Coming Next Year to Djarabi Kitabs Publishing : The Library Clerk’s e-Shop!

th elibrary clerk eShop 10 7 2019.png

A Book Lover’s Must-Have

Summary : Qari D. Fofana aka Kerry by her American friends is a twenty-three year old Ivorian girl living in the United States. Dallas, to be precise. She has a work visa that has expired. Qari is also an introvert and a bookish immigrant whose I-20 has also expired. Her dream job is to work for herself no matter the tax implications and open her own online bookstore; a book-coffee-tea shop, so she can live “the glamorous life” of pajamas-day all week long. However, at times, she feels like her dream is farfetched and only a figment of her own imagination. She marries her landlord, an American-Muslim whom she thinks can sponsor her. However, this backfires. Will she be able to avoid deportation and launch her e-Shop? Read to find out!

The Library Clerk’s e-Shop is set to be released in June 2020 insha’Allah. Add it to your TBR list on Goodreads here.

Papatia Feauxzar Quits Corporate America to Become a Writer and Publisher

working muslimahs 6 18 19.png

Papatia Feauxzar is an American author, barista, and publisher of West African descent living in Dallas, Texas with her son and husband. She holds a master’s degree in Accounting with a concentration in Personal Finance. After working as an accountant for a corporate firm for almost five years, Feauxzar decided to pursue Accounting from home while homeschooling her son.

When I first came across her publishing site a few years ago, the first part of the name, ‘Djarabi,’ stood out to me because I knew what it meant. It means ‘love’ in my language (Mandenka/Mandinga/Dioula/Bamana). I was quite surprised because I didn’t often come across people from my ethnic background active in the online Muslim entrepreneur world for whatever reason. 

My curiosity of her led me to follow her and find out more about her. I’m glad I did and today, it is my pleasure to interview sister Papatia Feauxzar.

 Assalaam ‘alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh Sister. Welcome to Working Muslimahs and thank you very much for being here. 

Wa aleikum salam waramatulahi wabarakatuhu my dear sister from the motherland! Masha’Allah. Allah is the best of planners. Alhamdullilah!

I am very excited to interview you today! To begin, tell us a little about yourself. 

Aww, thank you! I’m happy to be here, alhamdullilah. A little about me…I’m getting close to being 40 years old, and I’m enjoying starting having grey hair as the sunnah says it’s a sign of wisdom alhamdullilah. I’m a constant work-in-progress who likes to try her hands at anything. I find it more fulfilling when my two hands accomplish things. It makes me proud and glow inside out. Masha’Allah alhamdullilah.

You have an interesting name, which I’m sure is a pen name. What made you choose a pen name and where did you find inspiration for it? 

Oh, my pen name is interesting. I chose it because I’m an introvert; privacy and safety reasons. Anyway, there are simply too many layers to the name, and I will try to explain without confusing you, haha. I have always liked daisies. When I married into a Turkish family, they started calling me Papatya. I asked why? They said that my smile was as bright as a daisy flower. I was like, “Wow! Thank you. I actually like daisies.” So, when I decided to write, I tweaked the name a bit to Papatia.

I do respond to both spellings of the name. I also respond to Fofky; a derivative of my real last name which stuck when I was in high school. My former classmates called me this way to this day. Today, it’s the  name I use for my second business alhamdullilah. Now, the pen last name is just a combination of my maiden name and my married name. And since I speak French because of political history of my birth country, I decided to give my pen name a French punch. “Fo” Fofkys became “Feaux.” And “Zar” is just a syllable in my married name. I hope this explains it. Smiles

Now that’s what you call being creative!  You are an accountant, writer, publisher, wife, mother, blogger, and a homeschooler. Phew! What a mouth full! How do you balance all these roles and remain sane?

It’s hard! But alhamdullilah ala kulli haal. I have a planner and each minute of my day is carefully allocated to a task alhamdullilah. However, they will be days where I’m utterly burn out, and I will do nothing but relax and pray.

You are a former accountant in the corporate world, what made you decide to work from home instead and what steps did you take to make it a reality?

The birth of my son, my in-laws’ cultural lifestyle (women don’t work in this culture), my growing tiredness while multitasking all these roles you mention I do (lol), and the Islamophobic climate (I was the only Black Muslimah in the whole buiding) all played some roles in me quitting corporate America. Before I quit, I had made sure that I saved enough money and that I had a backup plan to remain an independent Muslim woman. That backup plan was my publishing house I started in 2013. I had built the platform until I was ready to quit in 2016.

