WISE II Entrepreneur Profile: Amna
Amna’s Business: Ibda’ (Creation) Embroidery
Amna is from Arabeh village outside of Jenin, Palestine where traditional embroidery was very much a part of her childhood. As she grew older, she wanted to learn more about the craft. She purchased any book she found on embroidery and practiced on her own to master the trade.
When Amna first began producing pieces for sale in 2005, she worked with two fellow embroiderers. After some time, she realized that they lacked the ambition and motivation to expand their market base. Recognizing that they were holding back her own potential, Amna branched off and began working independently. She used the savings she accrued while working as a florist and wool tailor to begin her own business. Once on her own, she began producing more items and attending exhibitions, the most recent being the Seebat festival in Jenin in April 2015.
Amna, who heard about the WISE II program at Tomorrow’s Youth Organization from the Jenin Chamber of Commerce, has learned so much about herself and her business through the program. On a personal level, she has gained self-confidence and commitment in herself and her work. This has been accomplished through the various sessions provided by the WISE II program and also from the support of her fellow entrepreneurs. With her newly acquired marketing skills, Amna has expanded her professional network and participated in exhibitions through this new platform. She knows that the WISE II program was the necessary step that she needed to advance her business to the next level.
The single most significant barrier that Amna faces as a businesswoman is the outdated cultural beliefs of the community. She has lived outside of the West Bank and is accustomed to her personal and professional freedom. In the community she lives in now, her neighbors and friends are not supportive and often question her intentions as an entrepreneur. This does not discourage her though, and her husband has been supportive every step of the way.
Currently, Amna produces her embroidery pieces from her home and is in the process of registering her business with the Jenin Chamber of Commerce. She dreams of one day owning a shop that will provide enough space for her to purchase and store the necessary machinery for her craft. She is always on the lookout for a modern take on traditional Palestinian embroidery and has incorporated the craft into wedding attire and the uniforms of Dabke (a traditional Palestinian dance) troupes in Jenin.
– Futoon Qadri, Outreach Coordinator