Friday, March 21, 2014

Experience of a Designer at International Muslimah Fashion Week Cancellation (UPDATED)

Assalamu Alaykum,

First I want to say is that I ask Allah ta3ala for forgiveness in any of my wrongdoings all my faults are my own and I ask Him to protect me in my effort to speak the truth.

As designer and a intended vendor for IMFW I had been planning for this event since last year. I made a payment of about 409 usd (in July 2013) and 231 usd (early bird special in August of 2013) to cover my vending fees and extra ticket to bring my business partner from last year. The policies were that if you were vending at IMFW you needed to pay an extra ticket cost for bringing in a second person. From that time until now I have personally spoke with Shea on the phone, and met her at several fashion related events.

*Every time I called since last year to Muslima Conventions contact number, only Shea answered the phone. It seemed she was the only 1 pulling strings and handling the majority of the work.
*I spoke with her personally in February of this year and she told me about 1500 guests were confirmed everything was going well
*It was known that some of the funds she received were used for personal expenses. This is something she told me herself.
*She told me that all of her previous events were successful, she had been a seasoned vendor for years and she felt confident in the financial opportunity of IMFW

My business partner and I arrived in Delaware on March 19th Thursday evening around 12am. We left her parents home with a car and arrived at Hershey lodge around 4:58 pm. When we walked in we were directed by staff to go to the front desk. When we did we were informed the event was cancelled without further information.

I walked up confused and saw the same kind of confusion on all the sister's faces present. At the time majority of everyone there were the bloggers, host (s), designers/and or vendors (or their husbands). I walked further into the lobby and noticed Shea sitting down on a couch. She appeared very calm and collected and her husband was standing across from her in the same manner. She basically reiterated the following:

1. She had a contract with the hotel
2. The contract was given to her 3 days prior
3. She did not meet the requirements of the contract and the deadline of the contract was set at 5pm that day.
4. She apologized, blamed herself. And said it was the hotel's fault there was nothing she could do.
5. Everything else was covered...the lighting, food..etc, her only issue was covering the space.
6. She claimed "No one wanted to pay" that there were many who "bought" tickets and intended on paying at the door which was one of the reason she had a lack of funds.

Obviously there was shock, annoyance, and frustration. Several people spoke up and spoke with her directly or to the group. At the time she was not saying:

1. Why she didn't tell anyone about this
2. Why she didn't cancel the event beforehand in anticipation of not meeting the contract
3. When and how people would receive compensation or refunds
4. How much she had deposited to the hotel already
5. How much she needed to fulfill the contract
6. Where were the models, and other proof that the event was going to happen.
7. Why would she allow a policy for people to pay at the door for such a large ticket fee knowing she had a contract to fulfill (if that was the truth)

What was noticeable to me was her pointing out a Sales Rep. (her name I can't remember) She was an older Caucasian lady who I have never seen before or heard of. She repeated the same as Shea to the group. A few people directed their attention to her and asked her some of the pressing questions. Shea told her go ahead and leave "I don't want you to get attacked"

I never saw the woman again.

Here are some facts that I observed:

1. Designers were admitting to having paid different fees (charged different amounts). Many who paid on the phone never received invoices. I found out later that someone was told to pay through paypal as a "gift".
2. All of the bloggers and those who were told they would be compensated were told all to immediately vacate their rooms. Some of the bloggers who did have their flights paid for did not get confirmation on their tickets until 2-3 weeks beforehand
3. She did not walk around offering rides to anyone (from what I saw)
4. She was selling tickets until the minute of cancellation.
5. She asked another sister to cover "breakfast" that day and took even more money and has not yet paid that sister back, ignored her pleas to be compensated as well.
6. She at one point said she cancelled the event, and was challenged by a blogger who looked on social media and hadn't seen any evidence. She became belligerent and raised her voice at her.
7. There were no models present
8. No lighting crews
9. No food or catering present
10. No media (pictures, signs, schedules printed..etc) There were photographers but they looked just as confused as everyone else. They all left together after listening to the back and forth.
11. No other people associated with Muslimah Conventions (except the host who was in complete shock) was there which means that nobody else was there to answer questions, or was involved in the business dealings. It all appeared that the only person with any responsibility was Shea and the supposed media rep who spoke for 5 minutes had left. This observation bothered me the most because for an event that was supposed to cover 1000-2000 people, there should have been a team or staff or some sorts. It seems many of her businesses only have 1 staff and employee and that's her. That is my observation.
12. At one point Shea left the building and was followed by some of the designers and hosts who were worried she was going to flee. They stood behind her car and waited for her. She removed her children for the car (who had been inside) and brought them inside before the police arrived.


