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I've always been partial to DIY, as my twice-over 'owner builder' credentials attest.

Part of my motivation for creating Haluna Happy Names has been my desire to keep learning and growing, and to fulfil a long-held dream of building my own business.

But even when doing things the DIY way, I need help.

Launching Haluna Happy Names on Shopify has required a huge learning curve for this fuzzy-brained dinosaur. Following are the incredible people (in rough chronological order) whose brains, courses and small business communities have helped me the most to slither up that curve. They have all made a difference, I recommend every one of their services, and I hope to continue using their knowledge and advice as Haluna Happy Names grows.

Richard FlynnRiffly. Richard is my 'little' brother, who back in 1999 at the age of 13 built my (and his) first website. Richard today is a 6ft 3" suite of branding design, typography and tech whizz skills. He is pretty nifty with a camera too. I am indebted to Richard for his generous design tips, and his suggestion right at the start for me to try Affinity Designer as an affordable design software option.

I am grateful to course providers Jeremy Hazel and Simon Foster on the Udemy platform for detailed guidance on using Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo, and to Omar Uddin at My Qalam Academy for giving me the opportunity to learn Arabic calligraphy basics and use Arabic calligraphy in my digital designs.

Julie Hally, the accomplished branding and book designer at That Design Lady first refined my coarse DIY attempt at Haluna Happy Names branding. She then generously taught me the principles of design through her design course, which improved the quality of my design work and gave me confidence to continue. And on another note, reading the Bluey books Julie designed has entertained my youngest children for hours.

Fiona Killackey-Ribeiro is My Daily Business CoachFiona has given me incredible business and marketing tips and advice in her free weekly e-mail and biweekly podcast. But her focused attention in the live version of her 'Marketing for your Small Business' course meant I really KNOW what Haluna Happy Names needs. I am excited to implement.

Kate Toon's sharp brain, dogged determination and mind-blowing productivity leave me in awe. I love being a member of her Digital Masterchefs community of kind and clever small business people and I learnt so much on her Recipe for SEO Success course.

Shelley Easter at Launchparty provides a supportive and encouraging community for small business creative and crafty types moving from Etsy to Shopify. Her Shop School course with monthly check ins have given me the technical support I needed to build

Without a doubt in the world, if I had not learnt product photography basics from Liz Morris Haluna Happy Names would be stuck at the small business start line. Liz is also a wonderful warm bundle of practical and supportive advice based on her own personal journey juggling business adventures with family focus. 

Lisa Turner at Accounted for You demystified small business finance for me. Her 'Power in Numbers' course has given me confidence and the basic skills I need to know what I can do for myself, and when and where to go for help.

Finally, Yael Keon is an e-mail guru. She is actually expert in much much more; but her e-mail marketing expertise and technical knowledge in the E-mail Experience is what I know Haluna Happy Names will be using in the months and years to come.

Personal Support

Beyond the learning and small-business buddying, there are people in my 'village', apart from my talented brother, who have made the Haluna Happy Names brand real.

Friends like Feda, Jasmine, Haleema, Shadia, Sarah, Eileen and Margaret have validated my idea to offer Arabic personalised designs in an English-speaking part of the world. They have shown their support for my designs and products by becoming happy customers, too. Thank you.

Haifa's, Yomna's, Yousra's and Shadia's beautiful children kindly joined mine for our first ever 'proper' photo shoot.

My husband Ibrahim has been a true entrepreneur since selling ice creams on his bicycle at the age of 12. He is my greatest inspiration for how to build a 'real' business, and the success of Quick and Easy Removals and Storage, his business in Sydney today, is a testament to the importance Ibrahim places on always paying careful attention to customers, contractors and costs. Ibrahim encourages and supports me while observing with loving amusement the satisfaction that Haluna Happy Names brings me.

Finally, of course, come our seven children. Hadi, Selsabeel, Raiyanne, Tasneem, Muhammad, Yaqoute and Ilaf. Seven amazing humans who all urged me on, even when time spent creating new designs and building the Haluna Happy Names website is time not spent with them.