It all started when she rediscovered her connection to Islam, something that used to be a struggle for her to understand but has now become close and personal. She wanted to bring Islam to pop culture and give access for not only Muslims but also others to understand. Hence the birth of Qenza, a company she founded and owns.
“It was a long journey for me to reconnect to Islam. Then I realised I wanted to create beautiful pieces inspired by Islam, breathing contemporary style into them. I love Islamic geometry but we can’t keep on rehashing the past. The design of prayer mats has been unchanged for the last 600 years, since the fall of Ottoman empire. This was the reason why I started with prayer mats for Qenza,” said Tasha.
Her parents named her Siti Nadhirah Jalani but they called her Natasha instead. The Ipoh-born girl was an alumni of Tenby School and Main Convent. She then furthered her studies in Perth after completing her SPM and continued working and staying in Perth for 14 years.
“I like Perth’s lifestyle because it similar to Ipoh. I’m definitely not a city girl and more like a small town girl and at heart, a kampong girl. Ipohites are blessed for sure,” added Tasha.
She previously work as a chartered accountant and finally stopped working as a financial controller for a mining company at the end of October 2016 when it was becoming really difficult to juggle work and Qenza.
“I did my research, cross checked with other scholars to ensure about the patterns. Qenza’s patterns are minimalist especially where the eye falls because we want to create an experience that is peaceful and non-distracting. We also used foam for comfort, the bottom is lined with anti slip.”
When asked about her inspiration, it was through her readings, research and travelling that contribute to Qenza’s designs.
“It was in Granada that my intention solidified, that my creations need to be appealing to everyone and not just Muslims because you can see Muslim art in churches and synagogues and before the fall of the last Muslim empire, Muslims, Christians, Jews and Catholics lived in harmony with each other,” added Tasha.
“I know nothing, therefore I must continue to learn. Every preconception I have can easily be broken by just reading or speaking to someone new or going to a new place. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is difficult but it’s something we need to do to reflect on the other person’s experience and motivations,” she opined.
Qenza is currently available in ten countries including Malaysia (Gondolo31 in Ipoh, Twenty2 in Bangsar, Twenty2 Johor and Damansara’s GarderobeHaus), Singapore, Brunei and Australia. Readers can also visit their website at www.qenza.co for more information.