1. Police were called
2. They respectfully questioned some of us (briefly) and her and hotel staff
3. They told us that she only placed a deposit of 5,000 dollars on the contract when she had previously told as some of the bloggers 50,000 dollars the day before however.
4. The police told us that the contract was cancelled 3 days before when Shea claimed it was cancelled at 5pm the day of.
5. The police informed us because of the way everything had been handled on her end they could not do anything for us individually and we were advised to form a class action lawsuit against her to get the money. The police commented that he had no "sympathy for thieves" and could not make a conclusion of whether we would be compensated.

Just on a personal note I am a small business owner and a single mother. I had invested a significant amount of money last year, and this year in preparation for IMFW such as inventory and travel. This has hurt me and my family on many levels. And I cannot hope to imagine how it must have felt for the designers from Egypt, Singapore, Indonesia and Turkey and those that are still arriving today. Tears were shed. We consoled each other, tried to find facts and overcome in our own way. As a part of the Muslim fashion industry I find it disheartening that so many well known bloggers and business owners knew that she had a background and made no attempt to warn anyone.  You know who you are. Some of you are speaking out now when you did nothing to stop it before subhanallah.

I also find it scary that we have uplifted members in our community to celebrity status and they did not use their clout to speak out against it. Some of these girls have claimed they signed a non-disclosure agreement (which I have not seen for myself) and some of them did not, yet they all kept relatively silent and ambiguous on their knowledge. I personally will no longer support your brand or businesses after knowing this. I commend the brothers and sisters who were in that lobby with me for hours who kept their composure relatively well despite the frustrations we all felt. I also wish to personally thank the bloggers, designers, business owners, vendors who have come out and spoken the truth. It is indeed much more difficult to put yourself out there and speak about this matter rather then remaining silent especially the sis behind PHKI for her poise well written article here.

This is a hit to the our community overall, not just the fashion industry. It has revealed our true characters as Muslims. Shea if you are reading this, mother to mother I mean no harm against you. I just beg you to make amends and return our money and to learn from this. I ask the brothers and sisters reading this to please curb your tongues and speak with respect and dignity about her and about this situation. Do not let this drag us down as a community. Let's turn this into an learning opportunity and truly take care of each other like true "brothers and sisters."


Shea N Bates behind InternationalModesty via instagram is now telling everyone who needs refunds to contact her via

Please note that if you paid with paypal OVER 45 days ago you can not make a legal claim online via the system. (that is if you paid with paypal money and not your bank account...sometimes paypal will pull money out of your bank account for payments). I called paypal earlier to day and they will be writing a formal letter to her to request the funds. Inshallah this will help solve the issue but she does have free choice not to do so. As a early mover in this event I hope she will honor her words in paying everyone in order of when they paid her. But I do advise everyone to call paypal and your bank to let them know of the situation at least. 

From now (it is 3:24 EST) she has not put any information on the website saying the event is cancelled which means she could still be receiving money. Paypal may cancel her account.

Less important update as well:

First to all of those coming out of the woodworks to admit that they thought the situation was shady or saw evidence of some sorts

Here is the first and last comment I made on my Facebook page intended for you.

