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Why Should Consumers Choose Handmade and Homemade Over Big Brands?

Zawjah Ali talks to Amna Haider about the ethic behind her handmade lifestyle and business.

A cautious consumer looks for health benefits rather than to fall for frivolous or glamorous products whose prime concern is to increase a big business’s market share. On the contrary, homemade products may not have a huge fund to compete with those heavy-budget promotional campaigns, but the little bizzes generally care for the more valued things in life, like our health and the environment.



Zawjah Ali: What exactly is Aura Homemade and Handmade?

Amna Haider : Aura Homemade and Handmade is my initiative to make and use healthier alternatives for products most commonly used and bought from commercial producers.



ZA: What is the reason for Aura H&H’s existence?

AH: Noting an increased dependence and surrender to commercially dictated trends, I desired to revive the passion and the realization that we need to return to more self-sufficient lifestyles in which we value the products for what they are made of, the work invested in them and, hence, hopefully lead to a less consumerist mentality and appreciation of quality over quantity.



ZA: How does this notion of homemade contribute to people and the environment’s welfare?

AH: From my point of view it’s not the products themselves, although they’re great as well, but rather the inspiration I try to seep into people’s subconscious that all this is not out of their reach and they can make them on their own.



ZA: What are your future plans?

AH: Living sustainably on a farm and/or opening a sustainable shop for fresh and quality homemade & handmade products.



ZA: Do you intend to introduce new colors to your lip stains?

AH: No. The trouble with variety is that it encourages consumerist behavior. The more we have at our disposal, the pickier we become and the more we use and implicitly waste. While I recognize the practical need of a pretty colored lip care product, I don’t go out of my way in copying market trends.



ZA: Do you think people are becoming more concerned for their health rather than worshiping brands?

AH: Unfortunately, not yet. In nearly everything that’s marketed, from medicine to fashion styles, and even the concept of “health” and “healthy” products, there is a general misinformation dictated once again by marketing campaigns that just want to sell. And so many potential customers have unrealistic expectations and ideals regarding what “natural” and “healthy” actually mean. So much more needs to be done on the matter of raising awareness, education and inspiration.I am trying to do my part as best as I can through my website and work. People in general need to stop listening to what others say and start questioning everything and do their own research. There is no one in this world that holds one’s best interest at heart more than that person herself.



ZA: In your opinion, why do people buy your homemade products?

AH: Most of my customers know me and understand my work ethic and the reason behind the existence of my products. In case of any questions I try to clarify any issues as clearly as possible.



ZA: Tell us something about yourself.

AH: I am a very simple person, yearning to live a simple life. I homeschool my two sons (aged 6 and 14) with the hope of raising more responsible and mentally unchained persons. I cook my own food the healthy way, sew my own clothes, I recycle as much as I can, and I love practicing yoga. I try to share whatever little knowledge I have through tutorials and workshops as much as my time permits and I dream of a better world where we learn to work for the benefit of each other rather than in spite of one another.



Currently Aura H&H products are only available in Karachi, but aurahnh.com is chock full of great recipes and tutorials you can try your hand at.



Try Amna’s Homemade Sugar-free Chocolate (and Nuts) Spread here



Zawjah Ali writes for Hiba magazine and blog, the Muslimah network and currently for SISTERS magazine. She is a homemaker and mother of two, alhumdulilah. Zawjah has completed her O and A levels and was half through her graduation in psychology when she married. Writing is her medium to give dawah for the sake of Allah.