Zarinah Naeem


Beautifully Wrapped

What is Beautifully Wrapped?

Beautifully Wrapped is an international, interfaith organization that brings together people of all cultures and ethnicities to showcase the art form of headwrapping as a way to promote beauty, spiritual identity and holistic health and healing. I grew up wearing wraps and being supported with covering as a part of my Muslim background.  But later when I grew older, I realized that Muslims weren’t the only ones who cover and that many different cultures and groups all over the world use this art of adornment and reverence.  As an anthropologist, Beautifully Wrapped is my way to celebrate a unique global phenomenon, and to contribute to a global culture of love.

What was your experience in Build Institute?

Build pushed me to think in a business mind-frame.  For several years, Beautifully Wrapped was just a hobby. I was teaching workshops and producing a calendar, but I never thought of it as a tangible business.  Build forced me to sit down, think about the financials, and how to turn this into a sustainable project. I also learned about all the resources available in the city – which was huge for me. Build helped me to strategically plan my next steps.  I left with a clearer picture of where I’m going, and those who can help me get there.

What are your most recent developments after the class?

I am organizing my second Headwrap Expo which will take place on June 8th. The expo is like my baby – it’s a way for me to bring different religious groups and ethnic communities together. We will have a full vendor show, workshops throughout the day, and cultural fashion shows. I’m still accepting applications for vendors or exhibitors and hope to showcase as many local businesses that fit our vision as we can. (More info at www.headwrapexpo.com.) We are also organizing a travelling exhibition entitled ‘Divine Cloth’ which will hopefully launch this Summer. We’re teaming up with a Detroit-based company called Launch Good to conduct our crowdfunding campaign for this project. Look out for it this summer at www.launchgood.com.

What’s in the future for Beautifully Wrapped?

This December, we will be travelling to Sierra Leone, West Africa to begin research on manufacturing our own line of headwraps with co-ops there.  I want to use Beautifully Wrapped to not only build understanding, respect, and love… but also economic freedom primarily for women in Africa AND the urban centers of America. In the end it’s all about love and economic freedom.  That’s really my ultimate goal.

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