Whether you had a non-disclosure agreement or not. Whether said agreement actually legally bound you from speaking about not attending or saying anything or not. Maybe you saw a mug shot, maybe you heard, maybe you went to an event in the past and saw it with your own eyes. Maybe you expressed your sentiments to your friends (while being or NOT being bound to an agreement) and not to your fans/and or clients who trust you and probably lost money the end of the... day that is on your conscious. I am not going to debate you on my business twitter feed (I don't even own a phone lol) But what I will say is that I disagree and those excuses (fears or unfound fears of repercussion) do not matter to me. From sister to sister I can't roll with it. If your fans continue to support and praise you so be it but you lost one in me and I am sure you (all) could care less. Subhanallah I just pray Allah swt helps me be one that speaks the truth even if it hurts. I pray that any all situations past and present people will consider me one of truth and that claim on my character is true. And I pray He surrounds me with those that speak the truth or recognize that when have fault in not doing so. And I pray if I ever fall into a situation in which I fail a test, I learn from it. Keep doing what you are doing sisters we shall agree to disagree. Peace and Love.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Goodbye Bloggity blog :)

ok no more guilt. I feel quite pleased with myself. This blog is ending yes, but I am transitioning. Thank you for following me on my journey out into starting The Sultaness and finally realizing the goals I set out for myself some years ago. I do have the jeweledoasis blog I mentioned in my last post but that is more of platform for fans of the Sultaness. I however will be more focusing on writing regarding business, starting a business, entrepreneurship, fashion design and stuff related to that. 

Go to to follow me there inshallah if you like! I wish you all the best :) 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Check out my business blog!

Ok I am still in the process of doing a little project on the side but that is going to take a lot of time and thought. I finally got my business blog for The Sultaness up alhamdoolilah.

It is called Jeweled Oasis and I am so proud of it. I will phase this blog out and move there permanently so if you are still interested in following my goings ons and what nots you can subscribe there :)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Thoughts on moving on...

I never thought I would get to the point of wanting to move on from my blog. Now I think I am building respect for those that do. There comes a point where its hard to find a point. I used to go days without posting and felt this sense of guilt and all types of posts sprouted up in my mind of what I felt I should publish. Now I have gone weeks and months and there is no guilt. 

I wish I could say I am too "busy" to write on here but if I am honest with myself I know I am not working up to my potential in my personal and professional life. I have many responsibilities on my plate and some days I regress just trying to catch my breath. Alhamdoolilah for everything. 

I do have a special announcement however! I am engaged :) Yes, I was scooped up by an amazing man who keeps me grounded as we travel on this uphill road to becoming a family. I look forward to that and the thoughts of that bring me comfort and a cheesy smiles alhamdoolilah.

I deleted my Facebook account. I am not sure if it is permanent. No more outfit posts to be expected from me or any goodies to show off either. All my money, time and energy is going full force in my business. 

I do have thoughts on starting a business blog and shifting over there. I'd rather write more towards entrepreneurship and the ins and outs of that once I gather myself, and perfect my craft. 

If I do make a move I will link it from here before I phase this out.

I love all my followers. Thank you for coming along this journey with me. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

8 Good Morning Questions to start the day in Happiness

Woke up late this morning. My schedule has been out of wack since the last 10 days of Ramadan. Yesterday was full of lots of work. Everyday I feel like I wake up and my heart and mind go on a treadmill. Do this, do that. I had a schedule but it fell apart. Now I have to reclaim it slowly. This week I have to go to the doctor's because I have something wrong with my right hand since Ramadan. I have to wedding to go too as well (the Sultaness is conducting a custom order for her jewelry that day).

Friday, August 23, 2013

Nafiza J's Handbook for Life (its time for a change)

Peace and blessings,

I can't tell you how many times I contemplated ending my blog. I felt that no one was reading, it wasn't relevant anymore, and it wasn't nearly as chic and fancy enough as my other accomplished blogger sisters.

It wasn't until recently after reading a passage of Mastery where I started silently mulling why exactly was I even having those thoughts?

Thoughts about others. 

Thoughts about keeping up.

Thoughts about not feeling good enough.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Post launch thoughts

Ah man its been so long since I blogged. I almost do not know what to say. Alhamdoolilah I launched the Sultaness and it is a certainly amazing company I am proud to run.

I think since launching I drink something called "Reality Juice 5.0" and I went from having expectations (before launching) to adjusting to reality. Positive and Negatives included.

