Sofana Dahlan, a law school graduate, full-time mom and a driven passionate person, appreciates design and has therefore made it her personal mission to promote talented designers and help them reach their potential. She stumbled onto this by chance, finding herself meeting designers, and hearing about their bad luck or struggles and misfortunes along their creative paths.

When she offered some advice and some help which paid off for the designers, it was as though she had found her true calling! And so, she founded Tashkeil, a social enterprise which not only promotes designers and helps optimize their business operations, but also supports them along their creative journey, whether jewelry designers, graphic designers, architects, interior designers and even established businesses. Tashkeil makes the designers’ lives easier; they assess their products and create marketing and branding strategies through a team of hand-picked experts to advise designers through their expertise.

Additionally, they gain them exposure by participating in select exhibitions throughout the Middle East region, as well as linking them with other designers like themselves through their broad networking channels.

Workshops, exhibitions, corporate collaborations, career coaching and legal jargon made simple, Tashkeil operates as an all encompassing creative consultancy that develops a designer toward reaching his or her potential through special membership packages. Dedicating oneself to becoming a full-time designer has its obstacles anywhere in the world, but even more so in the Middle East. Parents dream of their children becoming lawyers, doctors, engineers, or successful businessmen, with few recognizing a profession in the creative industry as an equal contender.

Many families don’t give the artistic and creative professions the respect they deserve. So very seldom do inspired designers get the kind of support and encouragement to help them flourish, and so they struggle with family pressure, with society and even struggle within themselves… Eventually, without the necessary support creatively and proper marketing, or branding and showcasing their work in suitable exhibitions, these potentially successful designers give way to the corporate mundane. They continue to live in silent despair, as life tends to get in the way of their true passion, and they find themselves lost and hopeless.

Tashkeil’s purpose is to change all that and restore hope. Even though it’s a relatively new social enterprise it has had astonishing success by taking designers’ under their wing and integrating unconventional methods to generate that much-needed encouraging show of support. They form a very personal human connection with their clients that is “Friendship-like.“

Tashkeil operates as an organic pattern of natural progression whereby no matter which of the six cycles the designer or entrepreneur becomes part of they are automatically part of the greater functioning whole.

You see there’s a whole philosophy behind the name Tashkeil, which is derived from its Arabic meaning: variety, shaping, molding, punctuation and accent. In the rich Arabic language, the specific accent marks known as Tashkeil are what give each word its unique pronunciation, termed “harakat.” Hence each of the six part, are interlinked and complementary to one another.

Fat’ha: opens minds through educational programs and skill enhancement workshops; Dummah: unites skills through global exchanges, media exposure and exhibitions; Kasra: crumbles obstacles by diagnosing the problem and offering solutions through their various services, such as business optimization, strategic marketing and branding consultation, for designers to grow; Madd: builds bridges between designers and the commercial world; Sukoon: promotes peace and harmony between cultures by engaging in social corporate activities locally and globally; and finally, Tanween: creates an online retail presence for designers. As part of the integrated organic cycle, when a designer becomes involved in a Madd project, whereby Tashkeil develops a business strategy for a designer to create corporate gifts, the designer and the business enterprise is automatically part of the Sukoon cycle; this happens because 5% of all the designers’ products commissioned by the corporate entity is contributed towards peaceful initiatives that spread hope and promote peace. Sofana believes “we all need to do our part in this world, and do something to give back.” She hopes to make this world a better place, one designer at a time.

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