Creating our own social business at the age of 9 and 7 is a feeling we can't describe. We would like to share with you the story of how our dream had come true. When you read this passage, leave your mind empty and fill it up with ideas for your dream. If our story has one message, it is that all dreams can come true if you follow them😊.
When we went as a family to build a library in a first nation community of Grassy Narrows, we were there experiencing and exploring the place.
As a family, we had started a mission to build 100 libraries around the world (www.libraryinaweek.com) and we have build 23 so far in 7 countries.
The Pow Wow was going on and the drums were loud, it was a magical atmosphere. We met an inspiring individual and his name was Jason Fobister. He had a very positive and calm energy around him.
We had a conversation like any other person until something incredible happened. When I told Jason, I was looking for artists, he surprised me and mentioned he was an artist and for his art was spiritual. When he painted, he felt free.
Jason showed me his art and what it meant to him. We sat down and listened to everything he said as the first nations songs and Pow Wow drums played out in the background. It was a magical moment. When Jason was explaining his art to us and what the paints meant to him, it was like he was in his own world 🌎!
After that conversation we felt excited, motivated and inspired. We knew the world needed to hear his stories as well. In that moment, we thought about launching a business that supports artists around the world. That brings their incredible stories, their struggles, their message and their dream to life. In that moment, we decided to not just let this be an idea but to take action to launch our dream. The world will not change, and neither will live if we wait for others to act, all of us are the change the world needs. No one can stop a person filled with passion who wants to make a difference in this world, not even themselves.🙂
We wanted to build this business our way. The first thing my sister and I planned to do was to make our logo. We wanted to make a logo that was impactful and communicated our message. We did not want to hire professionals to do this as every business that comes from the heart is personal. We wanted our idea and our personalities reflected in it. After trying many designs, we though of one where we were holding the earth.💙
The logo was hand drawn with love and we drew ourselves and how we wanted to express ourselves. Our personalities are reflected in the logo as Fatima 👩is the more focused on and Amna👧 is the energetic one all over the place! After completing several designs, we finally selected one and we love it!❤❤❤
The next step was creating our website and we chose Shopify after consulting with my parents. We worked non-stop on creating our website, learning how to configure themes, getting all the right images of our art, creating a YouTube channel where we could keep our videos, selecting the sizes we wanted to promote and so many other details. We worked non-stop on creating our website and to see the dream come true and for the world to see it was a feeling we can’t describe.
Our parents always encourage us to focus on the solution and not the problem. We hit many challenges while trying to design the website but we always knew if we kept looking we will find the answer!
This may surprise you, but this is not our first business or work experience. We have been project managers at Experience Your Life Expo for two years now. The Expo is one of the largest youth empowerment events in Canada where university and college students can find jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities. We had been running the retail store at the Expo as well as handling parts of the customer service. For example this is Fatima in 2016 at the Experience Your Life Expo. We may be small but we have big dreams and we are so lucky to be surrounded by role models and supports who believe in us and help us.
As a family, for many years all our trips would be focused on making a difference. We never realised how much we were actually learning in these trips. For example, the picture below are from 2015 when we visited Dominican Republic and met an incredible artist by the name Alberto. His art was incredible but he lived in a one room house with his family of four. I wanted to do so much for him back then but I just did now know how.
The picture below is from April 2018 when we went to build a library in Mexico. The best part was that I was treated like family by the local people. There was no difference. I could see that even though I did not speak the language, they were very similar to me. I made amazing friends and again I felt I needed to do more to make a difference in their lives.
Now comes the best part – the big launch of our business.
We decided to launch our business on 29th September in front of thousands of people at the Expo and to our family of global change makers at the dinner the night before as people had flown in from all parts of the world including Singapore, Panama and all over Canada. It was the perfect moment and we were so excited. During the planning for the launch, we kept thinking about the best way we could bring the artist to life, to bring their stories, their message and their journey. Jason is such a wonderful human and we love him, and we wanted to do the best possible thing to represent his art. Then an idea came to mind – if we want to bring the artist to life for people – how about we invite the artist to be there in person for the big launch? I still remember the feeling when then idea came, and I got on the phone instantly to invite Jason. We were on top of the world when he accepted our invite.
A few days later, Jason arrived in Toronto. We were so excited to see him and picked him up from the airport. This was the first time Jason had been to Toronto and we were honoured to show him around. We headed straight to downtown Toronto and had an amazing time walking around and going on top of the CN tower. Neither us nor Jason had gone on top of the CN tower, so it was a very special moment for all of us. We walked on the glass floor (we had never been that high off the ground!). We saw so much of Toronto from the tower and all the building, cars and people looked like a miniature playset. It was a reminder that things can look very different in life and in business and what you see in front of you is not always the only way.
After an overnight sleep, one of the best days of our lives started on 28th Sep. Everyone started to fly-in from all over the world including Rob from Singapore who instantly liked what we were trying to do. It was a dream come true when one of my role models, Major Alexia, Commanding Officer of 417 Squadron of the Royal Canadian Airforce🚁 flew in from Edmonton that day just to be with us.
We were also really excited to meet Rob who had flown in from Singapore. He was so kind and supportive. He gave us amazing advice and became our customer! It was so exciting to have the support of such an amazing person who believes in our vision. We later found out that Rob was a senior business executive but what meant the most to us was how he was so kind to our idea.
The event was sold out and we were so excited to be in the company of so many amazing people who inspire us.
It cannot describe the feeling of meeting all these amazing people. He was so kind and encouraging that we felt we could do anything in this world as we have good people like Rob, Major Alexia and so many others around us. A book about Major Alexia “Alexia learns to Fly” had been my inspiration for the longest time!🚁
At the dinner on the 28th, we launched our business. Jason is not just an accomplished painter but also an incredible singer and dancer. He blessed the evening with his incredible energy and a first nations honour song and he had bought a first nation drum. We also spoke from our heart and it was a very special moment for us. We had presented in front of 150 people! It was amazing to see the people interacted with Jason and loved what we are doing to bring the world together. Our dream of bringing his story to life was coming true.✨
The next day was equally exciting as we got up early and prepared our booth at the Experience Your Life Expo. Nothing had prepared us for the love and support we got, both from volunteers at our booth, the customers and above all our artist. We presented with him again in the breakout room and he moved the audience to tears again with his story, reasons behind each painting and courage.😃
Preparing hard for our launch presentation!
We had all of Jason's nine painting printed and on display.
Our volunteers for the booth were amazing!
So this is how our first dream of opening a business came true. Do visit the website and click on each art, each art has a video attached to it where Jason explains the story and inspiration. It will move you.
Thank you so much for reading out story. Please do connect on LinkedIn and take action to buy an art. It will directly help us provide ongoing support to our artist. Fatima is also a speaker who has spoken in 6 conferences - we will be happy to come out and share out story with you. Below is video that captures this whole journey in six minutes !
Wish us luck!