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Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Spotlight on Small Businesses: Handmade Habitat


“Our philosophy is deeply rooted in the belief that what we bring into our homes should enhance our well-being and not harm it. We’re committed to using ethically sourced, natural ingredients to create products that work in harmony with the Earth’s systems,” Ahmad explained in an interview. 

At the basis of Handmade Habitat’s philosophy lies a deep commitment to environmental sustainability. Ahmad first became aware of the toxic chemicals prevalent in everyday household items during her time in college as an environmental science major. This revelation sparked the inception of Handmade Habitat, which offers eco-friendly alternatives to conventional products. 

Handmade Habitat offers a wide variety of products designed to promote a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle, including soy candles, cotton washcloths and bath salts. The candles and beauty products at Handmade Habitat are crafted using ingredients that are not only eco-friendly but also health-conscious. 

Soy wax, a renewable, biodegradable and vegan resource, forms the base for their candles. Not only do they burn longer than traditional candles, but they also do not release toxins or carcinogens. The essential oils and all-natural fragrance oils used are derived from plants and are phthalate-free, contributing to a clean and natural scent. 

Handmade Habitat also offers a “Candle Club” subscription, where members receive surprise packages delivered to their door each month. These packages include all-natural, vegan candles curated to match the season. The shop also offers the option to personalize gifts by adding notes. 

Ahmad recalled her early days as a vendor at local markets, selling clothing and bags under the name “Cats and Crafts by Amina.” Her transition to Handmade Habitat was driven by a desire to provide cleaner, safer products to her customers. 

“I always thought of the business at that point as: ‘Let’s see what this can do. Can it sustain my crafting hobby? Can it sustain paying a little bit of my rent?’ The candles were doing really well, and from a business model perspective, moving in that direction made a lot of sense,” Ahmad reflected.

The business started at local markets before gaining its own shops in Northeast Washington and Baltimore. Since then, Handmade Habitat products have now spread all across the country and can be found in over 50 stores throughout the United States. 

Ahmad advised young entrepreneurs who share her passion for sustainability to “start small, experiment, and stay true to your values.” 

“At the same time, make sure you don’t put too much pressure on yourself, especially at the beginning,” she added. “Remember to network, and build actual meaningful relationships with your peers and community.”

“Most importantly, don’t be afraid to take risks and learn along the way,” Ahmad concluded. “It is all worth it in the end.” 

Handmade Habitat is open from 9 a.m.-3 p.m on Saturdays, and all products are also available on the online store.

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