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| by Diana Farid

Passant Saied Is Changing Women's Lives with Locally Handmade Dolls

In this digital age, more and and more little girls are getting addicted to technology, simply forgetting about the simple pleasures of childhood. Remember when we used to play with cute dolls, naming them, dressing them and all? Passant Saied of PAF Dolls decided to revamp this concept, by producing the cutest handmade dolls with the craftsmanship of Egyptian women. So, read along to know more about Passant Saied, and how her project, PAF Dolls, is changing women's lives.

Tell us more about yourself.
My name is Passant Saied, and I'm an Egyptian artist. I received my MBA from Edinburgh Business School, HWU in 2012, and my undergrad degree in Political Science from The American University in Cairo in 2005. I worked in the governmental sector for 12 years, before deciding to quit to establish my very own PAF Dolls project. I was always passionate about arts and crafts since I was young, especially dolls, and I knew this is what I felt like doing for life.

What brought the idea of PAF dolls to your mind, given that your background is far away from art?
It all started when my grandma (who was a fashion and sewing professional and her family were the owners of “Nounou” textile stores back in the 20’s), gifted me her sewing machine, as she knew how much I loved sewing and arts and crafts.

I began looking for DIY fabric designs to make use of my new gift! I came across a simple tiny handmade doll and I was curious to try making one myself, so I got the required materials, but the result was not very satisfying to me.

After my first attempt, I decided to learn more about the doll industry by getting books from abroad on doll-making, and learned a lot from them through their YouTube channels, which I constantly follow.

Then, I sketched around 87 doll patterns, and made them with different materials, till I came up with the final one and named PAF Dolls reference to “Passant Art Factory” Dolls.

What is the purpose of the PAF Dolls project?
It's to help and encourage housewives to assist in the making of the dolls, as this will help them earn a better living. My aim for this project is not only to be locally available in Egypt, but also to expand it internationally. The project will also train the young generation who are interested in doll-making through workshops.

How would you describe PAF Dolls in simple words?
PAF Dolls are not like any other. They are professionally sewed in the highest quality. Each has its personal spirit, theme and attraction. Their unique charisma with their long silky hair makes them tender to cuddle. They also have cute features, since they are made with great attention to detail

Tell us more about the women behind PAF dolls.
To mass-produce PAF dolls, I was blessed to have a team of 6 women, including grandmas, aunties and mommies, who proficiently sew the dolls with love in the highest quality. Also, they make tiny cute crochet dresses for the dolls, that make them look more elegant and unique. After the doll parts are prepared, I put them together, draw its facial features, stitch its hair and do a final touch to ensure the look and feel of the doll is the same in each one. Apart from the doll-making process, we also have a digital marketing specialist, who is taking care of the online activities.

Where do u get your inspiration for your dolls from?
I get inspired to offer PAF Dolls during different occasions like Eid Al-Fitr, Ramadan, New Year's, etc. to spread love in a special and unique way. PAF Dolls are made with passion; they have a “heart-shaped” mouth, emphasizing the importance of speaking love, since this would have a positive impact in all types of relationships.

Also, PAF Dolls participate in different global initiatives targeting special causes. Recently, we supported health and education initiatives in Tanzania with “You Care & We Rule” NGO, by providing PAF Dolls whose profits would go to treat and educate less fortunate children in Tanzania.

As a young woman entrepreneur, what do you wish to achieve with PAF Dolls?
My dream has always been to have the first high quality Egyptian-made doll that is sold internationally, which has its own story and cartoon movie, to be as successful as Disney characters. And I believe I’m on the right track to achieve this.





Tags: Women  Women empowerment  Inspiring women  Arab women  Interviews  Egypt  Egypt art  Entrepreneurs  Entrepreneurship  Diana farid  Dolls