Makers with a Mission
JFSMade is a collection of brands and creations by JFS clients for their community.
JFS of Washtenaw County has been resettling legal refugees coming to this country for a better life for 26 years.
Our Micro-Enterprise-Development program supports refugees in Ann Arbor in becoming economically self-sufficient by providing assistance with the development, expansion and maintenance of a micro-business. This work helps to increase self-confidence and understanding of the financial services industry, including financial literacy, ensuring refugees can economically integrate in the U.S.
Please consider working with these professionals!
Meet the Makers.
Jasmine African Bread
I am from the DR Congo and came to the United States in 2018. I have been here about one year. My business is called Jasmine African Bread. I made homemade bread to sell to friends and family in the community. My goal for my business is to grow bigger, and to supply my bread all over the state. When I got here, I felt welcomed in many good ways, and now I want to give something back to the community that welcomed me.
I was born in Iraq in 1988, and grew up with my family there for twenty-five years. At the age of nineteen, I started working as a barber for the U.S. Army at a military base in Baghdad. I worked there for five years until I applied to come to the United States. In February of 2014 I was relocated to Ann Arbor and have been here ever since working as a barber at Mirage Unisex Salon. Today, I am in the process of opening my own barbershop, Galaxy Cuts. This will be a unisex barbershop, which I envision expanding to other locations and becoming a chain. I love what I do, and am excited to pursue my dreams!
Quality Center Alterations
I came from Jordan in 2016, where my family had been living since we left Syria in 2012. My husband had almost 30 years of experience working for a tailoring business in Syria, and I helped him. We opened our own store in Syria doing alterations, making dresses, and upholstering furniture. Here in the United States, we are starting a tailoring and alterations business. We can do any kind of alterations for our customers. We dream to someday own a store like we had in our country, so we can have more customers and keep providing quality services for people in the community.
Delicious Ethiopian Food
I am from Ethiopia and came to the United States in 2014 seeking asylum. Back home, I owned a natural juice stand with my family so I had experience in business. When I arrived to the United States, the people were nice but it was hard because I did not speak English, and did not know anything about the culture here. Gradually, I started to meet people and practice my English and become more comfortable. Now I am starting my own catering business selling Ethiopian food. I make nutritious and homemade food from my country – the ingredients are healthy, many items are vegan, and the bread is also gluten-free. My dream is to have a big restaurant selling Ethiopian food to my customers, and one day to be an international chef. Soon, I hope to be able to accept more catering orders for events and parties, and to have a table at the farmers market.
As a teenager in Syria, I worked as a pastry chef at Midani Sweets and Damascus Rose, very well-known pastry shops. This is where I was able to gain experience and learn from some of the best pastry chefs in Damascus. After my arrival to the U.S. in January, 2017, I started to work as a cook at Baba Dari in Ann Arbor. Today, I am still working at Baba Dari, and have also started my own pastry business, Sham Sweets. My dream is to have my own shop to serve my take on baklava, rice pudding, and various other sweets. My vision for Sham Sweets is that one day I will open multiple shops in Michigan, and have a main location in Dearborn, MI.
Zen Cleaning Services
I came with my family from Syria in 2016. In September 2018, I started my own business called Zen Cleaning Services. Zen Cleaning is a family owned business providing expert commercial cleaning services for offices and schools in Washtenaw County. I work with my husband and son. We use organic cleaning products and offer over 25 years of cleaning experience. My dream for my business is to always make sure my customers are 100 percent satisfied, to increase my number of customers, and add employees.
GN Cards & Designs
I am from Pakistan but I was living in Thailand before I came to the United States just five months ago. I make beautiful, handmade greeting cards and can customize them according to the person and special occasion. I can make personalized cards for birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, and any other occasion. I can also make intricately carved wooden picture frames, paintings and drawings, and murals in beautiful colors and patterns. My dream is to make cards and art so people can celebrate the special days in their lives and the people they care about, and eventually to have my own store where I can sell my designs.
I came from Afghanistan in November 2017. I used to work in sales and marketing back home, but had no experience in running my own business. I learned how to start a business from home in the MED program. My business is interpretation services. I can speak Pashto, Dari, Urdu, and English. When new people come from Afghanistan, I can help them by providing interpretation between their language and English. I interpret for new refugees when they sign their lease agreement, for medical appointments, and other important meetings. My dream for my business is to find more clients to grow my business, and continue to be able to work out of my home. My goal is to work hard at my business, work to support my family, and earn a good income.
East Street Food
I arrived to the U.S. in 2013 from Iraq, with a dream to one day open my own business. My father was a business owner in Iraq, and I always thought I wanted to do the same. As the years passed after my initial resettlement in the U.S., I held various customer service and food service positions. Some being in food service at the University of Michigan. I quickly knew that food service was what I wanted to pursue. In 2019, my two of my best friends and I had the idea to open M.A.K Middle East Street Food. We will be serving fast and easy Middle Eastern cuisine in a “Chipotle-style” way. Our goal is to bring our unique take on Middle Eastern cuisine to busy students, travelers, and professionals who may not have the time to sit down for a meal. M.A.K is scheduled to open in September, 2019, and is located in Southgate, MI. Currently we are in the process of branding, and getting our restaurant ready for customers!