Graduate has designs on cultural art company

Graduate has designs on cultural art company

9th October 2013


A NORTH East designer is turning a traditional body art into a thriving business with her fusion of cultural design.

Alongside creating bespoke bridal packages, Middlesbrough art graduate Ambreen Iqbal has also fashioned her own unique gift company inspired by her modern Mehndi designs.

Ambreen, 23, who graduated from Cleveland College of Art & Design with a first class honours degree in textile and surface design, set up her To Gift business, creating gift baskets, personalised candles, greeting cards and an assortment of home decorations all embellished with her own custom, hand-drawn artwork.

“Henna body art has always been really popular for weddings, birthdays, festivals and parties,” said Ambreen, who runs her business with help from younger sister Zareen, 20.

“I decided to use the same skills and traditional methods to create a whole selection of unique gifts which could be given as presents or used in the home.”

From personalised wedding candles, with pictures and names of the bride and groom, to wall plaques and embroidered cushions, Ambreen’s designs are all individual and created by hand.

 “It takes me about 20 minutes to do a straightforward candle design and up to an hour and a half for a more detailed wedding gift,” said Ambreen. “So I’m always working just to keep up with demand.

“Our full bridal packages are also extremely popular. We provide henna body designs for the bride and bridal party as well as creating bespoke invitations, gift tags, favour boxes, giveaways, unique wedding centre pieces and Mehndi plates - basically the designs are so versatile they can be adapted to anything.”

Ambreen currently sells her gift wares through craft and wedding fairs, markets, house parties and trade events as well as online at and bookings for henna body art on her website

“My degree course at CCAD really helped me to make the step from student to running my own business,” added Ambreen.

“I always knew that I wanted to do something creative; my mum said I was always drawing and making things when I was younger, and growing up with a specialist art college at the end of my street, it was just the obvious place for me to go.

“CCAD really gave me the confidence and skills to succeed and I’m so proud of what I’ve achieved.

For more information on CCAD contact (01642) 288888 or log on to

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