Today we’d like to introduce you to Hanna Fahmy.
Hi Hanna, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
It all started out when I was eight years old. I took some of my mom’s clothing apart to make some clothes for my doll. She was VERY angry, at first, but, then, she offered to help me. She made me promise that, if she bought me some fabric, I would leave her clothes alone. Then, she told me if I wanted to sew for my dolls, I needed to learn how to sew on a sewing machine. And… that is how I fell in love with the craft.
When I was in my early teens, my mom told me that I should go to school to learn to be a tailor. I learned to design clothing and to make my own patterns as well as sew.
After I got married, I moved to Alexandria, Egypt from Cairo. Soon after, our son, Joseph was born so I was very busy being a new mom. Around the time Joseph was 3 years old, I opened my first ‘shop’ in Alexandria. Using a room in our apartment, I set up my shop. I began making prom dresses for the girls from my church. Business was great!!! I became extremely busy and was very popular within a year.
Five years after I opened the shop, my husband and I got our green cards to come to America. We were going to follow our American dream. I was confused and scared…what would we do in America, how would we live? I was excited…this was the opportunity we had been dreaming about. This would give us a chance to give our son a better life. I sold my sewing equipment and off we went to America.
We moved into my sister-in-law’s house in Miami, Florida (she and her husband were away at the time). Within a few weeks, we experienced one of the worst hurricanes (Katrina) to hit the area. We had NO idea what to do. We lost water and power! One of the neighbors came and we followed him to the local shelter. We had nothing with us…all around us people had air mattresses, food, clothing, games. I had Joseph’s Spiderman toys!! After about 3 days in the shelter, my English language teacher, Miss Barbara, came and took us to her home for our first showers in 3 days. We stayed with her until power was restored. And so, began our lives in the United States.
We moved to New Jersey where we lived for 12 years. Our son Benjamin was born there. Miss Mary, my English language tutor in New Jersey, is still in contact with me. She and her husband, Frank helped us on more than one occasion. She says I hold a special place in her heart. It really felt like we were part of a larger family.
In 2009, my husband, Mark and I became American citizens. It was a very proud day for us. It was also the year that we obtained secret clearance to work with the military. Now, not only was I a citizen of this country, I was able to help the people who were defending our freedoms.
Secret clearance meant that I was able to work as a Language Instructor and Cultural Advisor to the Military at the Joint Base. I worked with soldiers who were deploying to the Middle East. I took my job very seriously because I had to train them to survive under very tense conditions. There was no way I was going to miss a day of work.
After traveling from state to state for my husband’s jobs, we finally settled down in Clarksville, Tennessee. Once we were settled, I put out a post on Facebook offering to do custom designing, tailoring, and alterations for evening gowns and wedding dresses. Within in a few Mounties, I started to receive phone calls. I have not stopped working since then. Later on, the owner of Wedding Belles contacted me to do alterations for her shop and that was the beginning of a wonderful relationship. I didn’t know, at the time, that in a small city like Clarksville, business could be this great!!!
I do believe that with prayers, hard work, and good people in our lives our dreams can come true.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
One of the biggest struggles for me has been moving from place to place, leaving my family, church, and friends behinds.
My first major struggle came when I met and married my husband, Mark. I moved from Cairo, Egypt to Alexandria. For a young girl who was very close to her family, moving away was difficult. Also, each city has a very different culture. Cairo is bustling and busy while Alexandria is more laid back and quiet.
Moving from Egypt to the US was quite a challenge but in a different way. I had to learn a new culture, new language. All of this in a land of strangers.
Moving from New Jersey to Tennessee was very difficult after 12 years of feeling like I, again, was living amongst family and close friends. I had to leave my church and a way of life that we had established for many years as a family
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I do custom designing, tailoring, and alterations for evening gowns and wedding dresses.
How do you think about luck?
Good luck has been with me everywhere I go. I have had the good fortune to meet good people WHEREVER we go. People who have been willing to help me and my family when we have needed help.
When we were in Florida, Miss Barbara was there for us to help us through the hard time of the hurricane. She, also, helped me gain knowledge of the spoken language to help me manage in my new homeland. She showed me how to hear the language that I needed to learn.
In New Jersey, I met an entire community at St. Anthony’s Church. They were there for me in so many ways. They became my friends and family away from home.
Miss Mary, my English language teacher in New Jersey, was there to help me. We shared stories of our lives and our children over so many cups of tea.
When I moved to Clarksville, the owner of Wedding Belles reach out to me, after I put out a post on Facebook offering to do custom-designed dresses, tailoring, and alterations. We have had a wonderful relationship ever since.
Maybe, it is good luck or maybe, it is God putting people in our paths at the right time. Whatever it is, it certainly outweighs any of the bad stuff that comes along. Life is good.
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: https://www.alterationshanna.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alterationsbyhanna/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Alterationsbyhannafahmy/
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