Sustainable and ethical markets have been popping up all over the place this summer, and the season's shopping isn't done yet. Enter Takbir, a temporary storefront running from Aug. 17 (that's tomorrow!) through Aug. 24 in Greenpoint and featuring fashion, art, and home goods from local and international makers.
"[The artists featured at Takbir] all have similar missions to mine, but the products will be varied -- jewelry to art, to apparel, to body care," said Holly Fairall, a Brooklyn-based illustrator, creator of Holly's HeART by Hand greeting cards, and founder of Takbir. Holly uses eco-friendly, fair-trade materials in her work, including elephant-dung paper, plus she supports various charities.
"Everything in the shop will be handmade, many items with eco-friendly, organic, spiritual, and healing missions," she added. "But I also want to show people that handmade goods don't have to break the bank. Many of the items are priced at $20 or under. I want customers to feel good about the money they are spending in both price point and content."
We can't wait to get our hands on Julwelry's hand-crafted layering necklaces, Traash's bold zipper pouches, and Lunacy Design's adorable robot T-shirts.
Read on for more about the shop, plus Holly's approach to a sustainable lifestyle and how her Muslim faith plays into everything she does. Most importantly, don't forget to stop by the market this week at 110 Meserole.
The idea for Holly's HeART by Hand came one Christmas when [my sons] brought home loads of cards from their classmates. After looking at them and cutting out bits that we could use in crafts, the bulk of them went straight into the recycling bin. Even though the paper was being recycled, it still felt so wasteful. Then the idea came to me -- what if I could make cards that are hopefully special enough to keep, but if not, there would be less eco-guilt in recycling them? I used to watch a show called Sector B: The Business of Brooklyn on public access, and they once highlighted a business based in Red Hook that produced paper in Sri Lanka made from 50% recycled paper and 50% elephant dung. The paper production provided fair-trade jobs and helped save wild elephants, and I just knew that was the material I wanted to work with. Beyond my use of this treeless paper, I try to use as much re-purposed material in my art as possible. I hate waste and I love being able to take something that most people would consider garbage and make it beautiful.
Our family tries to make our carbon footprint as small as possible. We bought a house in Greenpoint almost a decade ago [and] had to gut it top to bottom, doing most of the work ourselves. We've updated the house with many high-efficiency systems and eco-friendly materials. I saved every bit of renovation scrap that could be reused in my art or in other ways around the house. We also are so very fortunate to have a garden in the back yard where we grow much of our own produce spring to fall, and we compost. I'd say 90% of my kids' clothes have been hand-me-downs, and when the clothes are outgrown but still in good shape, I pass them along to other families… we really try to be responsible humans and to appreciate all the gifts we've been given by not wasting and being conscious about our consumption.
I have degenerative disc disease, which is pretty rare in someone my age with no traumatic injuries. I've had two spinal surgeries in the last five years. Working the market circuit has become really difficult and painful, but I didn't want to give up. I decided that trying a pop-up would be less physically demanding. Moreover, I was ready to take my business to the next level. I want my business to really be a part of the community, and a storefront, even if just temporary, allows that kind of real integration.
Behind the name:
Before my last surgery in October 2013, I made shahada at the Greenpoint Islamic Center and became Muslim. I wanted a name [for the pop-up market] that reflected the spiritual awakening. I love Arabic. When I pray in Arabic I feel connected to Allah and all of space and time… Takbir has many meanings and usages, the two that are most relevant are that it is used as a praise to God for a gift that has been given. For example, when someone makes shahada, the community shouts, "takbir." It is also used as a battle cry, and I think this is important in the context of the shop because I hope the shop rallies people to rethink traditional consumerism that typically lacks intimacy, knowledge, and respect.
Since becoming Muslim, I've taken on hijab. This doesn't just mean a head covering, it is a modest lifestyle. …I've been experimenting with layering, colors, and patterns. I love wearing my scarves in many different ways. I now buy most of my clothes online through Islamic clothing vendors, but in general, markets are my favorite places to shop. Markets always offer things that are unique, historical, or just have a special story, and those are all important to me.