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The Devalued Mumpreneur

Written by By Deena Miah 

So as usual the caveat before i delve into this topic is that these are all my personal opinions and you may or may not agree with them but hopefully will still find it an interesting read 🙂

This is a topic which i have never actually expressed with anyone yet although it has always been there in mind nagging at me.

So it all started on my daughters induction day for reception – basically a group of mums hoping their 4/5 year old finds another child they can stick to and be content with for the rest of their life in full time education, whilst us mums can get on with life in peace without worrying about the settling in period! I was completely new to this as Jemimah is my first born hence new territory. When i got there i met some lovely parents and equally many had the same dream as i mentioned above however something changed after that day when i met another working mum…

Never judge a book by its cover!

Sitting down at ‘snack time’ i came to converse with another mum, now let me mention that i had no makeup on, i wore a pretty dull looking hijab and its safe to say that on that day i wasn’t dressed to impress (i just wanted my daughter to stick to another child remember). The lady i was speaking to however was the complete opposite, she looked good and smelled great too (#justsaying)! We got into the usual conversation about where we live etc and then she asked me:

 What do you do? Do you work?’

I just replied saying, i had a small business and i worked from home. When she asked what kind of business i just remember saying it was a Hamper business but on a more premium scale and not the average typical hamper. What came after this was slightly condescending and in a reassuring tone i felt:

‘…oh that’s nice, having a little business from home, you’re a mumpreneur that’s great’

I took her response with a pinch (heck…a handful) of salt and asked her the same question, her response was that she and her husband work full time and have PROFESSIONAL jobs (yes that was the exact term), lead very busy lives, her job is demanding and she works for a major retailer (let’s call them Bixons), she has a lot of responsibility as she is a concessions manager, she is very busy and her job is demanding…oh and did i say she was very busy??

So after a little more talking and once the induction was over this scenario which i had just experienced was playing on my mind. I couldn’t help but be taken back by this term Mumpreneur and how people perceived it. Now when you first come to this blog post you would probably think i will be speaking about how men devalue the mumpreneur but this situation proved to me that this isn’t just about men but women too!

This lady had no idea what kind of business i was running, whether it was successful, had employees or whether it was even global yet she instantly had this preconception that i was just a mum with a ‘little’ business on the side to keep my fingers twiddling and nothing as professional or demanding as the average full time worker.

Let’s not arm ourselves with negativity for this lady because she isn’t actually the only one who probably thinks this way and perhaps didn’t even realise how she came across but it is food for thought for sure!

 

A degrading term

Although the term Mumpreneur seems to be empowering mums with businesses in the media and there are many organisations which celebrate this group. I personally think it is quite degrading and pigeonholes us into a group of women who don’t fit into the same criteria as an entrepreneur! Instead we are perceived as busy mums who are probably selling handmade items on ebay on the side whilst juggling children (nothing wrong handmade items or ebay by the way) although we know different as many are actually doing more than this.

The fundamental problem with this term is that it degrades the professional status of a female business owner, in fact it doesn’t hold any professionalism at all. Rather it makes people clap for you to say ‘well done you’re a mum and you managed to do something else too’. This term also dissolves any existence of your abilities and achievements before being a mum! the lady at my daughters induction didn’t know my working history before i had children as i came from a strong Marketing background of over 10 years working with ‘professional and big’ companies as their Marketing Manager, i wonder how she would have perceived me if i told her this?

It took me and my sister a whole year to plan and execute Mubarak London and even till this day we have offsite meetings, conference calls, presentations to do, finance/budgeting and whatever else you call ‘professional’ whilst being full time mums however i would not like to be called a Mumpreneur, simply because it doesn’t hold the same values or meaning as an entrepreneur (not that i would want to be called that too as i’m not even sure if i am one!)

What about the high flying business ladies who own global high turnover businesses ,do you think they would be labelled as a Mumpreneur – i don’t think so. A Successful female businesswoman/owner should be judged by her business success not if she is working from home and a mother and certainly not labelling her a mumpreneur.

Don’t get me wrong i am all for empowering female business owners and working mums i just don’t think we should be labelling ourselves in this so called group which may seem great with all the people in it but not perceived great by those that are not familiar with it!

So there you have it, it’s off my chest and i feel much better.

What do you think? What’s your experience? Leave your comments below…

When Ayesha met The Fine Pantry…

When it comes to Halal food recommendations then our go to are the popular social media food bloggers and one of our favorites is Ayesha who runs My Big Fat Halal Blog. Ayesha has a right soft spot for Iranian food too it seems so it felt right to send her our FINE PANTRY collection to try it out see if she would recommend to her followers…

The Pantry image

The amazing news is she absolutely loved it to our relief and also used it to create a stunning dish! The Fine Pantry is such a great gift with some punchy ingredients included such as the Harissa and Kashmiri Saffron are just a few of the goodies in this box!

