I was stoked to be chosen as one of the official bloggers for the Toronto Ramadan Market, created and curated by none other than girl boss Sudduf. This opportunity allowed me to cover the event on social media via a live takeover of Ramadan Market’s Instagram account. Although I was exhausted afterward, I got the chance to speak to amazing designers and makers who were all willing to share their stories on and off camera.
The market itself was a milestone in the right direction for showcasing the talents of the Muslim community in Canada. Although multiple vendors were selling Ramadan/Eid decorations, each had their own spin on it and were so supportive of each other by actually recommending other vendors at the market. That’s real #collaborationovercompetition 🙂
Feel free to see all the excitement using the hashtag #RM2018 but for now, I’m sharing 5 of my favourite booths.
Ridaa is a solopreneur who turned her hobby into a business that brings joy. She illustrates inspirational, religious and some really amusing prints which can then be used as décor, greeting cards, envelopes, bookmarks, etc. Check out my Fav Canadians highlight on Instagram for a super cute card for a friend or loved one.
Over the course of two days, I spent a lot of time at the market and kept coming back to Ridaa’s booth to find more cute prints. Her typography and character style is truly unique AND she makes custom pieces!
I had the pleasure of meeting Charmeen a couple of weeks ago at a workshop. Being an avid jewellery lover, I immediately noticed her amazing gemstone rings and bracelets. Another reason, Al Joher Gems makes this list is because their products are made in Canada by local artisans, goldsmiths and setters. Yay! For the Toronto Ramadan Market, she also had a special collection consisting of everyday rings and beaded bracelets.
This particular ring has Allah written in an abstract way actually creating an arrow to signify the direction you are taking with your faith. I thought that was very apt for the market and would appeal to a larger audience.
As with any local market I attend, I love hearing the stories of why people do what they do. Tahira was no exception. She started her modest clothing line by buying pieces from wholesale factories vested in fast fashion. She quickly realized the harsh impact of supporting that industry and how, for example, only 2 pennies from a $10 shirt actually went to the worker! She decided to make a major change and rebranded under the name Nur by Tahira. By cutting out the middle man, Tahira is able to pay her 10 employees due wages and offer excellent working conditions.
I love that she has made her line inclusive by offering teen to double XL sizes. She is able to offer more customization in this regard because she designs the clothes herself.
Tucked away in the corner of the exhibition area was a small booth that I almost missed. But I’m glad I didn’t because I got to meet Suhaila. I urge you to check out her website if you’re into minimalistic style. I’m a sucker for geometric designs and that’s exactly what she offered in her Ramadan/Eid banners, as well as, in pendant necklaces. Her basic colour palette and repeating patterns add to the minimalistic feel.
I was super impressed with how Suhaila used laser cutting to create her designs which she also shared via an Instagram story. I enjoyed watching her work in progress, and that’s one of the reasons why I love following small businesses because you actually get to see what’s happening behind the scenes.
This mother-daughter duos story stems from a real problem in our community – no beautiful hijabs for young girls. As a young girl, you’re just being introduced to what wearing a hijab means and if there isn’t one that looks pretty you may not want to pursue it. Angie and her daughter Hana, are breaking ground by creating a line of hijabs that are actually nice. In fact, they’re so nice I’m peeved they don’t make them for adults.
Hana is one of the co-founders and she’s only 12! More than helping her mom, she actually creates one-of-a-kind watercolour designs that are then printed on jersey fabric. Customers also have the option to customize their scarves with personalization options. I love the idea of empowering girls to create their own designs, so they’re even more excited to wear them.
This year’s Toronto Ramadan Market was well thought-out, which makes me super excited for next year’s bigger and better event.