But alhamdoolilah I am glad I made the jump so now I can focus building my knowledge and this business.

Whenever anyone asks me how Ramadan is going I sometimes have to force a positive response. I have nostalgic feelings for being a student back in uni with the freedom to arrange my day and worship to my hearts content. If I close my eyes and envision an ideal situation it would be far from what is present. Sometimes days are much harder then others as I barely get a break managing so much. I am Senora Complainsalot basically.

Sultana is amazing. Beautiful. Happy and well taken care of by me.

As for me...I haven't taken a picture in a LONG time for a good reason lol.

Some days become so hard I just want to shout or bang my angry woman fists and spew all the bitterness and regret I can muster. I think things are more exacerbated because I am still going through a legal divorce and for some reason Ramadan all of it is picking up again.

It feels as almost as if I am being attacked from all sides to prevent myself from enjoying this month.

And soon Ramadan will leave and be lost forever.

I wish I had something powerful, intellectual, or perhaps inspiring to say but that would be forcing it. Right now I am taking deep breaths and pacing myself.

Current goals I am setting and working towards:
1. Finishing reading Quran for the month
2. Memorizing new surat inshallah ya rab
3. Writing an ebook or presentation on networking for Muslim business owners
4. Taking advantage of the upcoming days as if they were my last (inshallah)
5. Daily reading and increasing my knowledge for my career
6. Downsizing..getting rid of some of my emails and even this blog...what do you think?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Adventures in Not having a Cell Phone!

Question 1

Have you ever gone without having a cell phone (we all did before they were invented) and for how long?

Question 2

How did it make you feel?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Inglot Cosmetics and the Sultaness Launch Party!

I am quite excited. I am ecstatic. Time passes by so quickly and there is not enough subhanallah I am so busy. Please help support me and let people know about this historical undertaking! Post to your blogs, Facebook pages, and social media. It means so much and it enables to me to have a boost in creating a successful brand that appeals to all! (inshallah)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

My story on Coming to Faith site!

Salams and peace to all my dear readers, newbies and veterans! 

I wanted to pass you all my Coming to Faith story submitted here. It is my reflection on how I came to my state of faith and the process of my trust in Allah.

I'd love to know your thoughts!

 This is the first real submission (for another site)I have done online I think! 


Story here:

Featured Events: Premier Showcase Event!

Peace and Blessings folks! 

Last night I went to an app launch party in Inglot and stood around pretending to be helpful. My outfit caught the eye of this really sweet woman who inquired about the biz. I told her just a little about it and asked her to attend our launch party. She said she would be really excited to do so and threw in some other exciting stuff that may or may not happen. A collaboration of some sorts! 

I really love being a business woman. I feel on edge and overwhelmed most of the time yes, but its a profession that allows me to meet so many amazing people, learn and grow daily, and be able to potentially affect many lives. We haven't even started yet, which means there are probably lots of uphill battles and road bumps ahead...I will face them inshallah! 

Here is a question! 

Are any of you going to be in the New York area on Saturday?

 If so, I'd love to see you at the event happening at the Gregory Hotel. See flyer below.

I am really excited because I have seen some of the product adverts and there will be some great pieces on sale. Also, I get to meet the designer Zeba Ramos (again)! She is one of the sweetest hardest working people I know in NY now, and she will be featuring her designs there for sale inshallah.

Btw, if you come I WILL HUG YOU! 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Product Review: Princess Arabia Fashion

 Peace and blessings folks!

Ok, so about 10 forevers ago I purchased some maxi dresses from a Facebook storefront called Princess Arabia Fashions. It was the second time I ever ordered something on Facebook as I am an old woman and sometimes don't trust doing it.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Adventures with Sou sou!: Hair Creme and a 2 year old.

A while ago, sis and I were brainstorming some important stuff for the biz. We ASSUMED sultana was being productive playing with her blocks...that is, until we saw her run into the room and show us excitedly that she did her hair...

um....I have no words for what you are about to see...

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Doing a little bit of Spring cleaning!

