouTube before making the handbag organisers and posting pictures online, which got people’s attention and they started asking me to sell them. The things that I make are not just pretty to look at; they have to be practical as well.”
Dahlia’s story is similar in that she has four daughters and during a two-year sabbatical decided to start making colourful headbands for children. After initially just adapting pre-made items, Dahlia decided to start making her own embellishments and now uses a range of items and fabrics to decorate the bands so the children who wear them can look unique. The two women came together at last year’s Mommy&Me exhibition when they shared a table to display their items and after seeing the response they received, decided to start up the group.
On ‘Crafty in Oman’, Dahlia said, “The page basically runs itself, as it is a resource for all craft-related things as well as being a selling point for people to display their homemade products. I see this establishing itself as a centre or association where people can come and share their skills, conduct classes, and utilise the space for selling their items and more. It’s amazing because initially when we started, I didn’t think we would get much response, but now we have over 200 members.”
They hope to organise a handmade crafts exhibition by the end of the year where anyone can come and display their homemade products, so are currently in the planning stage where they are seeking sponsorship. Aside from the page and potential exhibition, Mayya and Dahlia also recently held their first meet and greet where members of the page were invited to all meet at a public location, speak with likeminded people and find out about others’ work. Following the success of this event, they hope to hold more in the future.
‘Crafty in Oman’ is open to anyone living in the sultanate whether they are citizens or expatriates, male or female; all they need to have is a passion for handmade crafts. Mayya said, “Basically we want it to support handmade items because when you receive something that has been handmade it has so much more meaning to you. In a time when we are so technology driven, we have lost the essence of these things.”
Dahlia added that they have had members say on the page that they have seen a particular skill or technique that they want to learn and after this, a group of the women organised a knitting and crochet class that members were able to attend. “It is very satisfying to see people connecting through the Facebook page. It helps to inspire people and this helps boost confidence,” Mayya said.