We’re pleased to announce Sara Ajabri as AM Women’s eighth American Muslim Woman of the Month!

Sara Ajabri is originally from Southern California. She married at the young age of 18 to her Moroccan husband, upon which she moved to Florida where she completed her college education. She graduated with a degree in international relations, and a minor in Spanish. She also studied Modern Standard Arabic and Quranic Arabic in the Moroccan dialect. She currently resides in Virginia, and has three children.

She is the founder of Bismillah Box, which is a subscription box for Muslim women. Each month, subscribers receive a beautiful box filled with five to seven Islamic-related products centered around a specific theme aimed to deepen the believer’s deen.

Bismillah Box was created out of a need Sara saw for more trendy Islamic products for Muslimahs. She has found that the inspirational devotional products within the box created by a variety of Muslim artists, authors and entrepreneurs have helped increase her knowledge and connection with the religion, and she hopes it will have the same impact on others.

Similarly, she created a kid’s version filled with top-rated Islamic products centered around an age-appropriate Islamic theme to stimulate children’s imagination and inspire their love for Islam as well.

In our chat, Sara shares all about Bismillah Box, and the story behind why she created it, as well as some behind-the-scenes details. She even gives us some hints about upcoming boxes and themes!

Read on to learn more about her and her amazing business!

What is the purpose of Bismillah Box?

I love supporting Muslim small businesses, especially artists and artisans with our monthly print. We’ll either commission a work or use a print that they already have that really inspired us for the month. We’ve also worked with Hello Holy Days! and Noorys, which is a new hijab brand. We have favorite artists, such as our box designer, Designed by Sanna. She’s the one who designed our beautiful pink box and our kid’s box. We also like to feature the latest published Islamic books that are in our niche. Then, include a lifestyle product or aromatherapy item. We just love to center items around an Islamic theme that can deepen your faith and increase your iman, Inshallah.

Imagine walking into Target, and Target was targeted toward Muslim girls.”

That’s amazing, and it’s really helpful because I am always trying to find Muslim businesses to support and, sometimes, they can be really hard to find. So, I love that you’re bringing them together and making it easier for people to have access to small businesses and their products!

Yeah, a lot of subscribers will go back to the business that we featured and purchase more from them in the future, like buy a journal for their friend, or purchase the soap again for themselves. So I really love that we’re able to spread the word about Muslim entrepreneurs and artists.

What led you to create Bismillah Box?

My husband had just bought this new Islamic art for our wall. He got it from a Middle Eastern store where you buy your mint and eggplant. It’s one of those old-fashioned wood frames with the black velvet and gold embroidery, and I was thinking, ‘It’s nice, but it would be lovely to have something more my style, like trendy artwork that was targeted toward Muslims.’ So that’s when I thought about Bismillah Box. I was like, ‘Imagine walking into Target, and Target was targeted toward Muslim girls.’ We still have that art, but we have other art now from local artists that I have fallen in love with through Bismillah Box. Bismillah Box has really increased my knowledge and understanding of Islam, Alhamdulillah.

I absolutely love that, and I think it’s something we can all relate to as Muslims living in America because there are very limited things that are geared towards us. I’ve always loved the idea behind subscription boxes like FabFitFun, even though I have never subscribed to one myself. So, when I heard about Bismillah Box, I thought it was amazing that there is one catered to Muslim women, and our needs, styles, and interests.

Yeah, that’s what I thought of with Bismillah Box. It’s like FabFitFun or CAUSEBOX but for the average American girl who happens to be Muslim.

On your website, it says that the box is designed to deepen the believer’s deen. Can you talk about this a bit more? How does it do that, and what advice do you have for women looking to deepen their deen?

I don’t really spread my own limited knowledge of Islam. Rather, I would like to showcase other amazing scholars and artists and have their words and works inspire us as Muslimahs, and increase our devotion, Inshallah. My new favorite book is Big Little Steps: A Woman’s Guide to Embracing Islam, which is really helpful for reverts, and lifelong Muslims who are looking to connect with their faith a little more. The Dua Journal by Umeda Islamova is a game changer as well. And for a bit of humor and reality, I love checking out Huda Fahmy’s IG page for her Yes, I’m Hot In This comic. I just love looking at Islam from the perspective of a woman my age. And that’s my inspiration lately.

