“It all started with a non-profit Facebook group I had started online for small businesses in Australia,” Nora Al-Sarray, entrepreneur and event planner, narrates to AMUST. From a virtual Facebook group to an annual, huge Bazaar that saw thousands of people flock to it per day, the power of social media proves itself once more in this era.

“When I visited Turkey and Dubai and saw how successful the Bazaars, markets, and expositions were there, I thought to myself that this idea had to be translated into reality in Australia. Little did I know that my little Facebook Group would be translated into a real life Bazaar in Sydney where thousands of people would come to meet, greet, buy and sell,” Nora continues.

Nora Al-Sarray, founder, planner and organiser of The Middle Eastern Bazaar

The first Bazaar started in 2019 and year after year, attendees from Sydney, surrounding suburbs and other cities saw the Bazaar grow, evolve and comprise new events, new businesses and new features. 

This year’s 4th Bazar, which was held on the 9th and 10th of November at Eden Venues, Edensor Park, NSW, was the biggest to date and included a Fashion Runway for the first time. The Fashion Runway featured 13 businesses from the Middle Eastern community but which catered also to all other communities. It raised the bar for the Bazaar and promoted sales exponentially.

“Organising both a Fashion Show and a Bazaar was a huge responsibility but Thank God, it was a success and went well”, Nora continues to explain. Mrs Al-Sarray also states that she made sure the runway included women of all backgrounds and represented all body types.

“I made sure we did not just display one age group, one body type, one nationality or one religion. Our runway was a melting pot of different amazing women- a simulation of the everyday women you would see walking in the streets, which are all beautiful in their own way,” Nora asserts. 

Runway included women of all age groups, backgrounds, and body types.

The event was sponsored by 81 businesses from the community in addition to financial sponsors. The program included an exposition of the 81 businesses, a Fashion Runway featuring 13 clothing and jewellery businesses, a raffle with great prizes, a competition for the best dressed, and last but not least, an offering of complimentary finger food. It all ran in accordance with the Governmental Policies of COVID-19. 

When asked what motivates businesses to participate, Nora states “Businesses sell three times more in The Bazaar than what they normally would do on other days. There are several businesses that actually sell out on the same day,” she tells AMUST with enthusiasm.

“I think, now more than ever, it is important to support small businesses and give them hope. I see the Bazaar more than just a business venture. It is a space for connection and networking, for making new ties and new friends. Many people and businesses have met each other via the Bazaar and this in itself makes me happy and keeps me going with each Bazaar,” Nora says with a big smile of content.

“What are your plans for the future?” we ask a keen, enthusiastic Nora. “I plan on making the Bazaar even bigger, perhaps collaborating with  bigger businesses, working on the fashion shows and escalating the event to a national scale,” Nora explains with excitement.

She then turns to me and adds, “Muhammad Ali once said, ‘If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough’.”