OA: What inspired you to start Muslim Gift Guide?
MGG: In the past, “Islamic products” meant poor quality or compromised designs. In the last few years, we’ve seen an incredible global flourish of creative Muslim entrepreneurs producing beautiful products and launching wonderful brands. Peter Gould, founder of Muslim Gift Guide, intended to build his new website as a platform to showcase and highlight the best examples of these Islamic products and inspire others to collectively improve the global standard. Naturally, it became a great place to find thoughtful gifts as well!
OA: Tell me a little about Muslim Gift Guide – what is it, and how does it work?
MGG: MuslimGiftGuide.com is our online directory showcasing the coolest gift ideas for Muslims, insha Allah! We believe in showcasing creativity, beauty and quality design, and encouraging and inspiring designers, brands and entrepreneurs to deliver outstanding product experiences.
When you visit our website, you are welcomed by a beautifully curated collection of fine products created by the Ummah. Muslim Gift Guide has gift ideas for just about anyone – so if you are looking for something special for a specific person, we have plenty of fun and relevant categories to choose from such as Mister Hipster, Cool Hijabis, Little Prince (or Princess) and Serious Food – to name a few!
You can seamlessly browse each category for the perfect gift, and if you really like something you find on Muslim Gift Guide, we also provide links where you can make your purchases off-site from the respective sellers and their online stores. Currently, we do not sell any products on our website but instead focus the spotlight on great brands and products in one place.
We have a great team of MGG contributors who are always on the lookout for awesome products to feature. We couldn’t do it without them!
OA: The gifts you feature are indeed very special, masha Allah! What other cool projects does Muslim Gift Guide have on the go?
MGG: We launched a new blog this past Ramadhan, and we intend to provide useful articles geared towards aspiring creative entrepreneurs and individuals through it. This is where we want to get your creativity churning! You don’t necessarily have to have a business to chime in. The content is to benefit anyone who reads it.
We have a talented team of Guest Contributors from various industries who share their passions through writing about fun project tutorials, reflective posts, beneficial entrepreneurial tips and more. We are hoping to build this space into a supportive online community where people can help to uplift one another in their creative endeavours and pursuits.
We also have a special monthly segment on the blog called “Creative Spotlight” in which we interview the creatives behind the beautiful brands we feature on Muslim Gift Guide. We want it to be a source of inspiration for other aspiring entrepreneurs. The Creative Spotlight gives a chance for the creatives to share their story with the world through dialogue and behind-the-scene photographs of their process so the readers can get to know them personally. It’s about making connections and humanising the businesses. It’s also motivating for others who are considering entering the creative field featured.
We are currently in the works of adding cooler features to benefit our readers, so stay tuned for what’s to come in the near future, insha Allah!
OA: Who is Muslim Gift Guide geared towards?
MGG: We hope it will benefit many people by showcasing the Ummah’s best brands and products in one place. It aims to link discerning shoppers with businesses around the planet, and inspire entrepreneurs and young people to design high quality experiences for consumers.
OA: What do you look for when you’re searching for products to feature?
MGG: We feature products based on design, creativity, beauty and quality. We look for unique products which are masterfully designed and beautifully created, down to the fine details. To us, this means meticulous planning, thought and consideration in producing the item, with the goal of solving their consumer’s problem as priority. We also look for bright, sharp product photographs which leave the impression of an exemplary, professional product. If you know of a great brand you feel suits our MGG criteria, let us know about it!
OA: What has contributed to the expansion of Muslim entrepreneurship around the world?
MGG: There are two main reasons. Firstly, we’ve had a whole generation of existing creative individuals and entrepreneurs come online to share the work they’ve been involved with for a longer period of time, but perhaps only shared with their local or regional communities until recently. At the same time, we have a new wave of aspiring entrepreneurs creating beautiful fresh work and products. There are a lot more active discussions, support and initiatives around startups in Muslim communities, and far fewer barriers to international success.
OA: What has the response to Muslim Gift Guide been so far?
MGG: We have visitors of all walks of life and faiths on our website. The positive response has been incredibly encouraging from consumers, eager for a greater variety and quality of “Islamic” products, to small business owners, looking to be recognised in the noisy, saturated market. We received comments like, “Masha Allah! Loving it. What a brilliant way to support Muslim entrepreneurs!” to heartfelt du’as such as “LOVE this website! Masha Allah what a great start… I pray this project grows bigger and better than ever.”
Other similar feedback has surpassed our expectations, alhamdulillah, and we hope to continue to grow the website into something even greater, insha Allah! It’s our way of giving back to the Ummah.
Oishee Alam is a PhD student, lecturer in sociology and writer. She lives in Sydney, Australia with her husband and cat. Follow her exploits on Instagram or Snapchat: @riotersbloc.
Visit the Muslim Gift Guide at www.muslimgiftguide.com