“They call it their ‘Happy Mail.’”

I do too! Those sound like really helpful resources, and it’s great that women are being exposed to them through your subscription box! How do you choose the theme and products you’re going to have for each month’s box?

We try to go by what our subscribers want. So, it’s mostly me listening to subscriber feedback. Our Anniversary Box is always popular because it’s the Rainbow Quran Box. Our best seller is obviously our Ramadan Box, followed by our Eid Box. The other boxes that we have to fill in are other times of the year, and that’s when I’m looking out for the latest publications from Kube publishing, the UK publishing house, and independent authors who are publishing their books, and kind of theming the box around that usually.

What is this month’s theme?

The theme for this month is exciting because we decided to team up Bismillah Box with Bismillah Box Kids, and do a Salah Box for both the women and the kids. Both boxes have a prayer mat, and the women get a whole salah outfit. It’s a beautiful box. The women’s box has Prayers of the Pious by Omar Suleiman, which is a great book for reflection for before or after salah, and then some new products by Quote Lovin’, the UK designer that we love.

The kid’s box is so fun. It has books on prayer for kids and there are these beautiful prayer rugs that kids will be excited to pray on, Arabic tablets, stamp sets, and activity books all centered around salah. So, this month was super fun to curate.

That all sounds like so much fun, and it’s a great way of bringing Islam into the home, and bringing the family together to do faith-related activities that’ll increase the children’s knowledge and love for it.

Exactly, that’s what subscribers say they get excited about. They call it their “Happy Mail.” They love doing their unboxings. Alhamdulillah, I’m very grateful.

Is the box customizable?

Yeah, each month subscribers can customize their items in their box, such as the color of the rainbow Quran or last month’s design on their compact mirror from Quote Lovin’. So, each month there’s between one and three things usually that can be customized in your box.

“The reason I started the women’s box was because I was trying to identify with Islam from my perspective, as something I could relate to as an American girl, and I thought, ‘I can’t be the only one.'”

I love that you can kind of make it your own and choose based on your own personal taste and style!

It’s really fun and subscribers love to log in and choose their own personal style. If it was up to me, everything would be pink. But I try not to include only pink, I’ll try to include other styles, and I’ll even have subscribers’ faces in my mind that I know from IG, and I’m like ‘Hmm you know what, I bet this subscriber would like the red. So, I’ll buy some units of red.’

You can never go wrong with pink, but it’s sweet of you to keep your subscribers in mind! Can you tell us a little bit more about Bismillah Box Kids?

Yes, this is what I’m in love with! As you know, I have three kids, so they’re all obsessed with it. It’s a subscription box full of top-rated Islamic children’s products centered on an Islamic theme. Each box contains about six to eight products. We have a box for ages five to eight, and ages four and under. So, it’s really fun. My seven-year-old is the most involved, I call him my “Chief Toy Tester.” He comes up with themes and stuff. It’s actually my favorite project in the world right now.

“I’m raising these little Muslim kids here in America, and I want to be able to identify with them as I raise them. I want them to have quality materials.”

What made you go into a kid’s version?

Probably my kids. The reason I started the women’s box was because I was trying to identify with Islam from my perspective, as something I could relate to as an American girl, and I thought, ‘I can’t be the only one.’ So, I started digging, and I found a huge community of such creative women and girls. So. I thought the same thing. I was like, ‘I’m raising these little Muslim kids here in America, and I want to be able to identify with them as I raise them. I want them to have quality materials.’ So Alhamdulillah, I started digging, and that’s how I started Bismillah Box Kids. Now, we have some amazing boxes and amazing themes every month of new products and new books that have just been released by Islamic toy manufacturers or Islamic publishing houses, and small businesses as well that we love to work with.

I think that’s so important because raising kids to be practicing Muslims here is already so hard. Some parents send their kids to Sunday school, like my parents did. But we still felt so disconnected, and it wasn’t fun for us. So, having a box curated with Islamic products and toys is such a great idea for making children feel more connected to their faith in a fun way.

Yeah, exactly. It is the funnest box. Everything’s new. Everything’s bright colors, and it’s important concepts. Last month’s box was, Wudu, Let’s Get Squeaky Clean.” So, it had rubber duckies.

