Monday, 15 October 2012

The Firefly Girl

My name is not 'The Firefly Girl' it is Varah, Varah Musavvir. No the last name is not something I chose or use as a designer. Hehe, people ask me that all the time. It's something I was born with. My great grandfather used it as his pen name, he used to write. I guess that's where I get my wordsmith streak from, and the Musavvir just comes as a feat of my name. Varah means taqwa, taqwa is eman and is mentioned in the Holy Quran. I get asked often what 'Wara' means.. and there you go. That's what it is.

I am 24 years old, married, a hijabi, love bandanas and manga, am a die hard crafter, I love doodling, my skill is in my drawing... sketches, I love to paint when it rains, and I have a fancy for thundershowers. I love flowers and butterflies, because they remind of the beautiful little things, the frail things, and the simple things that turn life around. I am the least patient person in the world, and the work I do trains me well. I graduated in December 2011 with a Bachelors in Textile Design. My major is print, printmaking was my minor... which is why you see that certain color language, pattern and that collage like feel in most of my work. I have lived here in Pakistan due to my studies and am a resident abroad. Hence my travel throughout the year. I was born in Pakistan, and have been raised as a  Muslim Pakistani. I am not a perfect person. I don't claim to me. But I'm on that little walk... following my faith. Every day learning more about the 'Master Plan'. Can't say Alhamdulilah enough to everything I have! :)

I started Firefly in 2010, during spring break. I was emptying out my wallet and getting rid of receipts and things when I saw a wallet greeting card I had purchased from Hobby Lobby and my student council ID together. I randomly did a doodle and tried making one for myself... at that time, pocket money was Rs 1500. and I spent about Rs 700 to get my first few wallet cards made. The Wallet Cards for greetings and inspirational messages have been around forever! But MashaALLAH, they received attention and spread like smiles they carry within them over time.

Firefly the name, is what I always called my journal. I write like a mad person when I go into my contemplative mode. I have a lot of thoughts. Several of them none quite read... and it's okay! They don't need to. The journal now looks like an aged diary because all the pages are scattered and the cover is actually coming apart from the spine. -_-; I write in it a lot less now because my thoughts, my inspirations, they all surface in the form of things at the Firefly page or over here at the blog. So when I say Firefly roots from my journal, I'm not kidding! All the designs, orders, crafted pieces... they come from life inspired occasions, relationships... and sentiments! There's a lot of that now, in other business pages and places. Which is great Alhamdulilah!

I love to craft and am blessed to be honored with such a task that works to spread smiles and create that extra dose of 'happy' in people's lives... what I fail to understand though is why my right as a human becomes erased. Like you, him, her, them... I do have days when I'm unwell. Like this past weekend and now. I have weird sleep because I'm in fever and freezing all night. Like you, him, her, them... I have family, that can fall sick, be admitted to the hospital, or be in need of my time. Like, you, him, her, them... I deserve the same respect I try to offer everyone. Everyone finds it funny or kind of bold that I put up a doodle in full sarcasm, I don't find anything to laugh about. It's the truth. When someone has put up all the information, made all prices, procedures, queries and things available, and works round the clock to make ends meet, how is it that people come around saying sorry to say, crap like was too busy to ready, or don't have time to read. How can you then expect one person who's dealing with hundreds of others to READ through queries and questions and respond back RIGHT away when you haven't the time to value their efforts or work? And mind you, this tops the charts especially when it says 'orders are closed'.

No matter how many times I receive queries or questions like this in my inbox:
How do I order?
Can the photobook be embellished?
What's the size of this?
Can the mini album be bigger?
I want something like this: *reference image of something manufactured in crazy methods and techniques in a factory or a mill*
I want a keychain.
Are the cushions printed?
What is the price of this?

I still sit and take time out to reply to the queries, share the how to order procedures, the price charts or the different bits and bobbles of info that would clarify things for my customers.

If it says orders are closed, not responding back at the moment, what might one infer from this? It's actually sad that the crazy pseudo religious fanatics freak out about us moving forward as a nation, when we can't even take out a minute to read pieces of information that can help us process orders faster, reply to queries quicker, or speed up payment procedures. NO.... it has to be the long way around, cause people don't have 'time'...

So my question to you, to him, to her, to them is... if one person can not pull out time to read info for their needs, how can someone pull out time to read or respond back to hundreds over night?

1 person emails 1 person. Super simple.
100 people email 1 person. Super easy.
1 person replies back to 100 people.. a task, that is managed Alhamdulilah.

What I further do not understand, how is an update reminding everyone about order processing and procedures classified as whining? I also fail to see the point in how every one likes to drop by like Simon from American Idol or Judge Judy from court tv to criticize someone on their beliefs, their values or them as people when they know nothing about me, where I'm from, what I do. And if you're judging me based on my work and nothing beyond that... here's a light bulb idea. Would someone with a conviction towards hate, anger, pessimism and negativity come out with things that are whimsical, bright, happy, vibrant, colorful or positive? Sounds out of logic if you ask me.

