Arts and craft enthusiast strings together beads of her accomplishments

Melika Mallahi crafts customizable accessories to add a personalized touch.

Through an online business, AUS student hones her skill of crafting accessories and explores her passion.

By Poojaraj Maniyeri

Sharjah, UAE– She sat in front of me, speaking animatedly, pointing to her earrings as we spoke. The earrings glistened in the sun, reflecting her face and her passion. 

From making toy plushies, loom bands, creating makeup drawers from tissue boxes, she had always had a hobby for arts and crafts. The first time she crafted something was in spring break in 7th grade, making plushies from felt fabric. Fast forward to 2022, she’s in her third year of college and now has an online jewelry business.

Growing up, Melika Mallahi had always been creating art, whether it was drawing a sketch or learning new stitching techniques. It was when she saw her friends creating bracelets that she knew this was something she really wanted to get into.

Mallahi ordered beads online towards the end of September 2021 but they took around three months to arrive, reaching her in December. 

As she made different accessories with the beads, she realized that “earrings are way more fun.”

In January, she began her online shop, which sells not just jewelry, but also ID card holders.

As time went by, she felt “a bit more experienced” and comfortable in experimenting with the process of creating different products.

Through the years, Mallahi was an avid visitor of Comic-con where she saw people selling their products and felt that “this seems so much fun.” 

“As a kid, I’ve always wanted something that makes me feel accomplished.”

Mallahi has always enjoyed seeing people’s positive reactions to her craft. 

“I make them happy with my pieces and then they make me happy, so it’s like a two-way thing.”.

“When people buy from you, they are so happy, they’re so excited.”

She begins talking faster, the joy clear on her face as she recalls the comments about her work. Unlike some businesses, which focuses on making the jewelry “chic,” she has a variety of jewelry including some “cutesy stuff” inspired from her other interests, anime and gaming, she said.

While that does make her business stand out in a way, she said that the success of a business is also sometimes based on luck.

She added that a huge part of business is outreach and spreading the word. Mallahi said that she has always been an introvert but for the business, it is important to go to different events and grow yourself. 

“You learn a lot from it, you do, you learn a lot of skills.”

Mallahi said that she wishes to create a lot of pieces soon and sell it in different places to make it wider known to people. Finding time to create accessories is not always easy because of university commitments, she added.

She said that a lot of the accessories as well as social media reels are often created during midnight as she is busy with university during the day.

For Mallahi, the accessories also work as stress-relievers.

“This is not just fun, it’s also therapeutic for me. When I’m making it, I forget everything else.”.

Mallahi initially started the business because her family encouraged her to do so. They pointed out that since she was making a lot of accessories, it might be fun to make a business out of it.

Although she started for fun, she said that sometimes “the fun collides” with the business aspect. Mallahi emphasized that while she wanted to have fun making the pieces, she also wanted to grow.

Mallahi said that she tries to avoid the pressure to consistently create and post. 

“I tell myself the business is there because I want it to be there.” 

She added that thankfully, the business was not made because she needed the money. 

“That’s why I tell myself, if you find inspiration, make it and then post. Don’t post because you have to.”

Mallahi explained that the accessories are always made at her assigned work desk. The process of creating takes time, and can also be “messy.”

She added that she finds most of her inspiration from Pinterest or social media and the accessories created vary on the day. Every piece has an “aesthetic” assigned to it.

“You have to pick the color template, you have to pick the vibe.”

After that, it’s just a process of picking and choosing the beads from the bowl, she added. Mallahi said that buying beads is an obsession.

“I don’t need it but I wanna buy because maybe it’ll go with this [accessory], maybe it’ll go with this [other one].”

Mallahi says that she sometimes has a hard time letting go of her pieces. She said that when people buy her pieces, she wants them to feel that “this piece is me.” 

“Sometimes these pieces are my babies, so when you get them, I want you to love them like you’re their babies as well.”