That is so cute!

This month is Salah, and the theme that our curator picked is the entire Earth is a place of prayer. We did a Space Box about reaching for Jannah. Every box is so much fun and the kids love it. I’ve heard a lot of people say that, when they were raised, learning Arabic was not fun, and going to madrasah wasn’t fun. There are so many ways that authors and entrepreneurs are trying to change that for children. So, we just like to showcase what they started, and there are a lot of amazing products out there.

I love those ideas for the themes of the boxes. That’s so creative!

I can’t take the credit. Our curator for Bismillah Box Kids is Shifa Saltagi Safadi, and she’s become one of my best friends. She’s the genius behind most things in products. For Bismillah Box Kids, I do most of the jobs pretty much, like the boring job of making sure everything fits in the budget. She said she gets to do the fun part, and pick all the cool stuff to put in the box. She’s also the author of the MuslimMommyBlog, and so she’s such a trusted source for Muslim parents looking for Islamic children’s products.

I really love her to have as an Islamic check because, Mashallah, she has a lot of knowledge of Islam. She’s able to give some trusted opinions and she has a huge Islamic community that she refers back to when she has questions. The boxes, she likes to say, are “Sheikh-approved,” and so I have 100% confidence in giving them to little Muslim children. She’s really a perfect fit for Bismillah Box Kids. I’m so excited to have her, and I don’t know what I would do without her.

Aw, that’s so sweet! It’s always nice to have someone else you can share ideas with, especially someone who has a lot of experience and knowledge in the area to help out because I am sure it’s a lot of work. Since you started, what have been some of your greatest challenges?

Definitely the business side of things. It’s fun coming up with new themes, and getting in touch with new people and new artists, and making connections. It’s even fun sending people emails, but sometimes, messing up with how many products to order or something is not so fun.

Yeah, the backend work can definitely be tedious at times.

I just try to make sure to do the best I can. People think it’s a really big venture, but it’s usually just me, and then my curator Shifa helps a lot. So it’s me packing your boxes and sending you emails.

Wow, Mashallah. That’s amazing for you to be able to do all of that yourself! What are your future goals for Bismillah Box, and what can subscribers look forward to from your business?

I’d love to work with some larger brands that I really admire, some Muslim brands out there, and keep working with smaller brands as well for both Bismillah Box and Bismillah Box Kids. I’d just like to really get the word out there because I know everyone that tries it has wonderful things to say.

I’ll definitely help spread the word because I absolutely love the idea. Do you already have a theme planned for next month, or are you not able to share it?

The theme will be revealed the first week of October. I can give you a hint for the kid’s box. It’s going to be “Under the Sea” themed.

Oh, how fun! I can’t wait to see it! 

 

Stay tuned for the reveal! Bismillah Box Kids is currently offering a FREE trial mini box to give you a taste of their sweet subscription, and there is only a small shipping fee required! You can choose to either continue or cancel your subscription depending on whether you enjoyed the trial version or not. Just visit www.bismillahboxkids.com to take advantage of this amazing offer!

For more exciting updates and exclusive offers, be sure to follow Bismillah Box, @bismillahbox on all socials including Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Visit their website, www.thebismillahbox.com to subscribe to the adult women’s box!

You can also follow Bismillah Box Kids, @bismillahboxkids, on their Facebook Group and Instagram as well!

 

 

 

 

Ayah Shaheen
Ayah Shaheen

Founder and editor of AM Women Magazine, Ayah Shaheen always had a passion for writing and reading magazines. She graduated with a BA in Journalism and a minor in graphic design, and it was during her time in college that her journey with AM Women began. Having had such a difficult time navigating through life as a Palestinian American Muslim, she saw the need for a resource that would provide guidance for women like her. Although she always imagined herself working for a popular editorial publication, the lack of representation and her inability to connect with the branding and content of existing magazines motivated her to create her own. By creating this online platform, Ayah is living out her dream of helping American Muslim women live their best lives one article and story at a time. When she is not busy plugging away on her laptop, you can find her either spending time with family and friends or rummaging through racks at her favorite clothing stores. She’s a lover of all things fashion, beauty, Oreo, crab rangoon, and she has a Gilmore Girls kind of obsession with coffee.

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