One of the first exercises most on-line marriage courses ask students to do is to look for naturally surrendered or fascinating wives and explain what makes them so.
To my horror many participants respond by saying they don’t know any surrendered or fascinating wives. I am amazed because so many of my friends are FW and SW. It’s my intention to introduce some naturally SW/FW to you all, because these women are gems worth knowing and understanding.
I’m going to start with the lovely Sara (not Inspirity) who has her own business IKHLAS (click to visit the website). She sews the most gorgeous, feminine aprons, bags, purses, baby slings, nursing covers and prayer outfits. I am more than happy to recommend her products to anyone who is looking for a way to be attractive and feminine while doing practical work (such as cooking). Everything is sewn beautifully, to an exceptionally high standard and looks stunning.
Many women have the misconception that it’s impossible to work or have a business AND be a fascinating woman, but this simply isn’t true. As Sara explains in this article, she balances her business with being a busy wife. I think Ikhlas helps Sara be fascinating, her husband is clearly proud of the beautiful things she makes, he helps her sell her products, her sewing provides her with an outlet for her creative energies and is part of her self-care.
I hope you enjoy meeting Sara and agree with me when I say she’s a Fascinating Woman and Surrendered Wife.
What inspired you to start your own business?
I like to refer to ‘Ikhlas – handmade with love’ as my ‘successful hobby’ one that I enjoy and share with others who happen to be potential customers. I don’t really see it as a business as that’s too daunting for me. It developed over a year ago when I felt the urge to provide those close to me and others unique locally handcrafted goods that they could cherish, knowing that they were made with the love and attention they deserve, unlike the mass produced goods that you find in retail shops that are made abroad by young children and women who are forced to churn out the same model time after time whilst being paid a feeble wage for their long hours of hard work.
My belief is that even though we cannot change the world overnight we can most definitely start by doing the little bit within our control and influence and inspire those around us. I am vehemently against the exploitation of the less fortunate around the world and I support human rights and I believe this to be a fundamental part of my religion as our Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) taught us to have compassion for the weak and helpless.
Why the name “Ikhlas – Handmade with Love”?
I believe that everything that we do should be for a higher purpose and for myself, the higher purpose is to please my Lord. The name Ikhlas means sincerity in Arabic; hence, I wanted to remind myself and my customers that the products I make and they buy are simply for the pleasure of our Lord in that we are not wanting to be part of exploiting young children in third world countries.
What do you see in the future for Ikhlas?
Alhamdulillah, I have been making products for a year and a half now and initially, I made a few bags and purses for close friends, but as new ideas and designs came to me and due to demand I started selling to people outside my immediate circle of friends and it has just grown from there. At that time I did not imagine or plan how it would grow and develop. I like to liken it to a petal in a river, gently floating along the water as it drifts by many new places, not knowing where the journey will end for it. Ikhlas – Handmade with love’s future is as such, I like to go with the flow and want to focus on enjoying the process rather than planning the future that is not in my control.
What inspires your designs?
I get inspiration from many things, but mostly from the four seasons and beautiful nature around me. I like to use colours and prints that reflect the season we are in and I like to look back into earlier designs of products and re-invent them with a new twist.
What feedback do you most like to hear from customers?
Positive of course! I appreciate it when customers tell me the ways in which they have made use of their purchase and inform me of specific features that they would find of benefit in a certain item, so that I can add them in new editions in the future.
Does your husband support you and how?
I would not be able to have done ‘Ikhlas- handmade with love’ if it wasn’t for my husband’s support. He is the one who inspired me to sew my very first bag and then, with his positive comments and encouragement, I continued and now sew not only bags but other products, too. When I did craft fairs in other towns, he would accompany me and help out. He at times recommends places for me to show my goods and he has even gone out to events to sell them on my behalf when I am not able to get out. Alhamdulillah, I’m very blessed that I have his full support.
What self-care do you do?
‘Ikhlas – handmade with love’ is my self-care! I love getting out to shop for new fabrics. Seeing all the wonderful prints and designs is soothing and therapeutic for me. Then I allow my mind to run wild, conjuring up ideas for the many ways I can use the fabric. Aside from that, I enjoy baking because I am able to experiment and push myself to produce the best quality dishes I can, and I love to see the end product, which I get to enjoy with my husband BONUS!
Have the FW/SW concepts of being feminine influenced your business?
In Fascinating womanhood you are taught that as a woman the key to a successful marriage is to understand your partner and to basically enjoy being a wife by accepting the role wholeheartedly. This concept has allowed me to remain focused on my main priority; my husband. As mentioned in the question above, Ikhlas – handmade with love is my self-care and this is because my main focus during the day is to ensure that my husband’s needs are fulfilled; from making a heart-warming dinner which is ready on time, to the house being clean and tidy are part of it. Once this is done, I like to divide my time between my own studies and sewing. This for me has been the key success to having my husband’s full support and being able to keep going with Ikhlas – Handmade with love as i have allowed Ikhlas – Handmade with love to take over my life, it is what I do to unwind and relax and I want to keep it like that.
Do you think using ikhlas products will help women be fascinating/surrendered and how?
Yes, of course. They allow woman to not only to be stylish but feminine and attractive, whilst also being practical. When selecting fabrics I go for lovely shades and prints that reflect femininity and this can be seen in the latest range of aprons which were finished off using lace and ribbon trimmings.
My intention behind my work is to inspire other women to bring back to life the lost art every wife knew for herself, family and home. Through these crafts she saw herself as a contributor to her needs and the needs of the other members of the household. There is nothing quite like producing items handmade with love which puts you in touch with those natural skills and talents within you. It brings out your femininity and beauty in everything you put your mind and hands to; thus making you feel appreciated by your loved and dear ones.