 

To get the full lowdown on what Ayesha created as well as her amazing recipe visit her blog by clicking here

NOM NOM NOOOOOM

Muslim Business – it’s no easy business!

 

A personal insight and tough truths by Founder Deena Miah.

Ok so let’s first start off by clarifying that these are all my personal opinions and hope that they don’t offend anyone, if they do then oops sorry 😐 There are so many different aspects of this topic but this blog is particularly about Mubarak London’s experience and some of the ups and downs we face/ed as a Muslim business…so here it goes.

Hands in the air for the Lovers please…

No matter how big or small you are as a business, to me anyone who shows the slightest love (a like on a picture or a positive review) means they are engaging with you. they believe in your business and your vision and think that you are worthy of their input SO surely you got to recognise these people? Now as you grow as a business it’s not always possible to reply to each individual supporter but the key is giving back to your followers an engaging with them where they know that you are talking to them despite it being a mass communication.

How do you show love back to so many people?

Firstly a big Alhamdulillah if you have some amazing followers and we are blessed to have probably THE BEST followers. Not only do they give us fantastic feedback but they understand the intention behind our acts and if we ever did get something wrong we have faith that our followers would put it aside and still show us love 🙂

We talk to our audience and that’s important, why guess answers about what your customers wants, needs or likes when you can ask them directly. We live in an age where technology has evolved so much and we can even create voting polls on social media apps like Instagram. This is a great example in fact, whenever our team have a brain wave of a new collection rather than asking colleagues, family and friends we take to the poll and ask our customers directly – what better way to understand if something will sell or not – bit of a no brainer really! This engagement not only benefits us  but our followers feel they are part of the journey, a business which is inclusive and makes some important business decisions based on YOU the most important person in our business!

Other ways of showing the love is offering discounts now and again, thanking your customers for just sticking with you and most importantly is making dua for them or my favourite sharing knowledge of Islam which will not only insha allah get you some reward but your followers too.

 

Thank You but sorry i can’t…

Right, we are a business that literally started from pen to paper and it took us a year before we launched, therefore you can imagine how much planning, research, late nights (chocolate and coffee, did i mention chocolate!) were included in this time.

Mubarak London was a completely new concept (haters please don’t roll your eyes) and we knew exactly what we wanted. Believe it or not we didn’t actually reach out to anyone for advice or guidance at all simply because we felt we were doing ok but no harm in asking for some advice at all because since then so much has changed and we definitely ask for advice now!

Professionalism, Manners and good etiquette are not only gold dust in business but also in Islam so as a Muslim Business we should be taking these values implementing them in our business model too.

Luqman once said to his son, “O my son: Let your speech be good and your face be smiling; you will be more loved by the people than those who give them provisions.” – (Mentioned in the stories of ibn Kathir.)

However sometimes the lines can get blurred and although we want to be kind and generous, you could be in an awkward situation which comprises the commercial viability of the company.

When in a Muslim business and dealing with other muslim businesses whether it be clients or suppliers there is an element of trust which we expect or form. I guess this is due to our Islamic values that we must lead honest lives and are part of one Ummah who look after each other (Brothers and sisters).

But wait…If someone tells me they love my business and they want to know sensitive information about my suppliers for example, am i expected to give it to them as a good Muslim because i can’t lie about it!?!

The above is all too familiar and firstly i rate the person who builds up the courage to ask a person which may seem business sensitive because i personally live by ‘you don’t ask, you don’t get’ however at the same time sometimes i feel uncomfortable to be giving information which i gained with such hard work, passion and which i inherited eye bags for to then just  simply give this information out upon a request. Don’t get this wrong, i will help, empower and guide as much as possible because i am very passionate to see Muslim businesses doing well but at times i don’t particularly want to share everything i have worked hard for because at the end of the day it is also Business.

As i always come back to…it’s all down to the response, be honest and respectable because truly speaking it feels great that someone loves what you are doing and perhaps wants to replicate it but be tactful and say that that information is sensitive and although you are chuffed for the compliments, giving this information out would simply be a commercial viability and hope that they understand. A true Muslim will respect that and if you can help in other ways then of course do it 🙂

If you get the harsh ‘You are a Muslim And should be helping another Muslim’ then may Allah guide us all because so long as your intentions and your responses are not malicious and you are simply protecting your business i don’t think you owe the information to them…

 

Saturday Support initiative

We get so many messages from other Muslim businesses that it was getting difficult to reply back to everyone. Alhamdulillah Mubarak London has built a strong brand within the Muslim and Non Muslim world and one which is aspiring to many (can’t really believe that to be fair). We are no experts, in fact we are amateurs but i am so passionate to share my experience and help others that i decided to create a platform where we would shout our aspiring small businesses.

Empowering one another is so important if we want to break the mould that Muslim businesses are not on par of the ‘big boy’ mainstream players because together we could open more doors for one another!

