It hasn’t been much longer since the Gen Zs and millennials of our country got used to the concept of fancy paper-based stationaries. Although we still get nostalgic about those childhood memories of buying and collecting stickers, the use of ornatenote pads, sticky notes, and diaries in serious everyday chores is still anew. But when it comes to the aspect of making us familiar with this fresh yet aesthetic concept, the credit undoubtedly goes to Made with Love and its owner, Humairah Shams. MWL is a well-liked brand name among the sucker-for-daily-aesthetics who seek such in budget stationaries. Starting from dot grid note pads and to-do lists to laptop sleeves and Deen journals – Made with Love has made sure that the philosophy of art and beauty is included in regular mundane stuff. The star of our September’s feature is none other than the person whose brainchild, MWL has been feeding our need for materialistic beauty within budget. Today we will familiarise ourselves with the most creative and talented Humairah Shams and know about her unique artistic and entrepreneurial journey.
Content Editor: Rifah Nawar
IG handle: @parchmentstains
Q. Tell us a little about your creative journey, how and when did it spark a start?
I’ve actually always been a creative soul, I’ve been crafting since I was very young and have always loved working with my hands. When I started my calligraphy journey in 2015, my sister pointed out that she would love to see my work on bags and totes. We hadn’t really intended to start a full-blown business, but we sought out suppliers who could help us produce small quantities. Once we got things rolling, it really just snowballed from there! I owe so much to my sister Sarah, for pushing me to do this, and jumping on the small business journey with me!
In our interviewing experience, we have seen that behind every successful endeavor, there is always the unconditional contribution of some family member. So we are not surprised at all when Humairah accredits her sister Sarah. Ain’t the dynamic between the sisters the sweetest!
Q. What are your indispensable tools and materials for painting and illustration?
Oh, too many things! For traditional art, it’s my watercolors; I have so many, but my favorites are from a mix of Winsor & Newton and Art Philosophy. I’m very flexible on watercolor paper, but my current go-to is Canson XL watercolor paper. Digitally, I’m completely dependent on my trusty scanner, iPad, Photoshop & Illustrator!
Being avid followers of the work of Humairah, we have been watching how frequently she is asked this question. Well people who still don’t know what she has been using to create her masterpieces, here you go!
Q. Where do you look for inspiration?
I look for inspo anywhere and everywhere! I often find myself buying floral cushions and bedding because I really enjoy floral textile prints! I’m also a big hoarder of art books and botanical painting books. From the skies and sunsets to the bed sheets on my bed, I look for colors that spark joy and surround myself with things that make me happy.
Humariah’s works on MWL are clear shreds of evidence of how much she is fond of everything floral, leafy, and colorful. No wonder she derives her inspiration for art from nature.
Q.Where do you see yourself and your business in the next 5 years? Do you have a vision?
That’s actually a tricky question because I’m expecting to move to the US with my husband in the next five years. I’m hoping to set up made with love in a way that won’t need my physical attendance too much, all while trying to set up something similar in the US. So basically, the goal is to have Made with Love thriving, hopefully, both in Bangladesh and the US.
We are so excited upon hearing this plan of Humairah’s. Can’t wait for our beloved local brand Made with Love to go global and achieve bigger things beyond borders!
Q. Among all the things you create, what is your most favorite piece of art?
It’s really hard to pick a favorite because I pour so much of my soul into every piece that I make, but if I had to pick favorites it would be the designs I reserve for our planners and journals because those are extra special!
The monotonous and daunting task of planning everyday chores and ticking them off is much eased by the planners that Humairah has mentioned here. Being the owner of several of them and having been used them for several years now, we can vouch that these journals of MWL help organize regular and important activities and help to finish them too. Not going to lie but there’s a different satisfaction in ticking off a planner at the end of the day!
Q. Other than brush lettering and painting, what other hobbies do you have?
Even though art and illustration is a full-time job for me, I still love exploring new mediums, art journaling, and digital illustrations. I’m really starting to enjoy cooking these days as well! I really like experimenting with new recipes and just cooking from the heart.
We bet the dishes Humairah makes must be as good as her paintings!
Q. Manual brushes and tubes are being taken over by i-pen and graphic tablet – how do you see this transition? Which one do you prefer more?
Honestly, as someone who uses both digital and traditional mediums, I find this more than welcome. I struggled with digitizing my work for a very long time and having an iPad and an Apple Pencil really helps me streamline the process in a much easier way. I’m also very lazy sometimes so whenever I’m not feeling like getting the paints out and sitting up to paint, I find it so much easier to just lay down and make a digital illustration instead.
No matter what artists of our older generations say, we agree with Humairah. After all, creativity is all about using inventiveness at one’s own ease. The tools and media are nothing but just a mere part of the whole process.
Q. Tell us a little bit about your journey with Made with Love.
My journey with Made with Love has been an amazing ride and it all started with a small exhibition we hosted as our debut. I’ve made so many friends along the way that I wouldn’t have otherwise met. We didn’t expect to grow so much in this time, and I’m so very thankful for all the love and support we’ve received!
Humairah’s thoughts about her journey with MWL are indeed very heartwarming. This is the magic of running a holistic business fuelled by nothing but goodwill.
Q. Is there any special memory or event related to your business which you would like to share with us?
There are so many happy memories that we’ve lived through the past five years. Some highlights include our first exhibition, our first event that we organized independently, and our first team expansion!
No wonder everything firsts are always memorable!
Q. What is your advice to newbie crafters/artists who aspire to have their own business someday?
My advice would be to stay passionate and keep your head up because the ride can get a little bumpy. It can take a while before you’re able to find your style and it takes a little time to set things up, but once you do it’s so, so worth it! Be original, and unapologetically you!
No wonder we admire Humairah and her work at made with love for their uniqueness. This is something every artistic mind and entrepreneur – both new and experienced ones, should learn and follow. Because originality is the only way to thrive and grow in this rat race of being noticed.
That being said, it was our honor to chat with Humairah and learn about her passion for art, which otherwise, would have remained unknown to our readers and us. We wish all the best to her and future endeavors made with love and may she keep on making us proud.
Do visit her store on Instagram and Facebook, the links are given below; don’t forget to show a little love while you’re there!