Madiha Basheeruddin, Founder/CEO of The Little Muslims Gift Factory runs writers’ workshops and is the Co-founder of Little Ummions.
She does all her business online from Saudi to Hyderabad.
We talked to her about her 8-year-long journey and what inspires her to go on.
• What inspired you to get into this business of catering ebusiness for Muslim children that is unlike any other business?
Having been born and grown up in the Middle East in an Islamic environment, I always wanted to do something that would benefit me in the duniya as well as in the akhirah. But it took me quite some time to figure out what exactly I wanted to do. I finally came upon the idea to introduce Islamic learning to Muslim kids in a way that would be fun, interactive an dauthentic.
So I began curating gift boxes containing a handcrafted prayer mat, tasbeeh, an Islamic story book, and an alphabet toy laptop for children and called my business ‘The Little Muslims gift factory’ that formally began on 1st Ramadan, 1436 (2015).
• Did you face any challenges?
The concept of having an Islamic store in India was new, the concept of teaching Islam in a fun way was new because where there were advancements in secular education, I analyzed that the Islamic teaching process was still the same. Also, in the beginning, I approached some successful Muslimahs for advice and suggestions, but they did not entertain me. So, I had to learn on my own. While setting up the business I had to learn about the customs duties, licensing, and shipping in order to not depend on anyone.
• Tell us about the growth of your business
In order to add more authentic international brands of Islamic products to the gift boxes, we are the first to introduce many brands from the UK, USA, Malaysia, Singapore, Dubai, etc to India. Alhamdhulillah.
I joined hands with my childhood friend Umamah and together we created two sub-brands under The Little Muslims Gift Factory-
1. Little Ummions- We develop storybooks with Islamic values for children in the age group of 0-10 years. Since we both are teachers, we realized that the best way to attract children towards the deenis through attractive pictures and in the form of stories. So we focused on writing and together we have published 3paperback and 5 soft plush books.
2. F.S.W.A (Focus, sacrifice, Work and Achieve) our latest addition are workshops oriented towards uplifting Muslim sisters around the world to help them contributee towards Islamic education for future generations In sha Allah. It also acts as a sadaqah jariah for all of us, where everyone benefits everyone.
We successfully hosted 2 interactive writing workshops and some of our participants have started their own Halal businesses, and started writing books.
• Tell us about the books and products of your store
The first book ‘So Remember Me, I shall Remember You’ teaches kids to remember Allah often. ‘The Last Sermon’ on the guidance to lead a pious life by Prophet Muhammad pbuh. The other products are dua journals, Arabic alphabets, numbers, shapes, duas, and chapters from the Quran (surahs).
The books are in English and have illustrations, activities like puzzles, riddles stories from the Quran, and Hadees. Our gift boxes are customized as per the demands of the customers. Each box is curated keeping in mind how best it can beutilized.
We also have Dhikr magnets, Rehals, salah trackers, and Islamic books from other publishers from different countries thus showcasing their work in Islamic education.
• How do you face competition as we see many Islamic publications today?
There was a lot of competition in the beginning also, but my intention of starting this business was not for money, my intention has been to help, to serve, and to provide sources of learning to our young generation. We keep an eye on what is happening within our industry but focus solely on our work and how we can serve the community better, on what we can do better, rather than what anyone else is doing.
• Who/What inspires you to keep going?
My parents and Allah swt are my strength. Muslim women have proven time and again to be phenomenal game changers. Khadija r.a. surpasses them all. Every time I read about her; it inspires me to be like her. My zeal to instill in our future generations the love for Allah swt, remember Him often and know HE is always there with them at every walk of life, and make them follow the true path of Prophet Muhammad pbuh keeps me going.
• How do you market your products? Where can we buy them?
Our marketing is done mostly through WhatsApp groups, Instagram reels and stories on Snapchat. Interested people can buy our products from our Instagram page the Little Muslims Gift Factory where they can also get updates about the workshops we conduct. We are working on hosting our own website, In sha Allah.
• How has your journey been so far?
The journey was like a roller coaster ride I’d be happy to be in for the rest of my life. Every day every moment is a learning curve in business and personal life. An Islamic business is rewarding in every way. You learn patience, become more God-fearingas you are dealing with commodities and customers, and have to be fair and keep it halal.
• What are the Future plans for The Little Muslim Gift Factory?
Right now, we are focusing on creating unique products for our #LittleUmmions In sha Allah and personally I plan to write more books. In sha Allah, we hope one day our work reaches every household.
• Tell us a little about yourself.
I am an Educationist/Teacher, Author, Interior designer, product designer/consultant, and a family person. I am very organized in dividing my time with all that I want to do which includes family time. Also, I am very focused on my work. I try to give due attention to my work, hobbies, family, and/or friends.
I organize my time around salah, which helps me keep track of time and also adds to barakah.
• What advice you want to give to young Muslim women who want to start their own business?
Intention is the key. Introspect why do you want to do it, the purpose and ideology behind what you want to do.
Any Islamic information requires authenticity and should be the first priority. Also, keep it halal and fear Allah swt in your dealings, Save up money and invest carefully by doing a lot of research.
Luckily, there is a platform set now for many muslimahs to come forward and contribute to the Islamic education industry. Bismillah. Good luck to them.