Stories can be told using various tools. Since ancient times, stories were told visually using tapestries hung on castle walls. Today, stories of Palestinian culture are told through the intricate weaving of embroidered thread. Unfortunately, preserving culture can be a costly ordeal, a situation familiar to the founder of Taita Leila.
In Arabic, Taita is a term commonly used to mean “grandma.” Taita Leila refers to the grandma of the founder, Leila Hussein Fakhri Khalidi, who is the author of “The Art of Palestinian Embroidery. Taita Leila is a social enterprise that creates hand-embroidered pieces of clothing from Palestine while also preserving the heritage of our Palestinian ancestors.
Noora Husseini, the face behind this initiative resorted to launching a crowdfunding campaign in order to give her startup a push in the right direction during June 2015. We picked Noora’s brains on crowdfunding for Teita Leila to learn more about her experience.
How does your project impact Palestinian society?
Our direct impact is through the women we work with. We commission them in everything to make sure it is all Palestinian. In doing so, we empower Palestinian women to contribute to the economy. As a Palestinian startup, we are providing job opportunities for both young and old talent in Palestinian society. They now have a chance to work in a new, more challenging environment, which encourages them to think outside the box and be more creative.
How did crowdfunding help you reach your goals?
Crowdfunding was the starting point of the business. It allowed us to propel our operations forward. The funds collected were used to register the business, fix up our website for e-commerce, stock up our inventory, and market our collection to the world. Through this endeavor, we tested the waters and determined whether entering the embroidery market would be a good idea. It was also an opportunity to release our first collection.
How did you prepare for your crowdfunding campaign?
It took a lot of prep work, like committing money (20-30%) beforehand. We also had to talk to everyone from before, just to introduce the idea that we will be crowdfunding.
What’s one thing that surprised you during the campaign?
Almost everything. Everything will go wrong during the campaign, so you have to be prepared for the stress of the few months of the campaign. Nothing went according to plan.
What advice would you give to someone who is about to launch a campaign?
Just go for it. It’s a great experience and it has become a sort of ‘right-of-passage’ in life. It doesn’t matter whether you are successful at it, it is a great experience in the business world. But most importantly, you must be prepared and have a plan set up from months before.
The goal of their crowdfunding campaign was $25,000. However, just as the deadline of the campaign approached, a last minute donation pushed them past their goal by over ten thousand dollars, helping them gather just a little over $36,000!
It is projects like these that encourage the citizens of our society to just GO FOR IT! Crowdfunding is nothing to be intimidated by, and with a platform like BuildPalestine available to make it much more accessible, then why wouldn’t you?