Birmingham Muslim Market
Categories: Latest News
Monday February 04 2019
The first ever Muslim Market made its debut on the 26th of January at Broadway Academy in Perry Barr, Birmingham. The monthly market is a unique opportunity for Muslims to showcase their creativity and promote enterprises that they have established.
The stalls were comprised of a range of businesses that operate on Instagram, as well as charities. The organiser of the Muslim Instashop Expo, Yasmin Choudury, stated that “Muslim Instashop Expo is a growing Muslim market brand” which included over 40 stalls from a variety of businesses including beauty products, personalised children’s pillows, handmade truffles, and more. Choudury believed that the traditional farmers’ markets and street food markets were not tailored to the Muslim market, and decided to launch one targeting the Muslim communities in Birmingham.
One business present at the Expo was Tray Bakes by Fahmy, a small business which specialises in making gourmet South Asian sweets and indulgent tray bakes, thanked the Expo for inviting them and said that the market was “wonderful” and the “hard work paid off.” Another stall was by YouTuber and fashion designer Nabiila Bee who sold modest clothing that she designed for women as well as baby wear.
The Muslim market is one example of the contribution of Muslim businesses to the UK economy. Often labelled as ‘The Muslim Pound’, the contribution of Muslims to the economy is estimated to be upwards of £31billion. According to a 2013 report by the Muslim Council of Britain, there are around 13,400 Muslim-owned businesses in London alone, a number that has grown in recent years. Furthermore, 33.6% of small to medium-sized enterprises in London are owned by Muslims.
To capitalise on the ‘Muslim Pound’, and target the consumer power of generation M, businesses are increasingly courting Muslim consumers, particularly in the month of Ramadan. The Ramadan economy is estimated to be worth more than £200m. Examples of ways businesses are capitalising on the lucrative sector include supermarkets selling dates and introducing promotions on ethnic goods during Ramadan. Clothing retailers such as Mango, and Dolce and Gabbana have released a Ramadan collection with modest clothing inspired by the Middle East. Inspired by a traditional advent calendar, The Body Shop released a Ramadan inspired calendar with small sized goodies behind each door such as hand cream and show gels. The festivities of Eid also inspire retailers such as Hotel Chocolat to have a range of Eid products that do not contain alcohol or gelatine.
In Birmingham’s Muslim Market, Choudury said that “the majority of these home-ran businesses are ran by stay at home mums. We call them Mumtrapreneurs and super mums.” This appears to be a growing trend, with more mothers opting to develop their creative, digital and financial talents while adding upwards of £7billion to the UK economy. Studies also show that is increasingly difficult for families to survive on single-incomes. For Muslim women, running businesses from the home is perhaps a consequence of discrimination they face in the workplace, facing a ‘triple penalty’ for being a woman, being BME, and being Muslim. A 2015 report from the Women and Equalities committee showed that employment is notably challenging for Muslim women; only 28% of Muslim women are in employment compared to 51% of the overall female population, and 27% of Muslim women are stay at home wives or mothers in comparison to 7% of the overall female population.
The innovative Muslim Market goes against the simplistic and patronising narratives surrounding the apparent oppression of Muslim women and utilises the ever-growing online marketplace to allow stay-at-home mothers to flourish as entrepreneurs whilst also looking after their family at home. Such enterprises are proof of Muslim women’s tenacity, dynamism, creativity and skill.