Khadija Ghurnah is the gentle soul behind a company that is making a precious product to wrap your baby or toddler in and hand it down as an heirloom piece. I spoke to her about her business, Safiya’s Room and how she is enlisting the handiwork of skilled artisans in India to design and craft these very special pieces. I asked her to tell you in her own words in this interview that follows.
Tell us about your product line and where they are made
At Safiya’s Room we strive to ensure every item is unique, authentic and of the highest quality. Our hand block quilts are made by artisans in Jaipur, India. These treasures are 100% cotton and carefully crafted by hand; starting from the preparation of the cotton for the filling; to the beautiful hand blocked designs and hand stitched finished product.
Is your business your passion? If so, why or why not? Why do you do it?
My background is in healthcare administration, working on reducing inequalities in healthcare delivery. After I had my children I knew I had to scale back in order to be more present for my family. Starting Safiya’s Room has allowed me to work on something I find challenging and fulfilling, yet allows me to be more available for my family. I very much enjoy every aspect of textile design and processing. To create the quilts for Safiya’s Room, I work with amazing and and talented artisans. Their work is such amazing artistry with each quilt taking up to 3 weeks to complete. The whole process is a passion and a privilege for me.
Who is your customer?
I have many different customers which is wonderful, because I think the art of hand made goods is a universal language. What I have found is that most quilts are bought as gifts for baby showers. I love this idea because it is exactly why I tracked down the artisans in India- I was looking for a gift for my daughter that will stand the test of time so that she can one day gift it to her own children.
Why do you think the readers of My Halal Kitchen will enjoy your products- what is it about what you’re selling that is useful to them?
You can look at a quilt and see the stamp of each individual that worked on it, in much the same way you see the love and handiwork in a home cooked meal. Each quilt is unique and an individual work of art. I would love to share that with the readers of My Halal Kitchen.
What’s your goal or vision for the future of your business?
I want to continue to explore patterns from different cultures. My current designs haven’t strayed too far from traditional Indian block print designs, with a little touch of different cultures through some Suzani and Quatrefoil influences. I am looking at how I can adapt traditional East and West African patterns to hand block printing. I can’t tell you how much I love exploring this cross cultural design process. Additionally, I see the work I do with the artisans as a partnership. They determine the value of their work and I pay them the price they request. This partnership means that the future of the business is a very organic process, I have my plans and designs and the artisans also have ownership in this process as well. They do email me with suggestions of patterns of processes they would like to work on. I am excited to see how this collaboration grows. My goal is to continue to foster a positive connection between the artisans who make the quilts and the consumers who buy them. It’s important to me that my products are beautiful and unique, but its also very important that the artisans who make the quilts are valued and given fair pay for their work.
A famous saying of Rumi is: “Let the beauty we love be what we do.” I am happy when I can deliver a beautiful quilt to a customer and I’m very happy that the quilt came from someone who is proud of their work and feels valued for the work they did. That really is a thing of beauty.
Now for the giveaway!
Safiya’s Room is giving away my favorite piece in their collection, the Sarah Twin Quilt (valued at USD $80.00)- and it’s open to U.S and Canadian mailing recipients! All of the quilts are so, so soft but this one has my favorite pattern and colors for a baby girl or even a little girl’s room. If you don’t have kids, enter anyway- someone you know may be having a baby soon. If you don’t want to give it away, keep it for yourself. Yes, you can cuddle with it.
To enter, please “like” Safiya’s Room on Facebook and subscribe to my Quick Bites Newsletter, if you’ve not done so already. Read our guidelines to make sure you’ve understood them, as entering indicates you have done so. Last, please add a comment (which is your entry) about this very special handmade product and the artisanal work behind it- even if it’s simply a compliment.
Giveaway ends on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 12:01 CST
UPDATE: We have a winner! Rafia Sadigrafia, please contact us with your full name, email address, phone number and mailing address (no P.O. Boxes) within 48 hours or we will move on to another winner. Thank you!