Evangeline Do is founder and maker of Handmade Beginnings on Etsy. As a stay-at-home mom, she balances her creative business with motherhood.
Read on to learn more about her story...
- Tell us about yourself (name, location, affiliations, your story)!
Assalamu Alaikum, my name is Evangeline Do. I am a former Kindergarten Teacher, now stay-at-home mom of 4. I run a creative business called Handmade Beginnings, where I design handmade educational products, teach sewing lessons to children, and write about my handmade and teaching adventures on my blog. I love bike riding, reading, and spending time in nature.
- What inspired you to enter the field you work in?
I had my first daughter when I was in my final year of college studying Early Childhood Education, and I was really inspired to apply what I had been learning in school with her at home. I started my blog, Handmade Beginnings, in 2009 as a way to document all things I was doing with my daughter. I chose the name Handmade Beginnings, because I felt it was the perfect reflection of what I was doing, creating handmade educational aids for my daughter’s beginning years of childhood. My friends started becoming interested in purchasing my handmade creations and they also encouraged me to start teaching sewing lessons to their children.
- How does your faith influence your work?
My faith greatly influences my work. All my products are geared towards Muslim children, and aim to educate children as well as make them excited about their religion. My faith also motivates me to collaborate with organizations that have a similar passion for children and education. I am currently working with the Open Arms in Kayseri centre based in Turkey. At the centre, Syrian refugee women learn new skills such as crochet, a skill they can take with them to use in the future to support their families. While the women are upstairs creating, their children are downstairs learning Turkish and other educational topics to help prepare them for integration into neighbourhood schools. I am really honoured to be a part of this project and to have the opportunity to sell some of their beautiful handmade crochet items in my online shop.
- What was the best gift you ever received and why?
The best gift I ever received was a Quran from my husband before our marriage. At that point I never owned my own copy of the Quran. The Quran is such a beautiful gift because it is an endless source of blessing, learning and guidance. It is also something I hold dear because it was at a Quran academy that our families first met.
- What would you like to see on Muslim Gift Guide?
I would love to see educational products geared towards Muslim children, as well as anything handmade.
- What does it mean to be an entrepreneur?
To me, being an entrepreneur means being able to run a home business in a field I am passionate about while also having the flexibility to be a stay-at-home mom as well.
- How do you balance your creative business with personal life?
Balancing business and family life is always something that I am working on. Whenever I am teaching sewing lessons, my kids are spending time with my husband or relatives. I also try to do all my sewing and business related projects after Fajr prayer or after 8pm when the kids are sleeping. The most important thing I try to keep in mind is to set realistic goals for my business. I give myself the freedom to grow my business at a pace that will still allow me to give my small children the time and attention they need.
- Where can you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
In the next 5 years I hope to have written a children’s book. In the next 10 years I would love to open my own studio for children, insha’Allah.
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