There’s so much about you to talk about. So let me just ask, what inspired you to become a writer and a publisher?

Writing and authoring books have always been something I had a penchant for since my teenage years. I wrote back then. Most of my works are destroyed but Allah put the right people along the way and I seized the opportunity to make my dreams come true. On a side note, my African family comes from a cast of scholars and learners. So, I’m just following in their footsteps. My paternal grandfather owned a merdrassa and my late father was a Doctor in Psychology and Sociology alhamdullilah. He did his graduate studies in Paris and returned to teach University students in Ivory Coast.

With all your entrepreneurial roles kept in mind, what is the biggest vision/goal you hope to accomplish?

My goal is to help make Muslim works more seen. It pains me every time I read or think of the story of Bayt al Hikma. Knowledge is life. May Allah facilitate, aameen.

Ameen. What challenges did you face when you started your entrepreneur journey?

Too many subhanallah. You can always count on shaytan to throw you curveballs. While Allah tests us along the way, you learn from all of these calamities. The main challenge though was to make sure I’m never at the mercy of people I hire to work for me. I try to do everything myself or know how to do these things so I can be independent.

How do you stay focused despite all the distractions and what motivates you?

I simply make dua that Allah gets shaytan away from me. If you don’t, he will help you waste your time.

How do you maintain a balance between work and personal life? 

I set boundaries. My play time is my play time. My work time is strictly my work time.

As a Muslim woman, how does Islam impact your entrepreneurship?

Quite a lot actually. Allah is ar-Razzaq. My success is only by Him. He is an-Nasir. He is the one who sets my rizq, sends help, supporters, followers, buyers, you name it. I don’t discount His tremendous help. I am immensely grateful for all of his help and tests. You can’t become complacent or lose focus of the ultimate test with all your worldly accomplishments; this life test.

When are you most productive and how do you manage your time?

Early in the morning after tahajjud and/or fajr. I go to sleep early so I can wake up early to pray when the apartment is quiet. After that, I start studying or working online. I give myself thirty minutes or so for fajr and dhikr. Then, I start the day officially with more work, studying, homeschooling, etc.

How do you deal with ‘bad days’ and ‘negative thoughts’?

Again dua. I strive not to let negative thoughts, bad moments in a day or malice flourish in my heart or mind. Astagfirullah. What’s the purpose of doing such things? Sinning. A thing I try to stay away for my own sake in the next life.

As a Muslim woman in today’s society, do you find it challenging to achieve personal and work goals?

Not at all. If I write them down and make dua about them, I’m confident that al-Fattah will help me achieve these goals if they are beneficial for me.

What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned so far as an entrepreneur?

Be frugal. Don’t waste anything. Don’t make impulse purchases, look for better prices before buying anything. Reward people Allah sent to help you well. Don’t be a pushover. Let people see and know your strength. If you don’t do these, they will deliberately pick fights with you out of spite and jealousy.

What advice would you give to other Muslimah entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs?

Know that the evil eye is real and always be prepared spiritually (know the 99 names of Allah) to fight off shaytan off your affairs. Because sooner or later, it will happen. Also make dua that you don’t fall prey to jealousy. Because we’re humans, make dua that Allah removes such a thing from your heart the moment you recognize it. Do it quickly for your own sake. Aameen.

Where do you find inspiration?

Everywhere and anywhere. Inspiration is all around us alhamdullilah. That said, I usually find it when I unplug and rest.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

It’s an honor to be on your platform. Thank you so much for the invite. Allahumma barik! May Allah make your platform a great success for the benefit of this life and the next, aameen. May He put barakat and increase your rizq in it, too. Allahumma aameen.

Ameen! And same to you my dear sister. Where can you be reached?

@djarabikpub on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

@fofkys on Facebook and Instagram. @fofky_s on Twitter.

Thank you very much for your time. Assalaam ‘alaikum.

Thank you to you as well!  Wa aleikum salam waramatulahi wabarakatuhu.

Original Source.

Muslim Mums in Business – Djarabi Kitabs Publishing and Fofky’s

My Muslim Mums in Business series focus’s on inspirational Muslim women, who are balancing the art of motherhood along with running businesses.

Djarabi-and-Fofkys.jpg


Please introduce yourself and your business.

