Once a month, we will be featuring amazing creative Muslim brands and businesses from around the world who share their passion for beauty, design and creativity. For our very first post, we’re excited to interview the talented founders of The Friday Collective, a collection of paper goods and related hand-print products offering gift solutions that inspire thought and contemplation. They offer a wide selection of beautiful greeting cards and limited edition art prints inspired by a wide variety of quotes, thoughts and expressions by notable figures.
Read on to get inspired!
1. Tell us about yourself (name, location, affiliations, your story)!
Fareena Chanda: Based in Toronto, Canada; Co-founder @fridaycollective ; Interdisciplinary Artist & Designer
Nermin Moufti: Based in Phoenix (Arizona), USA; Co-founder @fridaycollective; Graphic Designer
We met in 2010 while doing our Masters of Fine Arts at OCAD University in Toronto. Both of us had recently moved to the city and immediately bonded when we realized that we were both global nomads and enthusiasts of all things paper and print – we have been friends and collaborators ever since. Shortly after getting our MFAs we decided to combine two of our greatest passions: sacred knowledge and paper goods. In 2013, on a fateful Friday, we launched The Friday Collective!
2. What inspired you to enter the field you work in?
Fareena: I’ve been fortunate enough to live in seven countries and travel globally through my life. Doing so has given me an interesting perspective on what it means to be geographically and temporally transient. I have chosen art as a medium to express this perspective and as a way to share my thoughts and observations. Through my work, I invite people to self-reflect about the world around them.
Nermin: Graphic design to me has always been a practice whereby philosophical, social and spiritual notions can be explored and unpacked. I love solving problems through visual communications and design and it continues to enrich the way I view the world around me everyday.
3. What was the best gift you ever received and why?
Fareena: Most recently, a cordless drill; very practical and useful!
Nermin: Recently a friend gifted me a book called The Forty Rules of Love: A Novel of Rumi by Elif Shafak. The book is beautiful and deeply inspiring. Ever since I’ve been determined to create a collection for The Friday Collective inspired by Shams Al Tabrizi’s 40 Rules of Love.
4. How does your faith influence your work?
The Friday Collective is deeply inspired by our spirituality and our relationship to our faith; the pluralistic and eclectic nature of Islam is an intrinsic part of our being and continuously inspires us to ‘be’ true to ourselves. A good wealth of the content that informs and inspires our products is derived from sacred Islamic wisdom and knowledge. Many quotes by prominent historical Muslim scholars and poets have appeared in our artwork. Some of these figures include Ibn Ata’illah Al-Iskandari, Farīd al-Dīn Attar, Mawlana Jalal ud-Din Rumi among many others.
5. What does it mean to be an entrepreneur?
We are still learning to be entrepreneurs!
6. How do you balance your creative business with personal life?
Creativity, or an atmosphere of creativity is part of our personal lives, and Alhamdolillah our partners and families support and foster this environment. The reality is that bucketing creativity into time slots can be challenging; but practically it is important to maintain a healthy balance between ‘business’ time and ‘personal’ family time by keeping an open eye, heart and mind to all that surrounds us. Creativity is sparked often outside of the studio and in the midst of playful encounters with friends and family. Maintaining this exploratory mindset can often blur the lines between work time and play time and yield great results!
7. Where do you see The Friday Collective in 5 years?
At the moment, we consider ourselves budding entrepreneurs; there is much to learn and a great deal of growth to happen, particularly in understanding our market segment better. Ultimately, The Friday Collective aspires to become a platform of knowledge sharing and a brand that inspires reflection through art. In five years we’d like to see our products side by side with competing mainstream brands and providing a refreshing alternative gift solution in the paper goods and stationery industry. We would also like to continue experimenting with methods and materials not often seen in the market, including screenprinted works and multi-dimensional works – that way it keeps things fresh for us as artists and for our customers.
8. What would you like to see on Muslim Gift Guide?
We loved going through the Muslim Gift Guide! Perhaps, in the spirit of pluralism, we’d like to see a section of gifts Muslims can give to people of other faiths/cultures – things that express who we are in an accessible way. We love finding inspiration and beauty in other cultures, and it would be cool to share with others in that exchange.
Follow The Friday Collective:
photo credit The Friday Collective