What was the reason behind starting The Muslim Sticker Company?
The impetus came when my eldest son started madrassah and I began homeschooling my daughter. I was eager to find out how the Prophet (SAW) raised his children and how he taught them about Islam. Every hadith I read described how loving, considerate and kind the Prophet (SAW) was towards his own children and he (SAW) instructed Muslim parents and teachers to be patient and compassionate when teaching children.
Unfortunately, I found there was an anomaly between the sunnah of the Prophet (SAW) and the reality of how some Muslim teachers taught Islam to their students. I could be accused of generalising here, however many sisters would agree that they do not have fond memories of the heavy-handed discipline meted out in Qur’an classes and madrassahs. Hence, I wanted to help Muslim parents and teachers educate and discipline their children in a positive way, rather than focusing on the negatives.
What research did you carry out before beginning your endeavour?
I had worked in a state school and was impressed by the positive behaviour strategies that teachers used, i.e. reward stickers and badges, class reward charts, praise certificates and so on. Commonly, the students were motivated to work and responded to positive feedback rather than being told off and reprimanded. At home, I was making my own Islamic behaviour chart and certificates. Initially, I looked for Islamic stickers that I could use but was unable to find any. Later, when I worked in an Islamic school I found that teachers faced the same problem and spent a ludicrous amount of time producing their own material. I was using stickers at home and school, but I wanted stickers with an Islamic focus and I suddenly realised that what I should do then was follow my instincts and design some myself. I used these products every day; I understood them. Therefore, I was in the position of the consumer and didn’t need to do tonnes of research; I was the target audience!
Tell us more about your range of products.
Our products can be divided into three main categories. Firstly, resources that parents can use. There’s a Ramadhan chart, counting down the days of the holy month; a salah chart encouraging children to keep their five daily prayers; and my personal favourite is the Juz Amma tree, a wonderfully colourful and fun way to encourage young Muslims to memorise the final part of the Qur’an. We have 21 different types of sticker packs and the range includes stickers for Eid, good behaviour, girls, boys, salah and wudhu. The stickers are available in English, French and Arabic.
The second category is resources for teachers and home educators. This includes 3 types of teachers’ stickers and pre-inked stamps that make marking quick and easy, as well as badges, certificates and medals for special occasions, such as award assemblies.
The third category is a new area we decided to branch into: decorations for Islamic festivals, i.e. Ramadhan, Eid, Hajj, Aqiqah, Umrah. As a parent, I wanted to make Ramadhan and Eid truly special and memorable for my own children and for the wider Muslim community. Via the company, I realised I could do that by producing Ramadhan bunting, Ramadan balloons, Eid bunting, Eid banners, Eid partyware, etc. I am constantly thinking of new additions! Living in a non-Muslim country, I think it’s so important to create a buzz and an exciting atmosphere in our homes during Ramadhan and Eid.
How do you come up with your ideas and designs?
I have been blessed with three very opinionated kids! And a posse of nieces and nephews as well. I always ask their opinion – my daughter has the final say on our girls’ stickers, and my sons chose the cars for the boys stickers. I do my market research on my nieces and nephews and their parents. They don’t hold back when it comes to giving me constructive criticism! Currently, I am working in a state school so if I find a resource that works well at school I make an Islamic version of it – that’s how I got the idea for our pre-inked stamps and new marking stickers for teachers.
What is the most rewarding aspect of running The Muslim Sticker Company?
I feel really pleased when mums and teachers tell me how our products have helped them motivate their children Islamically and when I see our stickers in shop windows and on Facebook pages. Our products are also sold internationally, in large retail stores and by sisters who sell them to other mothers via Facebook.
What are your plans for the future?
I am designing a set of sticker activity books to help children understand the following topics: Allah is our Creator and Miracles of the Messengers. I have already uploaded educational videos for children on our Youtube channel, and would like to create some more.
Farhat Amin, housewife, mum and teacher, is at the forefront of creating innovative and exciting Islamic products for Muslim children. She is the co-founder of The Muslim Sticker Company and has developed motivational stickers and charts that are used by Muslim parents and teachers worldwide. Farhat established The Muslim Sticker Company 5 years ago and it now sells over 50 unique products. You can find her products at http://muslimstickers.com/.