Saturday Support

To find out more about how the initiative works click here to get a better understand but overall its to give small businesses the limelight and make our audience aware of the businesses we support and found interesting. There’s no hidden agenda behind this in fact one of the main reasons we came up with this was because Mubarak London entered many small business ‘shout out’ campaign initiatives from some mainstream entrepreneurs but we kept seeing that we were never given a chance even though we felt that we were credible.

I’m not going to sugar coat this but i ultimately felt that these individuals were not choosing us simply because we were a faith led business and maybe (er…highly likely) they didn’t want to feel like they were supporting a religion/faith or want things to get ‘Political’ since the shout out would be public. Sooooo i put all that behind and thought hey, we don’t need this!

We need to support each other make enough success together and then insha allah the rest is up to the all knower and all hearer – Allah swt.

 

MORE Hands in the air for the Haters please…

Alhamdulillah in my experience i feel there is more support and love in the Muslim business world than i expected and the best art of it is when complete stranger love your brand and make dua for you (seriously priceless) HOWEVER having worked in both the mainstream corporate world and now within the Muslim business sector i can also see some differences.

As mentioned above sometimes because you are Muslim people think there is an automatic expectation that you should trust them and help them BUT at the end of the day you must not forget that you are also running a business for revenue which is for profit. Now when you mention profit in the Muslim business world i feel immediately some people raise their eyebrows (as if to say pssht you greedy muslim who just wants money) but what some people don’t stop to think is this profit is so we can support ourselves but most importantly for things we have already committed to for example:

  1. A minimum of 5% or more of our profits are given to charity causes every quarter
  2. We support many small and large charities by giving them our boxes for giveaways to help raise money for charity
  3. Allah knows what is in our hearts so haters need to really not think about other people’s business!

The truth is we don’t bother ourselves with negativity, we are so wrapped up on a mission to bring Mubarak London to Muslims and Non Muslims around the world that we haven’t even noticed if there are many haters out there. That however does not mean that i don’t care about my Haters, in fact i would really like to know why they dislike our brand or what isn’t to their liking.

And turn not your face away from men with pride, nor walk in insolence through the earth. Verily, Allah likes not any arrogant boaster. (Surah Luqman:18)

I would treat a ‘hater’ like a dissatisfied customer and they are very valued to us. My mission would be to try and convert this customer into one of my happy and loyal customers so don’t put your guards up to so called Haters it could just mean that you may have got one aspect wrong which needs to be addressed or there’s a misunderstanding somewhere which needs to be resolved or better addressed.

The best part is also hearing that our brand isn’t innovative and we simply ‘put other peoples stuff in a pretty box and that’s it’  ( let’s just note that most of these people who say this end up trying to replicate what we are doing in the end?!?)

So in conclusion to my ramblings look after the people who love you and love the people who hate you because wrapping yourself up in hate and annoyance will effect your business direction, brand values and most importantly your Islamic Values.

 

On that note…

WINTER ’16 TV CAMPAIGN

Mubarak London is still very much in its infancy stage as a business although we have come far on a short space of time and in 2016 we decided it was time to create something a little more exciting and a campaign which raised our brand’s profile.

In December 2016 we launched our very own TV advert which aired prime time on Islam Channel TV, the perfect target audience or us. The aim of this campaign was trying to get more Muslims to become aware of Mubarak London and make them curious enough to find out more by visiting our website.

It wasn’t exactly a mainstream brand type of an advert of course as we were still a start up so we couldn’t be too ambitious however the campaign certainly raised our profile. We increased our brand awareness not only in the UK but also Internationally which was great for us.

Launching our first TV Campaign was certainly and experience, we were used to planning mood boards and sets set designs for photoshoots but this was a lot different and needed even more meticulous planning. Each shot you see has been created on purpose, a story board was also created to ensure we had something to follow and we achieve what we set out to do in this campaign.

The things you don’t see…

Doing campaigns like these also means having a lot of patience because getting the right shot can sometime take hours! It;s amazing to see a 30 second advert you’ve created which took more than 10 hours and that’s just us some major big brands can take weeks or even months creating that amazing 30 second advert you’ve seen on the TV!

Finding the right hands!
Yes – we were even in search of the right hands and knew we would probably have to hire a hand model (no we’re not making it up, there are actually hand models!!). However to our relief we just happened to have the best pair of hands right under our noses. We ran a couple of test shots with our Photographer and friend who has been close to the brand from the start and with much excitement were were delighted that her immaculate and delicate hands was a winner for sure!

To speak, or not to speak?
That, was certainly a question we asked ourselves a lot after during the edit! The editing process is exciting but tideous and it takes many tooing and froing before you are satisfied with the final edit. The end frame of the ad is our tag line:

‘It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it…’

However we were deliberating whether we should use a voice over for this end frame and then a whole new set of questions were thrown:

  • Should the voice be male or female?
  • What should the tone be?
  • Any accents?

After several attempts we settled with what we thought suited the brand and felt that it worked, the end result is here you so go ahead and watch it and let us know what you thought about our first attempt at a budget ad?

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