Growing up I regularly visited my parents home country, Pakistan. We would take toys and clothes from Canada as gifts. On our return, we would bring home Pakistani/South Asian themed souvenirs and clothes. It helped keep the connection to my roots alive, which was very important to my parents. Then later on in life, I lived in the Middle East for approx 8 years and raised my kids there. Again, going back and forth from the Middle East to Canada, further creating a fusion of east and west for my own kids who are half Arab and half Pakistani, born to Canadian born parents. So my whole life there has been this cross cultural exposure. Now, I wanted to see products that were in a familiar form growing up in Canada, but that we as western Muslims could identify with. So you’ll see some themes of mosques and camels and Arabic letters in our product line.
As a former Montessori Teacher, and an avid Homeschooler, I had a keen interest in what types of learning tools, and visual aids would be the best fit for our classroom, at home and at work. I loved the craftsmanship of the wooden toys, and thought how nice it would be to have cultural/ethnic versions for children in our Muslim community. This inspired the idea to design and/or seek out products that had a fusion of east meets west. During this journey, I made a lot of discoveries and gained some insight into the toy manufacturing industry. I made it my personal mission to source ethically responsible toys and accessories. So in 2011, I launched Eastern Toybox offering “Western Treasures, with an Eastern Twist”. It was a unique product line that appealed to the environmentally and socially conscious consumer. Items that were eco-friendly and/or fairtrade whenever possible. I hope your family and friends enjoy this carefully curated collection as much as mine have!