Firefly became what it is because of all the people that supported it. Firefly remains what it is because there's one person, giving up her personal time to create and craft or give to people who wish for a little sunshine. Do not bring money into this, because I don't see a castle I've built for myself, nor have I invested in millions of dollars worth of shares in the stock market. I work slow and with a heart to keep giving. I'm not crazy about raking in money, but Alhamdulillah I have enough to invest back into Firefly in the form of crafting supplies or newer projects. I love what I do, and could not be more blessed by Allah Kareem to take this forward. I do not have a mummy daddy fund backing my Firefly, they gave me the best gift ever, my education. What I do with it, is up to me. I'm hoping that within the next year my travel reduces a bit, so I can commit myself to work somewhere or develop my work as a Textile Designer, but til then the ball is rolling... and it's going well MashaAllah!

Here's what I do at Firefly
Those designs, tag lines, whimsical doodles, watermarked pieces of information, the charts, the photographs... they are all put together by ME. ONE person. The doodles and designs, are NEVER googled images.. doodling is easy.. scanning, illustrating and making them work is another ball game.

The handcrafted pieces that you see put together all pretty in the albums. It wasn't just a paper, uhu and some flowers that made it what it is.. it's called time, layering, design... it takes a bit to put it together. I didn't make it out of a DIY kit.. I worked on it, from scratch.

When orders are placed, it's not just oh have a fixed design, just send to processing, it's 6-10 hours of work to set all illustrations, designs, customized requests to send to the printer. Labeling, numbering, making sure the right image goes front and back, tags, and so forth!

When the order is ready at processing, it is picked up and checked for errors. By me, one person.

When orders come home, they're photographed, and packed, by me. One Person.

When you have a special request for colors or materials, I go shopping... to get just the right shade.. one person.

So when you opt for courier and need these treats delivered, we pack and label, drag ourselves to the courier offi despite being under the weather.  Oh wait, there are also those times when we don't have courier addresses to post to. :/

There are also added pressures from you know, the riots in the city, electricity  family emergencies and your requirements for delivery time.

Don't meant to keep going but there's also that, making sure payments are received factor. Our work at Firefly goes in batches. And we can't send out 1 item at a time. :/

What else do I do?
I am working on developing the Crafters' Guild, to facilitate other crafters and crafty fans!
I run a brand of bags and fashion accessories called Jugnoo & Junoon
I give workshops and classes to create an awareness about Crafting in general and the techniques and tools one can use to work with them. It's a proper class.. I teach... we do demos. We discuss. We study and we learn.
I am also an authorized retailer for Scrapbooking Supplies in Pakistan

So before we hit the 9,000 number. I just wanted to let you, him, her and them know a bit more about me. Before taking up assumptions or calling me names, you know. Alhamdulilah, I was raised well enough not to resort to that in replies :) just get the facts on right. And if you want to talk, walk in my shoes first. They're not your typical size 8. If you'd like to borrow a pair, learn to respect someone and their work, and the efforts they put into it, things will unravel and you'll be on that journey with them in  no time.

This is dedicated to every crafter, every home based business, and every individual that deals with such all the time on a daily basis. This is not a rant, it's a piece of written information, which I hope you read :) All Firefly fans, you know you're loved. If you weren't, I don't think anyone would work as much as or as hard as the person behind it does... if I'm not crafting for you, I have plenty of photos and events to craft or scrapbook with for myself... I'd still be crafting. I owe a lot to my fans, they keep me going. But I hope after reading this, you know that I'm not that pink bunny that runs on Energizer batteries. I'm a person. :) Love and Duas.

Smile Sunshine!


  1. what a lovely post....not only does it talk about how you do your business and what made you what you are..but also about how people sometimes think being a crafter is the easiest job to do...its a work from home no doubt but no less a job than any corporate job or any other job for that matter!!! Kudos girl!!!

  2. Saumya is absolutely right and thank you very much for this post. We all want to say this out loud so many times...but you have said it beautifully.

  3. Varah!! I just love your posts..the way you handle the clients is awesome..and you are a person of principles..good going will go a long way<IA! All the best..hugs!

  4. beautifully phrased! n ofcource well said.. ne form of art comes from within n its nt evryones cup of tea, nt all r born with a creative mind n those few who r, have to often face the mediocr minds n suffer! cheers gurl!

  5. Way to go varah!

  6. I just hope that these people read it too and appreciate all that you've been doing instead of taking it for granted. Much love xx

  7. The Firefly has spoken, and spoken so well....and this butterfly lover doesn't think anything needs to be said...its beautiful, its eloquent and its to the point...
    God bless and keep on crafting! :)

  8. Dear Varah,

    I came across your page on facebook a couple of days ago and I joined it for the mere fact that the stuff you created looked absolutely amazing MashAllah!!!

    I’ll be honest with you, some of your stuff is not something with which I can relate or connect myself too often but your creativity speaks volumes in everything which comes out from your hands. I absolutely loved the ideas and the hard work (which is of course a key to put together any idea);behind every creation. It’s very encouraging and exciting to see young people like you doing sooo well to explore their God gifted talents and providing the people around them with the opportunity to enjoy and appreciate beauty and talents.

    However, this blog of yours has really compelled me to tell you how amazing you are as a writer as well MashaAllah:))...qit should be evident from the fact that this is my first ever comment on a blog/post....wish you all the best!!!...prayers all the way!

    Best Regards,
    Rabiah Awais

  9. Very well said, Varah!! I loved what you wrote up there.
    God bless. Sending sunshine to your way.


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