Photographed above: Mayor Rick and Melanie Stopfer browse various crafts on display
The Bohra Business and Art Guild (BBAG) of Dallas, Texas, was formed by Durriya Dawoodbhoy and Jameela Lavangia to help women entrepreneurs of the Dawoodi Bohra community of Dallas.
BBAG hosted their first event in March at Saifee Masjid in Irving, Texas. More than twenty vendors from across the United States displayed a variety of crafts and goods including: henna art, reusable bamboo towels, and published books. In addition to craft stalls, the day-long event provided ample family-friendly activities and food stalls.
Several Irving city leaders, including the Mayor and members of City Council, the Irving Schools Foundation, and the League of Women Voters, attended the event and provided a great opportunity for these Bohra businesswomen to share their skills more broadly.
“It was a fulfilling experience because not only did people come by and appreciate my work but they also made purchases,” said Lavangia. She operated her booth with her husband, displaying her original graphic designs and wooden home decor. The event was a success as several vendors sold out within hours of the event. “The attention to detail that they have on [the crafts] is absolutely beautiful,” said Irving city councilman Phil Riddle. “It’s a great day to reach out into the community.” Click here to see ICTN’s coverage of the event.
Following the success of the March event, BBAG received feedback that women in the community wanted to participate in local craft markets as well. In October, an opportunity presented itself at the 2022 Texas Pinners Conference, a Pinterest-based arts and crafts expo. Held in nearby Fort Worth, Texas, Dawoodi Bohra women entrepreneurs were eager to participate.
Henna business owner, Tasneem (Raj) Taskeen, has attended past Pinners Conferences. This year she was excited to go with members of her community, “I was not alone in this – I had people to support me.” Dawoodbhoy added, “We had some great conversations with visitors who were keen on learning about the rida [Bohra women’s attire] and our culture…” Overall, it was a great experience for these budding entrepreneurs as summed up by Umme Kulsum Rangwala, “The Pinners Conference gave us a boost of confidence.”
Hoping to build on the successes of this year, BBAG members look to host and participate in more events in 2023.