1. Tell us a bit about yourselves ?Erina: Just turned 30 this year, a mother of two, and an engineer turned entrepreneur. I’m a very simple, practical and straight-to-the-point person. My friends say I’m boring because I like black and white (and grey!) but hey they’re so easy to match! Currently learning to master the skills of organizing and multi-tasking. I don’t bother much about bags and shoes and make ups, but I’m always looking forward to my next holiday destination! Oh, and I hate ironing.
2. What’s it like working as a husband and wife team?Erina: To be honest, I can’t think of anyone else to be my business partner. We’re both the ying & yang to one another. He sees and sets the goal, I plan on how to get there. I’m good at production, he’s good at marketing. I see him, ALL the time! Although we try not to, we talk about the business (and everything else as well) everywhere we go, from breakfasts to late night pillow talks. Because of this and also because we always talk from different angles, we argue a lot too. But they almost always end up for the better - like a continuous business and self-audit; a check and balance. And it makes the business stronger. It’s nice, you know. To work with someone who shares the same mission: for the family & for the ummah.
3. What motivated you to start the Zaahara brand?Erina: The love of Allah. I wanted to do a business that has a purpose for the Ummah.
4. One of your most popular products is the Sofia Travel Telekung. Could you tell us a bit more about why it’s every Muslimah’s travel essential?Erina: The Sofia travel telekung says a lot about me - simple and practical. It is something that I’ve always wanted for myself and for other Muslimahs out there. To pray with ease and comfort with this travel telekung.
5. Tell us something interesting/unique about the telekung? For example, do styles differ across different countries?We both have the same answer for this: The ‘telekung’ or sometimes known as ‘mukena’ is a women’s prayer wear popularly known in the Malay Archipelago. Telekung is a two-piece garment, a khimar (long hijaab) and a skirt. They are long and flowy, enveloping the wearer and adding a touch of grace to one's movements.
6. Can you tell us what has been surprising for you since staring the Zaahara brand?Erina: That there are ladies who collect telekungs! We have encountered customers who make sure they have our telekungs in each colour! Another suprising fact, 80% of Muslims in Malaysia DO NOT pray 5 times a day. And that those people that you think DO NOT pray, actually pray (not just the wajibs but the sunnahs!) and are also very very generous in giving telekungs away. So, please, don’t judge. Prayer is a private thing between you and Allah SWT.
7. Do you have any advice for those who want to leave their corporate jobs to pursue their passions?Erina: Firstly, make sure your passion pays! Secondly, is to make sure that you have a strong self-discipline and strong determination and that you are ready to work hard, out of your comfort zone. One important thing to note: You don’t have more time when you work on your own, but you have more flexible time.
- Solat istiqarah and make lots of doa
- Learn the basic fundamentals (basic business maths, communication in business, life planning, mentors, do a lot of readings and surround with business people)
- Enjoy the ride
- Failure is not everything
8. How has travelling changed for you from before you were married and now that you have a family?Erina: We now search for kids-friendly places to visit when planning for a holiday. And our daily schedules revolves around the kids routine (nap time, snack time etc). And packing! Oh myyyy… the packing bit!
10. What’s the one thing you can’t live without when travelling?Erina: My Sofia travel telekung of course!
11. Fill in the blanks: Our hope for the world is that ______Erina: People learn to live with a purpose. Anas: People will start to embrace the differences that God has created and learn to live in peace and harmony. Check out our Facebook and Instagram pages to stand a chance at winning one of 3 Telekung Sofia for travel from Zaahara! (Giveaway ends on 7th May, 2017 2359H GMT+8).