Peace and blessings folks!

I am doing a little bit of spring cleaning on my blog. Its time for more integration and spreading of lots of love! You can be sure to see changes in my pages (shopping destinations, ebooks, my favorite links) as well as some general visual changes. 

Let me know what you think! 

Isn't today a beautiful day?

Don't forget to share some love and tell everyone about my business! Everything is hand-made (that's why I don't sleep) and we will soon be partnering with some really great causes. If you are in the New York area, we will be launching June 29th in Chelsea square with Inglot studios inshallah! yay! 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Preparing for the Photo-Shoot Number 2

Peace and Blessings folks! 

Tis a photo-shoot around the corner for my sis and I. We are designing new items, prancing around the house in scarves and fleshing out the details like skin tone, make up, scarf style, and products. 

Our lovely model Rima is scheduled to show. We also put a casting call out for some more models. Inshallah one day I hope to host a casting call for any folks in New York and see if I can gather some girls in the local area! 

Working...working through the night. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Project Coming of Faith! Yes and Yes Again!

Peace and Blessings folks!

Have you heard of Coming of Faith? It's an up and coming project that features stories of Muslim women from various backgrounds of how they came to identify as Muslims. Usually we have all these "Hijab Story" posts all over the internet. While I do think they have some value, they don't effect me on a deep way as much as reading about someone's personal journey towards their current spirituality.

According to the Coming of Faith Project, 

"these stories are kept within our own selves, shared only during special occasions or with certain individuals, with the fear of judgement and misunderstanding. This prevents the world from gaining a more nuanced understanding of the different pathways that Muslim women take and the struggles we go through as we strive to embrace and fully realize the potential of our faith. Many of us have had deeply transformative experiences that have shaped and continue to shape us as we walk on our faith journey. It's time we shared them with one another.We are not looking for the typical ‘hijab story’ nor are we looking only for stories about reaching a ‘higher level’ of Islam per se. Rather, we’re looking to collect a variety of stories of real women who faced real struggles and at the end of the day, identify as a part of the Muslim faith."

Go, and show some love and support! Inshallah it would be great to read your stories there!

Coming of Faith site.
Coming of Faith facebook

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

How can I help you?

Peace and blessings folks! 

I am really excited right now because I have so many good things going on in my life. I am starting a business, meeting so many inspiring and beautiful

Friday, May 17, 2013

Link Loving: My favorite Nasheeds

Here are my absolutely favorite anasheed and religious songs! Let me know if you have listened to any of these and any recommendations you have for moi!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Featured Events: Sister Swap Event!

Peace and blessings folks!

I always ALWAYS wanted to attend a swap event and yesterday alhamdoolilah I got my chance! I met up with a few other NYC sisters at Cafe Bene near Time square. 

First of all let me mention that Times square is not fun for me anymore. There are too many people, too much stimulation, (I sound like a grandma) and no one seems to know where they are going!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tips for a Better Life Tag: Eco friendly and money saving tips that anyone can do!

Peace, love, blessings, and good health to all of you reading this!

Ok so I created a tag! I have no idea why, maybe just to spice things up a bit and to hear some practical tips we can all share between us.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Thursday, May 2, 2013

My Style: High Tea Fashion Show Outfit and Markers and Thread BLoggy!

Peace and Blessings to all my dear readers!

Welcome to all the newbies and veterans! Its been foreversville since I had outfit posts. Last Friday, I attended the sisters only fashion show at St. Johns University. It was featuring Nida Mirza from IslamicGems and her new clothing line. 

I don't know if it's because I barely get out of the house, or because everyone was so nice,but I had an awesome time! I even got to meet the amazing Sadeel Allam from Sweet Modesty blog! Not only is she beautiful but she is sweet too (go figure!) 

I hope one day to host sisters-only events too (as you can really let loose) but for now I am very excited about the opening we will be having in NYC. Inglot Cosmetics (producer of the water permeable nail polish/found to be wudu permissable by many) will be launching the Sultaness (fb page, website)at their studios in Chelsea Square. 

This is a big deal. 

You are AmaZing


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...