A bazaar garden party
Bored of the malls, two friends buy into a more traditional shopping experience...
As people around the world gear up to celebrate the British queen’s diamond jubilee this weekend, with dozens of brunches and parties planned right here
in the UAE, it’s not only UK expats getting swept up with tradition.
Just this weekend, in a quiet corner of Khawaneej, only a short and sandy drive from Mushrif Park in Dubai, cloudy lemonade and cakes were being served on the grass. The scent of lavender was in the air and ladies strolled around under bunting during an event that was fit for a queen.
Rather than a jubilee party though, the gathering was a bazaar organised by two Emirati friends, Shurooq Al Midfaa and Noora Al Mazrouee. In a bid to encourage women of all nationalities to interact, as well as introduce their small businesses to a wider audience, the friends got together a few months ago and decided they’d set up a craft fayre.
With Shurooq having a great passion for vintage English style - she even sells traditional tea cosies, cake stands, teapots, cups and saucers through her business, My Lavender Home - they decided to go for something a little more unusual than a standard fayre.
Busting the stereotype that all women want to wander around malls, they longed to steer clear of queues and the hustle and bustle of shopping centres. Considering where would be best to make women feel really at home, they decided to host the fayre in Shurooq’s garden.
Shurooq explains: “I set up my business in March. When I got my products and my licence I wanted to have everyone round and knew a lot of friends had small businesses so I decided to have a fayre.
“The weather was great at that time and I had six stalls in my garden. It was an open event - I invited friends and they loved it.
“They’re not big businesses and don’t have shop premises. It was a good chance to see local talent so we decided to do another one.” Deciding it would be a great opportunity to get to know other women in Dubai, for the next ‘Garden Bazaar’, Shurooq and Noora - who also has her own business, Simply For U, a gift shop in Sharjah - decided to invite a mixture of expats and UAE nationals to showcase their wares.
Retaining the garden party theme, decking Shurooq’s garden out in bunting once again with wooden benches adorned with sunflowers, the event was again a resounding success.
Shurooq explains: “The reason for us hosting it in a private venue is because some people feel more comfortable coming to a private fayre than a mall. We wanted to give it a more relaxed atmosphere so we made it strictly ladies only - you go inside and we have a sitting area where ladies can get refreshments and sweets and relax for a while.
“This time we added a workshop where a lady who practices decoupage hosted lessons.”
From traditional Arabic perfume to dainty floral tablecloths, teddy bears, artwork and clothes for children, there’s something for everyone at the Garden Bazaar.
Shurooq adds: “Noora and I said we didn’t just want to stick to having locals because we are in Dubai and there are a lot of expats so it’s good to mix and that’s what we tried to do.
“It’s difficult for us as locals to approach expats to look at the things they’re doing and I know it’s the same vice versa - it’s hard for them to get the local market.”
With the success of Garden Bazaar, Shurooq wants to take it further than her garden. She explains: “My husband is really happy with what we’re doing and my kids are loving it. For them it’s like a game in their garden, sitting next to the cash box, helping sell things!
“My daughter’s principal came to the bazaar this weekend and she said how good it was to teach the children selling skills and help them understand money and business. I’d like to take this idea into a school where mothers who work from home can get together and show what they’re doing and teach children how it works.
“It’s a great chance for them to understand selling and setting up businesses.”
For more information or to find out when the next event is, go to www.facebook.com/gardenbazaar or call 050 111 5975