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 refugees since 1978. Through this experience, JFS has developed an expertise in empowering individuals and families to realize their vision for a new life.
Our Micro-Enterprise-Development program supports refugees and others 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, and promote economic empowerment and inclusion.
Home-Based Business Grants
Through grants from Citizens Bank and Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, JFS is offering $500 grants for you to start a home-based small business! Racial/ethnic minorities, immigrants, and women artists are highly encouraged to apply
Questions? Direct inquiries to Shadin Atiyeh, Employment & Economic Empowerment Programs Director: email@example.com
Apply here: JFS Home-Based Business Grant
Order a JFSMade Holiday Box
$50 Holiday boxes containing items from 7 Micro-Enterprise Development vendors:
- Sham Sweets baklava
- Promise Sweets date balls
- Jasmine African Bread sweet bread
- Afife Jewelry earrings
- Esperance Clothing & Accessories coin purse
- Pretty Petit Confections butter cookies/petit fours
- Just Desserts Cakery mini apple pies
Contactless pick-up at JFS:
- Wed. Dec. 16 5 – 7 p.m.
- Fri. Dec. 18 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
- $20 delivery available within 10 mile radius of JFS.
During these unprecedented times, please consider supporting these JFSMade businesses in their collective $7,500 sales goal for this project year!
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.
Fakriya arrived to the United States from Afghanistan, in August 2019, with her husband and 6 children. Since the family’s arrival, Fakriya and her oldest daughter have been spending their time keeping busy in the kitchen. Fakriya’s love of cooking started as a young girl cooking with her mother in Afghanistan which later in life called her to take culinary courses while in Pakistan. This is where she fell in love with using fresh, local ingredients to make anything and everything from scratch. When asked what she loves to make most she said, “anything for my family”, but she also mentioned she doesn’t mind making her homemade doughnuts occasionally. Fakriya eventually passed her passion on to her daughter, who is learning from her expertise, and today they are operating Ulfat Jams together. With the family’s business experience in beekeeping and honey, and Fakriya’s passion for creating and cooking, Ulfat Jams was born. Fakriya is always looking to add new unique flavors to her already extensive 12 flavors of homemade preserves and is hoping to sell various breads and pastries that pair well with the jams in the future.
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.
A Mother’s Hand
I’m from Turkey and came to the US in October 2019. My business is called ‘A Mother’s Hand’ as all handmade products are made by my mum and I. My mum is 67-year old woman. She has been working for years to support her children with her handmade products. Our goal is to support woman who have been exposed to violence and we want to share some of our traditions with you.
Just Desserts Cakery
Uniqwa is a Grand Rapids native who moved to Ann Arbor 3 years ago. Back then times were tough, but Uniqwa was tougher. She had always wanted to start her own business, and when she arrived, she went back to school and got her GED, and immediately enrolled in culinary school at WCC. Now a college graduate, Uniqwa founded Just Desserts Cakery to turn her dream into reality. She says she did it all for her kids, to set a good example for them and to teach them that with enough hard work and determination, they can achieve anything. Her goal is to one day expand her operations to include not only a bakery, but an after school rec center for at-risk teens, where they could come to hang out and learn valuable trades, especially cooking and baking, because she wants to give back to the community that lifted her up when she needed it most.”
My name is Afife, and I am from Turkey. I live in in Chelsea, MI with my husband and teenage son. Since coming to the United States I have struggled with learning English and accessing transportation. Throughout my time at JFS, I have been able to gain steady employment at a café in Chelsea, purchase a car, and start my very own jewelry business, Afife Jewelry. Through Afife Jewelry, I have been able to practice my English by interacting with customers, and have sold my products through JFSMade and at the Ypsilanti Farmer’s Market. I love to create new pieces of jewelry that represent my style and culture, and will be participating in more markets in the future. My goal is to help my family have a better life, and to create beautiful jewelry that will make all people happy.
Waad, a Syrian refugee who came to the United States in 2016, has opened her own Syrian sweets business, Promise Sweets, with the goal to own her own restaurant and bakery one day. When living in Syria, Waad baked for her friends and family, and developed a passion for sharing her talent with others. After arriving to the U.S., and establishing herself in the community with her husband and children by her side, Waad decided it was time to start her own business, and continue sharing her passion with the people of Southeast Michigan. Waad is currently selling her Syrian sweets at the Ypsilanti Famers Markets, and is working hard to develop her business plan and pursue more outlets to sell her sweets. She is excited to share her baking with not only other Syrians in the community, but all people as well!
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!
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.
Pretty Petit Confections
Hasna came to the United States of America as a refugee from Syria four years ago in 2016. She founded her business, Pretty Petit Confections, in order to share her skill and love of the culinary arts with the rest of the community. Though she has a wealth of experience when it comes to baking pastries and sweets, she believes she is most skilled at making betefour, delicious butter cookies which are popular around Eid, and the product included in our Holiday Basket. So skilled, in fact, she says she could be considered a professional! She says eventually, her dream is to expand her operations to sell all kinds of baked goods and pastries, and eventually open her own patisserie here in the U.S.
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.
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.
I am from DR Congo, and came to the United States in December of 2018. My business, Esperance Clothing and Accessories, came from my love for sewing and crafting handmade bags and clothing out of colorful and intricately patterned fabrics. I have been selling at the Ypsilanti Farmer’s Market and through JFSMade, and have been working hard to make new, unique products. My goal is to continue to participate in the MED program at Jewish Family Services so I can expand and grow my business even more. I am so excited to bring my crafting skills and a piece of my culture to the United States.
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 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.
A loaf with six delicious rolls!