Caution: There is nothing glamorous about this post. Their insta followers are low, they are struggling for likes on FB and they do not have a website as yet. What is strong, are their principles. What is ancient, is their story. And what is as real as it gets, is their resolve to make a change.
Meet Faiza Abdul Nazar; wife to a supportive husband, mother to 7-year old Zayed & 4-year old Maryam and an aspiring entrepreneur at Earth & Ethics. When she isn’t working or reading about going organic, she acts out stories to her children instead of reading them. An endearing spillover of being a mumprenuer according to her, is that her kids play ‘business games’ and sustainable living is second nature to them already.
So Faiza, what is your story?
As ironic as this may sound, despite studying MBA with a specialization in Finance & Marketing and having completed 3 levels of The Cost & Management Accountants (CMA) course in India, I hated numbers. In my first job as a Research Analyst with a small Hedge Fund that focused on Value and Contrarian investing principles, we looked at things beyond the obvious and the repercussions of following a path less travelled. I happened to learn a lot there, especially how to look at things from a holistic and qualitative perspective. I loved the idea of ‘being different’ by just being fundamental, or simply going back to the basics.
In 2009, I moved to Dubai post marriage. Motherhood followed and while I gave up working, my passion for a healthier, toxic-free living remained. Somewhere along the line I realized that natural living does not end with food and cosmetics, rather those are just the starting points. We live with so many, potentially-toxic things in the household but we rarely pay attention. Earth & Ethics was born with an agenda to make a positive difference in our day-to-day lives.
What does E& E deal with? The inspiration behind the name.
Earth & Ethics is an Ethical Lifestyle Store that narrates the story of great Indian craftsmanship, which is inherently earth-friendly. In our fast-paced world today where everything is mass produced, we compromise on our health and that of our environment to a great extent. The comforters that we purchase from Home Improvement stores are loaded with microfibers and/or polyesters, which we breathe through the night. The Teflon-coated cookware that sits on our kitchen shelves release toxic fumes when heated. The synthetic colors that bleed from our home linen pollute the already-limited water resources on the planet. Earth & Ethics is a humble attempt to replace these artificial, harmful aspects of our homes with something closer to nature while empowering the artisans and the merchants who are behind the making of these products. Our current product offerings are in the Kitchen, Home Linen and Bath categories.
Kitchen: Hand-Seasoned Cast Iron Cookware, Clay Pots
Home Linen: Hand Block printed Jaipuri Quilts, Organic Cotton Throws, Hand-loom Bed Sheets, Hand-painted Kalamkari Rugs from Warangal, Hand-woven Jamakkalam Rugs from Bavanimade to name a few
Bath: Hand-spun & Hand-woven Organic Cotton Towels, Hand-carved Neem Wooden Combs
The Quran says mankind was created from dust or earth. We begin and end our journey on this life from the earth and we must give it the love it deserves. Secondly, I am a strong advocate of ethics, especially when it comes to the people who earn their living through what they make with their hands. Hence the name: Earth & Ethics.
Where are your products from?
E&E conveys the story of artisans and merchants in India, a country that is diverse and rich in heritage. The Jamakkalam is a traditional rug made with handlooms pit by the weavers of Bavani, Tamil Nadu. Cloth Bags by The Little Things are hand-stitched by the women of Auroville, India. Cast Iron Pans are sourced from the artisans of Tenkasi, and later hand-seasoned by our supplier in Chennai. Every product is unique and their maker, humble.
Most of these products are traditional and have been in existence for a long time, but are disappearing due to competition from mass production. We are committed to reviving this tradition and ensure that the products we sell
- are made using natural materials
- are hand-made
- use eco-friendly colors/dye only
- are close to nature
Your USP? As a customer, why should I be drawn to your range of products?
The Cast Iron Pans you plan to bring into your kitchen will make your cooking healthier. The vegetable-dyed, hand-block printed, pure-cotton quilts will give you a goodnight’s sleep because it has provided meaningful employment to the artisans of Jaipur. It is not just a product, but a story you are taking home when buying from us.
Do you have a physical or online presence? Which emirates do you cater to? Delivery charges etc.
We operate online, via social media and our store on Little Majlis. We cater to all the emirates via courier and there is a small delivery charge of 10 AED for each order. Participating at events and pop-up markets across Dubai and Sharjah gives us decent exposure as well.
Is this a one-man show or do you have a team to support you?
We are at the inception stage and it is mostly a one-woman show at the moment. However, I have the support of my family and I work closely with my suppliers who I believe, are the backbone of this structure.
Some of the biggest challenges you face as a working mum. How do you tackle them?
With family being priority, business tends to take a back-seat at times. However, with my youngest starting school this year, I see myself getting more involved. What is motherhood if not multitasking?
Expansion plans. What can we expect from you going forward?
For starters, a full-fledged online store with more products to follow, more stories to tell. We deal with small quantities at the moment, but the plan is to scale up going forward. I am positive, insha Allah that this will create the desired impact on the lives of everyone involved, from the makers to the buyers.
What makes you a geek?
If I haven’t said so enough, my obsession with everything natural.