by Blessed Ummi
Say bismillah and just do it. Find your why and let that be your anchor. At a time where passion is dangled like a carrot and success can be achieved at lightning speed, it’s important to know why you want to do what you want to do. – Sis Faten Bamadhaj
Sister Faten Bamadhaj, whom we named our Faten Exclusive Dress after, is founder and self-taught designer at Petite Dress Boutique, a startup specialising in beautiful custom-made dresses for little girls. Faten’s story reminds us of what passion can do when you won’t let it stop you. Read more about this mother of 3 children, including a toddler, as she shares her journey in finding her dreams and following through with her goals.
Tell us about what you’re involved with right now!
I’m a business owner of a boutique design label for girls, Petite Dress Boutique. We are well-known for our stunning fabric combinations, well-made and high quality exclusive pieces. Established in July 2010, Petite Dress Boutique is a Singapore registered company. Our pieces are locally sewn by talented and dedicated dressmakers. We work closely with local social enterprises and keep our products ethically and honestly produced.
Tell us how it all started with Petite Dress Boutique! What vision did you have for this initiative?
Petite Dress Boutique started from home, from the heart. I had just given birth to my second son and was not motivated to return to the workforce due to some initial health concerns. I have always been surrounded by inspiring women who have been in business, mainly my own mother and mother-in-law. My husband suggested that I could help his mum out while starting my own business. While surfing the Internet one day, I stumbled upon Etsy and saw beautiful handcrafted dresses and wondered if such a thing could exist in Singapore; women who are gifted with the skill of dressmaking sewing beautiful dresses for little girls! My main guiding vision has been providing an opportunity for women who can sew and earn some income while sewing from home.
We love that you source local tailors! Who does Petite Dress Boutique cater to and what does it provide for customers?
Petite Dress Boutique creates beautiful, fun experiences for our customers. Exclusive, fun and functional dresses and outfits beautifully made from 100% designer cotton specially for your little darlings . Our dresses embody confidence, respect and modesty while still being fun and youthful for young girls.
How has the experience been so far? Tell us about your feelings!
Alhamdullilah! It has been surreal! It took me from someone who doesn’t know how to thread a needle to a novice dressmaker. I still have ‘pinch me’ moments looking at my journey this far. I am my own walking testimonial. If I can pick up sewing, so can you!
It was rather challenging at first to find the right team of dressmakers as I believe it’s rather unheard of in Singapore. While we could have hired professional tailors, we felt that the average mum has awesome skills too! Alhamdullilah I have been blessed with supportive confidants who always cheer me on and Alhamdullilah I am working with ladies from a social enterprise and a few stay-at-home mothers too.
How do you cope with motherhood and a business? How is a typical day like?
If you are looking for a special template, I don’t have it! Do you? As both my boys are in school in the morning, I aim to get most of my tasks done by then. Alhamdullilah I have a helper at home to help me with the housework and babysit my toddler which allows me to have that focus when I need to press on. Mid-afternoons to evenings are packed with kids’ activities and play. My husband and I catch up on our daily happenings at night and we have a mandatory date night. When the workload gets hectic, I go to my umicave and finish my work while my husband tends to the kids and mealtimes. Alhamdullilah for a supportive hands-on spouse!
What is the best advice you would give mothers who have a similar passion like yours and want to start something?
Say bismillah and just do it. Find your why and let that be your anchor. At a time where passion is dangled like a carrot and success can be achieved at lightning speed, it’s important to know why you want to do what you want to do. I recently had that epiphany myself after speaking with someone whose advice and work I respect and admire.
Who is your strength and inspiration? How does this person keep you going?
My strength and inspiration is in mothers. Its mothers like my mother-in-law who had to pull herself up and work hard to provide for her three children. She is a walking testament of what constant faith and hard work can lead you to achieve. She is 60 years old but Alhamdulillah still going strong travelling to various countries doing her work. Its mothers like my own mother, who was alone in a new country yet dared to take risks and ventured out of her comfort zone. I am so blessed to have these role models in my life.
To honour Faten, our exquisite Faten Exclusive Dress was named after her.
The Inspirational Ummi Project was born out of a desire to share the secret stories that mothers hold behind their everyday struggles. Mothers are known for their quiet strength, and every mother is inspirational. Blessed Ummi hopes to share more of such stories because we know that sharing makes the motherhood journey less lonely, because we know that struggle is the middle name of motherhood. Struggle can be beautiful, and struggle need not be lonely. There is much we can learn from one another. All ummis we feature will be honoured by having a collection named after her and all stories will be permanently on the web Just a little something we can do to leave behind a legacy of stories to empower current and future mothers, and to inspire all of us to live life to the fullest despite our own personal life journeys. This Ramadhan, we feature 4 amazing ladies whom we named our Eid collections after. Read about them below:
- Umm Anissa – Founder of Muslim Kid Genius, Doctoral Student specialising in Education, Founder of Artique Visuelle SG
- Maryam Shaistah – Homeschooling Mother, Owner and Baker at Mary Hadalittleoven and a Montessori Advocate