How these Perry Barr jewellers got their very own Amazon billboard

Asad Bangash and Asiya Asad saw their homemade women’s jewellery Mani and Liza take off during the pandemic

Asad Bangash and Asiya Asad, who sell their own handmade jewellery, were gifted their very own billboard in their hometown of Birmingham as it was named one of three new Great British Craft Hubs by Amazon Handmade

A couple have spoken of their delight after being gifted a billboard in their home city by Amazon to promote their handmade jewellery business.

Asad Bangash and his wife Asiya Asad, from Perry Barr, were chosen to have their handmade jewellery products promoted after a report found that Birmingham and the West Midlands saw the most growth in the UK for new artisan makers during 2019-20 - meaning the city has now been named as one of three 2021 Great British Craft Hubs.

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Asad and Asyia’s business, called Mani and Lizaa, was chosen to celebrate the accolade for the city partly because they started their handmade business in 2019, the same period during which Amazon Handmade - a section of the technology company’s website where you can sell your handcrafted products to customers around the world - conducted its research.

The couple, originally from Pakistan, began selling their products through Amazon Handmade in 2019, and were thrilled to be given the billboard.

“We were really excited and thrilled to know that Amazon has chosen Mani and Lizaa for the Amazon Handmade campaign and awarding a free billboard. We really felt valued and appreciated,” they said.

They were inspired to start the business creating and selling women’s jewellery specialising in hand-crafted wood, after seeing other products online.

“Asiya has been involved in making handmade jewellery since she was young, “ said Asad.

“And I started browsing some websites on the internet and came across some very good artisans and their work, so we were inspired by the products and decided to start making our own handmade products.”

Asiya creates much of the jewellery using skills she learnt as a child in Pakistan, and Asad designs the products based on inspiration from Japanese art.

Asiya said: “We named the business after our two beautiful daughters Iman and Aliza.

“I started making embroidery art when I was only 12-years-old and never stopped since that moment.

“My husband is passionate about wooden jewellery and really loves making and designing exclusive designs and wooden products -they are all designed and created by us and are truly one of a kind.”

Asad and Asiya have a passion for handmade products

The couple work on their products part-time while balancing jobs and family life, and making and designing jewellery gives them both a creative outlet to unwind from stresses of work and study whilst making additional income

Asad works in a mental health supporting role at the NHS, and Asiya studied law at university last year while working as a beauty therapist.

And with sales now picking up, they are looking forward to promoting their business further over the festive season.

“With the Amazon billboard and promotional support it will bring, we are expecting our sales to grow in the future,” Asad said.

Asad and Asyia’s handmade wooden jewellery

Birmingham named a Great British Craft Hub

Asad and Aysia were gifted their billboard after the findings of the Great British Artisans report led to Birmingham being named as one of three 2021 Great British Craft Hubs, alongside Edinburgh and London.

To celebrate the rise of artisans across the UK, Amazon Handmade gifted three makers in the craft hotspots of London, Edinburgh and Birmingham free 3D billboards to help promote their bespoke handmade products, and inspire those looking to turn their hands to craft.

The couple were thrilled to be chosen by Amazon to have their business promoted

What does the research show?

Last year’s lockdown inspired one in five Brits (18 per cent) who took up crafts during the pandemic to leave their 9-5 in favour of selling handmade goods, with Birmingham, Edinburgh and London identified as 2021’s Great British craft hotspots.

Birmingham and the West Midlands saw more growth during the pandemic year than any other region in the UK and Edinburgh (home to 18 per cent of Scotland’s artisans and London (31 per cent of Britain’s artisans host the highest number of artisans nationally.

The report, based on data mined by economic consultants Metro Dynamics spanning the past 10 years, found that of the key UK craft hubs, Edinburgh indexes particularly highly for textile artisans, Birmingham for jewellers, and London for beauty and grooming artisans

Over 80 per cent of people under 35 who took up craft during the pandemic now selling products they make themselves either full or part-time.

Those who chose to leave their job to pursue selling their handmade goods full time cited improved mental wellbeing (66 per cent), a desire to be more creatively fulfilled (51 per cent) and career autonomy (52 per cent) as their reasons why.

Lisa Butters, General Manager of Amazon Handmade, said:“Last year was a record for the number of new-self employed artisans across the country, showing just how resilient Britons were in the face of a truly unique time.

“With the huge rise, we saw that people took to creative outlets to express themselves and created so much with their craftwork that they began selling their handmade goods, and even created their own businesses. The entrepreneurial Brit is growing, and we want to support our local artisans as much as possible this festive season and beyond.”

You can see products from Mani and Lizaa on Amazon Handmade here.

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