Art, Business Talks, Shopping

Atiya Zubair: The little world of creativity and whatnots

Profile photo of Zahra Anwer

Zahra Anwer

Associate Editor at Destination Riyadh

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We are delighted to chat with the creative brains behind the Whatnots shop, Atiya Zubair.


She is based in Riyadh and is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree. Her online shop offers crochet items, expressive magnets, handmade cards/canvas and other diverse range of products.

Today she shares her experiences with us in an interview about her work and crafting life.

How did 'Whatnots' come about? How did you come up with the idea?
It was back in summers of 2011, when I was done with my A levels and I had simply nothing to do. I came across a website that sold Crochet items. I was simply fascinated to see the variety of products that can be made out of crochet. Greatest part about it was that since my childhood I have seen my mother holding a yarn and a needle making sweaters and caps for me and my brother. So I passed the idea by her and she encouraged me to give it a try. She made a bunch of things as a sample so I could upload them on my newly made Facebook page. I still remember making our first sale 3 days after the page was created and it was a small trinket bowl. And that was the start, we went on making different crochet products and slowly after a year or so I started experimenting with various other items.
How long have you been crafting and how did you start?
I started crafting about a year and a half ago. It began by chance, when one of my clients asked me to make some Mickey Mouse themed invitations. I thought why not and I gave them a try and guess what they turned out pretty awesome. Once I posted those I eventually started getting crafty orders.
What is your favorite part of your handmade business?
Hmm! My favorite part would be making personalized gifts for everyone. I don’t know why I find pleasure in making something unique and extra special. That’s particularly the best thing of my job!
What are your 3 can’t-live-without craft-room essentials?
First most would be a giant table because I like to have several projects happening at the same time. Second thing will be cardstocks. It may seem ho-hum, but it has a ton of uses. Last but not least an all-purpose scissor.
Where do you look for inspiration?
For me it’s Pinterest. Haha! This is one of my favorite resources when I need a little creative inspiration.
Do you offer tutorials and face-to-face workshops?
We do offer face-to-face workshops which are held in ‘Candles & Chalks Studio’ at Al-Hamra Compound.
Studying for your bachelors degree, receiving orders for crafts and customizing, you’ve got a lot on your plate. What do you do to keep yourself, your space and your time organized?
I’m actually an incredibly organized person and I like to keep myself busy, which I truly enjoy. So I keep my day fully structured. I have a stack of sticky notes on my desk for organizing my work and studies. For few other things I have a RemindMe application on my laptop which has an alarm (best part). This is what I do every single day! I wouldn’t get anything done if I lived in chaos.

Thank you so much for joining us and sharing your talent, Atiya.

You can see more of Atiya’s work on her website and her facebook page.

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