• Afra

IT TAKES A VILLAGE: BEHIND SUGAR, SPICE & EVERYTHING NICE

Updated: Dec 31, 2019

CELEBRATING THE CREATIVITY AND FLAIR OF SOUTH ASIAN CREATIVES


Little did I know when I kicked off this year all set for my solo journey of discovery, that I would close it off surrounded by a village of makers, doing what I love. This is the beauty of the world of small business, where the people are ever willing and the possibilities for innovation are endless.


Photography: Pannila Photography

This year was all about exploring my relationship with employment and delving into my identity as a South Asian woman, redefining the cultural norms of work and life. Incidentally, two fellow small business owners doing much the same came into my world in 2019: Poonam of The Maharani Diaries and Bhavna of The Modern Desi Co.


The idea for an event that heroed the success stories of our community manifested over coffees and conversation; and after many months of planning, 'Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice - High Tea and Fashion Show' launched to Sydneysiders on the 24th of November.


Photography: Pannila Photography

The event stemmed from our realisation that whether we call ourselves immigrants or thoroughbred Australians, the colour of our skin, the many syllables in our name or even that hint of an accent in our voice sets us apart in the tapestry of Australia. Whilst we often find ourselves regularly a part of conversations that celebrate our diversity, there really isn’t enough introspective conversations about what makes us all the same. So, we chose to consciously create a space for this in the way we know best – over food and company.


Much to our delight, fifty people resonated with this idea and chose to join us for an afternoon that explored the threads that bind us as creatives, as women, and as South Asians.




Behind the magic were 15 sponsors and 10 models who's generosity and spirit were essential in creating the space for connection and conversation:

In a world where getting the right recipe of advertising spend, engagement and conversion on social media platforms is becoming increasingly complex and dollar - heavy for small business owners, this event helped propel our businesses in more ways than we could have imagined:


  • We built connections - our vibe attracted our tribe. We met people from all walks of life who chose to come together on the day and celebrate what made us unique.

  • We formed partnerships - try walking away with anything less when you put 25 creatives together in a room for eight hours to bring a vision to life.

  • We championed a new narrative - creating a ripple of conscious conversations that extended beyond the event; garnering the admiration of generations before us and the validation of the ones that grow with us.


As you often hear me say, it takes a village of makers to make each other succeed in this world of small business. This day was no exception. From Pawan supplying everyone with coffee to accompany the early start; to Elora generously bringing double the amount of outfits to showcase; models taking on extra dress changes in the unexpected absence of others; and Leena, Shairy, Justine and Celine jumping in to assist with the show even after their work was done – the community spirit thrived.

Together, we shined a spotlight on our heritage and the women that inspire us to 'Be' anything. We are so grateful to everyone who validated the need for events like this and helped bring it to life. Stay tuned as we continue to explore innovative ways to leverage this thriving network of entrepreneurs and keep conscious conversations flowing in the new year. If you would like to join forces, get in touch - 2020 is ripe for the picking and I cannot wait to discover it together.



Photography: Pannila Photography

Photography & Content: Afra Abdeen © 2017-2020. All rights reserved.

Sydney, Australia.