Our “Own Your Story” series continues!
Beginning September 1st, Sitti is featuring nine incredible refugee-focused brands through our on-going blog series. (You can find previous articles in this series, including nine amazing Women-Owned Business stories) The “Own Your Story” series elevates the stories of partner brands featured in the Sitti Subscription Box. Each quarter, we get to know the brands in our box, while gleaning priceless lessons and advice from their shared experiences. We talk about where the idea for their brand came from, and what’s made their journey unique. Our second box is all about refugee-led brands, as well as those making a direct impact within the refugee community. To learn more about our Surprise Subscription Box, click here.
Darzah meaning “stitch” in Arabic, is a non-profit, ethical fashion brand creating authentic, handmade Palestinian products. The embroidery style, tatreez, is a traditional art form passed down through centuries of women. Darzah’s goal is to bring tatreez apparel and décor to the world in order to celebrate and preserve Palestinian heritage.
Darzah’s center is in the West Bank, Palestine but it is managed in the United States. Their artisans are women from the West Bank who have historically endured marginalization in the form of low-income, gender inequality, and lack of economic opportunities. Darzah’s mission is to economically empower these women by providing job opportunities, training, and a fair income.
What is the story behind Darzah?
The idea for the organization began in 2008, when Dr. Janette Habashi with her students started a fundraising campaign benefiting grassroots education programs for refugee children in the West Bank. Although the community appreciated the financial support, a small group of mothers vocalized their desire for a more permanent source of income and reached out to Dr. Habashi for direction. In 2015, unemployment rates for young women in the West Bank were as high as 63%. Dr. Habashi identified that providing economic opportunities to women could have far-reaching effects, as they would be better able to care for themselves, their children, and their families. From this realization and with an initial fundraising campaign of only $4,000, Child’s Cup Full was created. Today, the non-profit organization operates two brands: Darzah and Zeki, in Zababdeh, a village located in the northern West Bank.
What makes Darzah unique?
Our customers love our unique designs and our mission of economically empowering Palestinian artisans. All our products are handmade and celebrate tatreez, making it fashionable for everyday wear.
Tell us how tatreez and the Darzah brand speak truth to the experience of being a refugee or displaced person?
Since Darzah celebrates Palestinian culture through tatreez, it has special meaning to refugees [in particular]. As you know, Palestinian motifs are associated to [certain] areas and villages, and some artisan have special attachment to these motifs, since they are from those villages prior to becoming refugees [or displaced].
How does Darzah view its impact on the refugee community?
We started with a small team, and now we have almost 26 artisans that work with us and more are interested to join our team. All our team receives living wages. We pay more that 65% higher than other establishments in the area. Currently, we work with 9 villages in Palestine. Our goal is to create a consortium that can support more artisan.
Can you share a recent success with us?
We are working on a new design collection that we hope to launch in 2022. In addition, we have new exciting partnership with Zay Initiative, ACCESS and others. We have been featured in Jamalouki and Cosmopolitan ME.
What other refugee-focused brands do you admire? Why?
Of course we admire Sitti because we have a similar approach to helping and supporting refugees.
What is the best advice you have for someone who is trying to start their own business?
Focus on the mission of the business. I do believe business should do good and if all businesses do good the world will be a better place.
Thank you, Darzah, for sharing your story!
*DON’T LEAVE WITHOUT YOUR DISCOUNT!* Visit Darzah.org and make your own purchase with the discount code “Sitti10” at checkout!