Norway is one of the world's most egalitarian countries, but in leading roles in business in general and in entrepreneurship in particular, #women are in the minority. That’s because small businesses are run by people with diverse ideas, ages, races and sexes. Sometimes that diversity can make it difficult to build a brand that appeals to everyone.
In this article, we want to shine a spotlight on three #smallbusiness owners that are turning obstacles into opportunities. You’ll never see all the hard work and sleepless nights they spent building their companies, brands and products. Instead, you might see polished logos, websites and Pop-up stores that hide all the blood, sweat and tears that has gone into their creation.
Meet Feryal, the Iranian founder and owner of Zotiqe Crafted Dreams. With a bachelor degree in International relations and political science, Feryal decided to leave Iran and move to Norway in 2016 after marrying her husband and made the decision to continue her studies with a master degree in Human rights and multiculturalism. Little did she know, this decision would have a bigger impact on herself, local Iranian artisans and the Norwegian market.
Her master thesis on the impact of local and women-led communities on women's rights and on the actuation and translation of universal human rights in local languages, brought Feryal back to Iran to interview many women leading and being part of these communities.
"This was very inspiring for me, knowing about their concerns, their skills and the way they were able to use whatever means they had to improve their living conditions while developing themselves ."
Upon returning to Norway, Feryal decided to launch Zotiqe with the purpose of supporting those women #artisans she met along her journey. Women artisans without access to big corporations and global markets, giving female designers and creators a voice and an opportunity.
With Zotiqe you can re-discover the beauty of small productions of independent individuals who value attention to details and are committed to quality #handmade products. Find anything from unique fashion pieces to #jewelry, home decor and even something for the little ones.
Price Range: 200 - 3800 Nok
A self taught mindfulness #mandala and dot artist with two masters under her belt, Sweety started Soulindiskart 6 years ago as a hobby and a form of therapy. A mom of two from India, Sweety moved with her family to Norway in 2017. Bracing the change, with two adorable daughters in toe, Sweety found it difficult to settle at first. The cold, dark and gloomy days that presented itself was a harsh reality compared to the tropical climate she was used to. Turning to her art, was a way to escape and give her peace at night when the girls were in bed.
After years of creating from a small living room corner which her husband lovingly created for her, Sweety was finally able to have her own studio situated in Årnes, Norway, sitting hours at at time on each creation as a means of #arttherapy.
Photo: Soul Indisk Art
Inspired by nature, flowers, beautiful insects and butterflies, Sweety works with acrylic paint, pens and dotting tools on canvas, natural stones, ceramic, glass, wood, candles and more to create unique pieces of #art, requiring a load of patience, perseverance and calm.
Her love to paint, create and knowing the benefit this art could have on others, lead Sweety to share her knowledge and started teaching courses. You can find the Mandala Dot-art Therapeutic sessions on offer at #VulkanShowcase in Oslo.
"I soon realised that this art form could be used for stress relief, as a tool for art therapy and a meditative exercise ."
Among all the beautiful artworks and #ceramics, you will also find some gorgeous handmade light-weight jewellery pieces made with polymer clay. An addition to the collection, that has become bestsellers in no time. So if you are after some original, unique gifts all lovingly #handcrafted this christmas for any age group, Soulindiskart is worth a look.
Price Range: 150 - 4000 Nok
Photo: Soul Indisk Art
With a degree in Political science and public administration, mother of two, Victoria Paulsen from Tanzania moved to Norway in 2012. Like many entrepreneurs Victoria came up with the idea for Afrisana Decor during the pandemic. Not being able to travel back to her hometown, missing her friends, family and culture , Victoria was after handmade African products in #Oslo, which would help bring a hint of "home" into her own home in Norway. But alas, after searching high and low, there was nothing that could replace the need for authentic handmade #Africanproducts.
Seeing a gap in this market and having known others with the same need, Victoria decided to not only introduce some amazing designs and art into the Norwegian market, but it was also important for her to support her country, culture and #empower Tanzanian women in small business as much as possible.
Photo: Afrisana Decor
In a remote village in the Southern highlands of Tanzania, Iringa region, Victoria was introduced to a group of women who specialized in handmade baskets and #homedecor. Knowing the difficulties Tanzanian women faced getting a job, this was a no-brainer for Victoria that she needed to support, uplift and highlight their skills.
"The money they get, helps them to send their children to school, buy school uniforms, taking care and providing for their basic needs."
Most of these women are single #mothers, widows and selling these products are their only source of income. Choosing to support their work, will not only improve their standard of life and living conditions, but contribute to positive change economically, while allowing them to build their inner confidence, strength and determination for continued growth.
If you are after some fairly priced, unique home decor, art or #bags with meaning, then, visit Afrisana Decor and bring a little colour of Africa into your own home.
Price Range: 100 - 800 Nok
Photo: Afrisana Decor
Supporting Small businesses—whether through money, time, or advocacy—can help create jobs, strengthen local economies, and even close the racial wealth gap. Big corporations don't need more money. Place your trust in brands that match your values not reviews.
Seek out companies that are small, unique and offer support to #ethnicminority business and other diverse groups. This will only lead to establishing a more creative world for us and future generations. When possible, shop small. It’s a no-brainer way to support small businesses.
So this holiday season, make a conscious effort to incorporate small businesses into your holiday shopping.
"About 45% of all persons who want to start their own business are women. Nevertheless, only 30% of the entrepreneurs in Norway are women and after 5 years, only 19% of companies that have survived are female entrepreneurs. We need to learn more about why there are fewer women who choose entrepreneurship and aspire for more diversity."
Levi N Larsson