Jinan’s Business: Needle and Thread
Originally from Nablus, Palestine, Jinan learned the tradition of embroidery as a hobby when she was a child. After getting married, she started to make embroidered household items such as pillows and lampshades to decorate her new home. When Jinan hosted guests, they would admire her work and began requesting her to produce similar items for their home. It was then that she realized that she could turn her hobby into a business. In 2000, Jinan created her informal business with the savings she accumulated from working at a sewing factory in high school and her early adult years.
Jinan is no stranger to Tomorrow’s Youth Organization. She lives in the same neighborhood, Khallet Al Amood, as the center and she has taken advantage of this proximity for years; her son is enrolled in the early childhood education program, her daughter attended after-school non-formal educational programs, and Jinan participates in The Women’s Group, a program offering holistic support to mothers in the community.
Jinan values her role as a mother and wife but also acknowledges it as her biggest barrier to her success as a businesswoman. She enjoys her time in the home cooking and helping her children with their school-work. In fact, she goes a step further and tutors neighborhood children as well. Jinan recognizes the gender norms in the society influence her belief that this should be her main focus in life. This is something that she still struggles with but is working to change by delegating some of the daily chores to her family so that she can devote more time to her business.
The first time Jinan ever left Nablus was just a couple of months ago to go to a WISE II sponsored event in Ramallah. She was a bit intimidated by the idea but her husband ensured that she had someone to travel with who knew exactly where to go. Now, she jumps at the idea of traveling around the West Bank for business related events.
Jinan has never taken any courses related to business management in the past. The WISE II program provided her with a firsthand look at the economic and business concepts necessary for an entrepreneur. From the coaching sessions provided by the Small Enterprise Center (SEC), she has learned how to better balance the amount of time and effort she exerts with the profit she gains. Jinan continues to learn something new every day and is eager to retain that knowledge. She keeps all of the educational material that she has acquired through the various WISE II training sessions by her bed so she can review them before she goes to sleep.
What makes Jinan’s pieces different is that she uses nontraditional Palestinian colors and designs in her products. She is now taking it a step further by incorporating embroidery with crocheting to produce baby clothing. Recently, the demand for her product has exceeded her production ability but luckily she has her high school-aged daughter to help out in the summer months.
–WISE II Entrepreneur Jinan interviewed by Outreach Coordinator Futoon Qadri