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Muslim Mumpreneur Series #9 - Sadaff Irshad

Founder of Live Love Gift

In the Anafiya Muslim Mumpreneur Series we take a rare insight into the lives of the superheroes who are running businesses alongside full-time motherhood.

Please introduce yourself

Salaam lovely people! I’m Sadaff and I’m based in Manchester where I was born and raised. I have three kids known as Big Miss (age 7), Little Miss (age 4) and the Baby (aged 19 months). In between being ‘Mama’, I like to drink coffee, I love chocolate (may be a bit too much), and I am absolutely crazy about arts, crafts, and design.

Tell us a bit about your business

Live Love Gift formally started in May 2017 after brewing in my head for a good few years. I worked as a graphic designer full time before motherhood and always wanted to use those skills for something that would benefit my kids and our deen. Until now the focus has been mainly on craft kits to help kids learn about various Islamic topics and concepts. It’s amazing how well they engage with something when there’s crafts involved!

Live Love Gift is a big family effort as my husband looks after all the technical and business side of things, and my kids are my biggest and best critics/product developers/testers/models! I come up with product ideas, source materials and design everything from samples right down to the packaging.

In sha Allah the next big product area I’m developing is greetings cards and gift accessories. I’d love to design and create an Islamic version of Paperchase! For Eid, I saw a gap in the market for mini Eid card sets so I designed and produced 4 ranges which were a massive hit this summer Alhamdulilah. Kids loved giving them to their friends and it created such excitement for Eid. They were sold all over the country, including to Al Manaar MCHC who gave them with gifts to Grenfell Tower survivors – so humbled to have helped out in some small way.

What are the biggest challenges you have faced?

What I find most difficult is putting on a ‘business’ head before I create a product. I get carried away with ideas and before I know it, the product I’m thinking of ends up too complicated, too costly, and impossible to make for market. My husband plays a big part in reeling me back a bit here! I’m slowly learning to think with a different approach so that whatever product I make is easy for me to create and sell, and more importantly for customers to buy and enjoy.

How do you balance it all? Family and work?

Work for me mostly fits around my kids and family as they come first. So it means I tend to work in the evenings after they’re all asleep, or a little stint in the afternoon while the girls are at school and Baby has his now dwindling nap! I wouldn’t call it a perfect balance by any means, it can be frustrating only having a maximum of a couple of hours at any one time to complete a task. In sha Allah this will change as they grow up and I also get better at being more efficient with my time. It’s all a work in progress.

We make an effort as a couple to have a date night once a week, as well as focussed family time on the weekends. Work comes in peaks and troughs so sometimes I step up the late nights and then sometimes it’s quiet for a few weeks so I focus on family needs more. I see a lot of #selfcaresunday posts nowadays, I need to do more of this for sure. Alhamdulilah, one of the biggest advantages of working for yourself is definitely this flexibility of how you divide your time.

Have you got any advice for aspiring mumpreneurs?

  • 1. Have a business plan, even if it’s just post it notes on the wall. Hubby is a Business Architect in his day job so he’s very good at reminding me of the bigger picture and keeping long term plans as well as short term goals in mind. Organic growth is good at the start of a new venture so once you are a little more established, use that as research to figure out what works for you and go in that direction.
  • 2. Don’t get too carried away on social media. It feels great when you get lots of new followers or likes on a new post, but it doesn’t always translate into sales. Use a social media management tool to plan posts and save time, something I’m still working on.
  • 3. Lastly, pick something that you absolutely love to do and will stay up late for and work crazy hours. It’s like having another baby!

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