Maha Fatima, a student at the University of Waterloo (UW), began her entrepreneurial journey in 2020. When the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted her university courses and left her with a lot of free time, she decided to pursue her passion for jewellery-making.
Fatima founded Mahajabeen, which began in her bedroom with a whiteboard and countless hours of watching YouTube videos. She started with lip gloss, but ultimately arrived at creating jewellery.
“I started learning from a bunch of videos on TikTok and YouTube about packaging videos. And I was like, wow, I really want to start that,” Fatima said.
“Then I got an iPad from my little brother and used it to create my first design, which was anklets, and from there, I talked to some manufacturers. After that, once I got approved for student loans, I used that money to purchase my first set of product pieces,” she said.
Fatima’s aesthetic is maximalist, and she likes creating jewellery that tells a story. Her jewellery designs reflect her love for ancient stories and the strong women in Greek mythology, including Medusa, Athena, Aphrodite, Andromeda and Denisa. Her goal is to create unique pieces that people can wear daily with symbolic meaning, incorporating different elements of maximalism into her designs.
Her fascination with Greek mythology began in elementary school when she stumbled upon a database that allowed her to explore resources. She spent three weeks reading about Greek mythology and never looked back.
As the daughter of Pakistani immigrants, her interest was rekindled by a poetry book written by Nikita Gill, a South Asian author from Kashmir. The book described the pain and emotions of Greek goddesses in a way that other sources could not, and this really spoke to Fatima.
Mahajabeen has grown considerably since 2020, and Fatima has gained a significant following on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok. She likes to engage with her customers and friends to create pieces that they would like to see.
She often uses social media to show her customers the process of jewellery designing, which many people find fascinating.
“A lot of people kind of applaud me for it because they don’t get to see the process of what it’s like designing jewellery and the process of melting down the metal and creating moulds, and don’t understand the technicality that comes with it,” Fatima said.
Most customers are outside Canada.
“Not a lot of my customers come from here because I feel that when Canadians buy from a Canadian business, they have to pay GST. But with international customers, I have a lot of people from France and Germany, Denmark, the United States, Chile, Mexico, and Europe, especially a lot of people from Russia, which surprised me,” Fatima said.
On top of her bucket list is to have a headquarters that also houses her creative art studio, apart from continuing to host pop-up shops in various cities, including Toronto, Kitchener and Waterloo.
Mahajabeen is also committed to sustainability. Fatima believes in reducing plastic waste and encourages customers to do the same. Her products are hand-packaged into biodegradable jewellery boxes to keep them from being damaged during shipping.
She plans to invest even more in her packaging and jewellery to make them more sustainable as she grows and expands her business. For more details, visit: mahajabeen.com.