Inception of Sound Of Mazzika
As I start my official third year in business, I can't help but think about everything that happened that led to the birth of Sound of Mazzika. A lot of things just so happened to line up one after another for this idea to come to life in the way that it did.
It all started with me taking a job at one of the largest 3D printing manufacturers in the world. Being around so many engineers helped me finally get the experience and knowledge in 3D modeling that I had been craving since studying sculpture in college. I also happened to take a liking to learning Arabic percussion - another thing I had long-standing interest in, being of Lebanese descent. I have always been into unique, artisan, novelty jewelry, and tried to look up Darbuka earrings to purchase to represent my newfound talent.
I found nothing.
I decided I wanted it, I needed it, so I will MAKE it. The first thing I ever 3D modeled ended up being my Darbuka earrings, which I used random nail polish to paint to match my own drum. I thought I was done there. People kept inquiring about my earrings, what they were, where did I get them, and I did not expect for so many people to be intrigued with Arabic music and instruments! I know NYC is a melting pot, but I was not expecting that level of interest and for people to tell me they wanted to learn an instrument after speaking with me.
Within three weeks, I had met with a business consultant and painted several more designs. I threw together a website (another thing I had no prior experience in), and before I knew it I had an online store! I slowly started spreading more and more and offered several different instruments as wearable art. Hand-painted works are time consuming and expensive, so I wanted to also have more accessible versions of my original idea. I 3D modeled different versions and colored them using works I drew digitally, so I was able to have different iterations at different price points for my signature Sound Of Mazzika theme.
I wound up selling my work to people from all over the globe. I was not expecting that at all.
Arab culture is so vast and beautiful even beyond the music, so I kept going. I designed miniature argileh/shisha pipes, Arabic coffee cups, tarboushes, and some food items. All these designs as wearable art. But then, I got some feedback from people who adored what I was doing, but did not wear jewelry! I decided to hop right to it and started designing graphic tees, and that was the gateway drug to all kinds of other merchandise. I initially had purchased my own heat press, but decided to check out the drop-shipping world to ease some of the workload off of me. Being a one-woman run business is extremely exhausting, even if I enjoyed learning new skills constantly along the way.
Now, I have jewelry, stationery, activewear, apparel/clothing, and other accessories available - all Arabic music and culture themed. I have a series of interviews called Qahwe and Conversations, where I speak with Arabs in the arts about their own journeys and crafts. I share bits of my own musical journey, and people have reached out to me to tell them I inspired them to also learn an instrument.
I would not have been able to reach this without supporters, followers, encouragers, and the people closest to me who have gone out of their way to lift me up when I thought of throwing the whole business away.
Here's to another year of Sound Of Mazzika!