I go under the pen name of Papatia Feauxzar; a name that embodies my Ivorian and Turkish heritage. I’m now a naturalized American citizen alhamdullilahDjarabi Kitabs Publishing and Fofky’s are my home businesses. They both compliment each other; one being a publishing house and the other being a bookstore alhamdullilah. The goal is help make quality Muslim contributions seen and curate our Islamic History and contribution to the world.

 

What inspired you to start working from home? Did anyone in particular inspire you?

Many things did. Islamophobia was one aspect of it and I wanted to homeschool my son. I also wanted to witness all his firsts. Nobody in particular inspired me; Allah did. I decided to make the change I wanted to see when I saw many Muslim writers complain about the erasure and lack of support they faced. Finally, I have always wanted to be a writer and a female scholar. So, I’m doing my part to see these dreams to come life insha’Allah.

 

Is your family supportive of you being a working mother?

Yes, they are now. It was with a lot of conflict and keeping my grounds though. Alhamdullilah ala kulli haal.

 

What are the main challenges you face as a mum and an entrepreneur?

My main challenge is to force myself to enjoy my personal time and my family. One should always cherish one’s family first and before everything. Tomorrow is not guaranteed, and I’m glad I didn’t learn that the hard way or lived to regret not giving them the attention they deserve. Keeping my stress levels low too are also a challenge but with dua, I manage to obtain sakinah of mind, body, and soul through constant dhikr and listening to the Quran.

 

Describe a typical working day. Are there specific times in the day that you work on your business? You have a number of businesses/projects running together. Does it all sometimes become a bit overwhelming trying to manage them all.

A typical day starts after tahajud. Often times, it’s hard for me to sleep until after fajr prayer when I pray it. But on days I don’t pray tahajud, the day starts after fajr. I look at my list of things to do and start planning mentally. I get my son and my husband out of the way by attending to their needs. Then, I start cooking, cleaning, checking emails while listening to the Quran. By noon, I’m usually done with my chores and to-do list of things set for the day. I do all this while interacting with my son and checking on him periodically as he plays or teach him a couple things here and there. I also teach him new words, manners, I hug him, I kiss him or I scold him nicely if he is being naughty. Then, we pray and get ready to go outside so he can get another kind of interaction; children’s play. I do dhikr while he plays with other children. I’m more productive with my remembrance of Allah when he plays. I understood that children’s play actually is a blessing on Moms to help them relax. So, I take fully advantage of my child’s plays. We both benefit from this activity alhamdullilah. While we are out, I also run errands, mail packages, etc. When we return, he eats and naps, and I pray. I get dinner ready and when the hubby gets home, I get to perform some self-care and/or complete more things on my to-do list alhamdullilah. All this seems overwhelming at times but I calm down and do one thing at a time while supplicating and before I know it, I have had a productive day alhamdullilah.

 

What are the pros and cons about being a working mum from home?

Cons: It’s more than a full-time job. It can be stressful just thinking about it.

Pros: It’s rewarding and you realize that there is ease with hardship. I witness so much by raising my son myself. I have become a little more grateful for any small to big blessings bestowed upon me and us. I have learned not to take anything for granted.

 

On your toughest days, what helps keep you motivated?

Filling my book of deeds with good deeds always keeps me motivated. I try not to loose sight of Jannah al-Firdaus. I’m not saying all this to come off holier than anyone or calmer than anyone. I say this because it has taken me a lot of practice and a lot of patience to reach this level of self-motivation. Having said that, bad moments in a day happen, and I try not to capitalize on them. I let them go and refocus on positivity alhamdullilah.

 

Where would you like to see your business in the future?

I would like it to be seen as an accredited House of Wisdom type of historic contribution insha’Allah.

 

What advice would you give to mums considering taking the step of being a working mum? 

Children are the joy in the journey. Children are the comfort to the stress you will face as a working mom. Embrace the challenge. Working moms can do it and Allah didn’t burden us. He knew we can handle the load with true dedication to a well-balanced lifestyle. Let’s be Khadijah al-Kubra radiallahu anhu; business-savvy woman in a tough and restricting society, modest, knowledgeable, respected, mother of believers, garment to a spouse, and all the great things she is known to have done or been insha’Allah. Age was just a number.

 

JazakAllah Khair to sister Papatia for taking the time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions! You can connect with her further at: Djarabi Kitabs Publishing and Fofky’s

 

If you are a Muslim mum with a business and would like to feature then drop me a message in sha Allah.

Original article.