Mississauga family invents brilliant inflatable lawn decorations for Ramadan
The inflatable holiday decoration industry has blossomed to new heights recently, if the advent and popularity of that human centipede-style raccoon thing is any indication.
You'll see them everywhere in December when walking down the street, browsing online, or (in normal times) hitting up Canadian Tire for string lights — but they're all Santas, reindeers, snowmen, candy canes and other Christmas-themed blobs.
After witnessing how excited her children got when they saw the big, blown-up lawn decorations in her neighbourhood this past holiday season, Mississauga-based entrepreneur Basharat Rehman wondered why something similar couldn't be done for other holidays — notably Ramadan, which begins this year on April 12 and ends one month later.
So, she and her husband decided to do it themselves.
The resulting business, called New Traditions Store, launched last week, on Jan. 7, and business is already booming.
"We are the first business which has launched the idea of outdoor inflatables (think Santa and Rudolph inflatables) but for Ramadan and Muslim holidays," Rehman told blogTO this week.
"We wanted to use lawn decorations as a way to break down barriers between Muslim/non-Muslim communities and spread the joy that we experience during our holidays."
Within just one week, the site has been flooded with orders from across Canada and the U.S.
"Demand is much higher than anticipated and we are working with our suppliers to order more," said Rehman, whose company donates a portion of each sale to charity.
"One of the fundamentals of the month of Ramadan is 'giving' and part of our business model is to donate a portion of each sale to local and global causes on a monthly basis," she explained.
"For this month we are partnering with Nisa Homes, a local charity which provides temporary shelter for marginalized women fleeing domestic abuse and violence."
While clearly a hit business-wise, bringing these high-quality inflatable outdoor Ramadan decorations is about much more than turning a profit for the New Traditions Store.
"The main source of inspiration arose when we saw the glee in our children's eyes as they admired Christmas inflatables and lights during the holiday season," she told blogTO. "Right then, we realized that something similar to that doesn't exist for Muslim holidays, holidays that we celebrate. Although we all decorate inside our homes, rarely is it ever displayed for our neighbours."
Not only is it a chance to outwardly celebrate a beautiful holiday, but the inflatables serve to educate people about what Ramadan is (and isn't.)
"Surprisingly, most people viewed Ramadan as just a month long obligation of not eating and drinking between sunrise and sunset," said Rehman.
"We realized that it was time to portray the real meaning of Ramadan; a month-long festival of celebration, practice, and self-reflection. We thought that there was no better way to do so than by lawn inflatables which will not only showcase our joy, but also bring awareness to the community about our holidays."
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