When Bahrain this Week met Ms. Hanan Khalaf at her brightly lit, tastefully decorated shop located at Riyadat Mall in A’Ali, she was all smiles welcoming us to the fabulous world of Eco-friendy fabrics, toys and other home accessories. “WISH is my wish that came true.” Ms. Khalaf introduced us to her venture name giving us the humble beginning she had, almost a decade back.
“Years back, when my kids where small, we had gone to Srilanka for our vacations. I was really fascinated by the Eco-friendly textile industry they had in there and the beautiful toys and craft items that they made by hand.” she shared. “I didn’t have to think twice before buying few sample pieces of toys and other stuffs made of these fabrics. Once back in Bahrain, I thought in depth about the importance of going Eco-friendly in today’s world and started working on bringing the goodness of such products to my nation.”
Barefoot is the brand franchised in Bahrain by Ms. Khalaf delivering home inspired accessories and craft collections that are purely organic in nature. “Every yarn used in these textiles is organic. All the colors you find in them are made of natural dyes. All these items are made by a group of women in Srilanka exclusively for Barefoot.” Along with being responsible for the environment, Ms. Khalaf is providing support to the endowment of these hardworking women. And some day she wishes to bring this industry to the kingdom giving opportunity to the Bahraini talents as well. “I travel 3-4 times every year to Srilanka and personally see to every detail of the work being done in there.” She explained.
“It is very common among all of us to purchase plastic or non recyclable products for gifts and other fancy items. It is now time to change the way we think and act.” As an ardent user of Eco-friendly products, since being introduced to it during her Lankan trip, Ms. Khalaf was all praise about its integrity. “Toys made of organic fabrics are non allergic. They are made of pure cotton and last longer than the synthetic ones you usually would buy for your kids.” She also assures that all the products and accessories from her store are machine washable and would stay as good as new for ages. “I have been using them over a decade and would never dream of going back to the world of artificial materials.”
The latest addition to her Eco-friendly collections is the school bags for kids. Colorful bags with customized names of the little owner stitched into it gave a fresh look when compared to the typical school kits available in every market. “These bags are colorful and light weight. Kids can use them both at their schools and for outdoor leisure times. It also gives our upcoming generation a better view about going Eco-friendly.”
Of all the items in display at WISH, Ms Khalaf showed us a beautiful peacock with every detail handmade, “This is a very special toy piece for me. It was one of the first collections that I had sold at the shop I had owned in Adilya almost 10 years back.” A town planner by profession and mother of 3 kids, she has been working around the clock, getting her wish come live adding to the value of the society to which we all belong to. “I recently resigned from my job position and am now giving my 100% for my shop and get the people here understand the importance of using eco friendly stuff in day to day living.”
When we asked her about the footfall statistics to her store, she said with a smile, “I have 90% of my customers coming back to me for more items and customization requirements. Yes, it is true that majority of them are the Europeans and the French, but there seems to be a wind of change as Bahrainis have also started coming in with requirements for organic products. Still, there is need to spread more awareness among people on living true to the nature.”