30.7.20

Q&A with Creative Sewist Zahra Alshatrie

Modern Sewist & Mother, Zahra Alshatrie of Zahra's Suitcase

This interview covers a unique angle from the perspective of a crafter and a full-time mother. I am in no position to share much because, personally, I am not a parent but only a Creative who works from home. As I am unable to share much about the experience of juggling between tasks as a mother, crafter and craft business owner (mothers, you have my fullest respect) however, I am more than happy to pass on this space to Zahra to share her meaningful and artful journey, life as a Sewist, Crafter and Mother with you. May you find this an inspiration. - Shia Lynn


All yours, Zahra!
Hello! My name is Zahra, and I love to sew. I first learnt sewing from my mother when I was younger, and the rest was self-taught (thank you, YouTube!). A few years ago, I decided that I wanted to run my own business and be a full-time mom at the same time. I combined my Advertising Design background and sewing to set up my small handmade business from home. With this, I am not only sewing, I am also the photographer, editor, sales consultant and everything else in between! It is a lot of work, but it has been such a fantastic (and humbling) experience.

1. How and when did you realize you wanted to start your craft business?
I knew I wanted to start my business even before I had kids, but priorities were constantly shifting and the timing was never really right. After a few years of research, random tailoring jobs and inevitable failures, I finally managed to get Zahra’s Suitcase up and running. It helps that people in the handmade community are really welcoming, especially when I finally got the courage to reach out to other women who run their own handmade businesses, who have been so generous in giving advice. I’m also blessed with fantastic (and forgiving) customers, who, until today, give me feedback and constructive criticism, so I’m always learning and trying to improve my skills and products.

2. How do you create balance between motherhood and your craft business?
Good timing and being organised is key for me. But honestly, this part is never consistent. Some days it’s as smooth as butter, and other times I ask myself “What am I doing with my life??” It probably sounds over-dramatic, but when it comes to balancing motherhood with my business (and life in general), the struggle is real! I am far from perfect, but I have a wonderful family who always encourages and supports me, so that definitely makes it easier.

3. What is the best part of your craft business that you enjoy most?
Specifically, choosing fabric and colours (I am a little Pantone obsessed), and seeing how happy my customers are after receiving their finished products!

4. What are your goals as a crafter, maker and mother?
I still have a really long way to go, but in my own small ways, I’m trying to encourage slow fashion. As a mother, I’ve seen the difference in my kids, where they actually do appreciate handmade products. Since they have even tried to dabble with projects of their own, they understand and feel the amount of work (and love) that goes into making something, and are generally less inclined to waste things and view their belongings as “disposable”.

Follow the journey of Zahra's Suitcase, her sewing adventures and more on Instagram at Zahra's Suitcase handmade shop.

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Q&A with Creatives is an interview topic by The Artsy Craftsy to empower fellow artists, crafters and makers with artful life and business tips and advice.

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For creative content such as sponsored posts & reviews, collaborations & partnerships and creative lifestyle event invites, or to hire us for craft activities and creative services, email theartsycraftsy@gmail.com
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