Manal Aman started Hello Holy Days because she didn’t see spreads in her favourite magazines about decorating for holidays like Eid or Ramadan. As a Muslim, Manal wanted to see her traditions and holidays represented in the mainstream, just like Christmas or Easter. So she created Hello Holy Days to do just this, by creating products to celebrate Islamic holidays, including cards, gift bags and children’s decor.
Manal is watching her dream come true, as Hello Holy Days has been featured in Martha Stewart Magazine, Buzzfeed and Architectural Digest. Meraki spoke with her to learn about her journey to this point. You can follow Hello Holy Days on its journey on Instagram @helloholydays.
You make cards and gift bags, among other things. They’re not huge items, but they make a huge impact! Could you tell us one of your favourite customer stories?
At my pop-up shop launch event for my Ramadan 2019 collection, I had a customer who was of a different faith come by to get Eid cards for her Muslim coworkers and friends. I thought it was very kind that she was going out of her way like that. This was just two days after the Christchurch attack in New Zealand and she said she wanted to write Eid cards because of attacks like that. A greeting card is a great way to tell someone you matter and stand in solidarity with them. I thought that was very heartwarming.
(Credit: Hello Holy Days)
How did you get interested in creating your gorgeous handmade paper goods?
I’m very research oriented. I don’t make things because of any personal inclination towards them. I conduct market research, I listen to what my target customer wants to see and then I create just that. I can’t create everything that my target market wants to see all at once so I gradually roll it out. Last year, I launched high quality children’s decor. This year, I launched greeting cards and gift bags and in doing so, slowly but surely, my product offering is expanding.
Manufacturing is a big learning curve for any handmade business. How do find the right people to work with to create consistently beautiful products?
Follow your gut when meeting with new people or companies. Anytime I haven’t, I’ve regretted it and faced a loss. It can be hard to say no sometimes because you just want to be nice or give someone a chance.
Anytime I haven’t listened to my gut, I’ve regretted it.
(Credit: Hello Holy Days)
Who do you look to for inspiration?
That’s a tough one to answer. It may sound cheesy or overdone, but I think for any creative person, inspiration is all around. You never know what everyday thing you might be doing, when all of a sudden an idea comes to my mind.
How can we create more diversity and representation in the handmade and craft space?
Show up. Be your authentic self.
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