Thinking big: Hira Fatima Rizvi

January 21, 2019

We talked to the founder and creative behind Zair Zabr Play, a company that strives to produce fun and innovative products to teach young kids about Islam. Hira is a Smith College graduate. She is a trained stem cell scientist and worked at a hospital before launching her own business. You can find her products, along with tips and tons of freebies, at!


1) What inspired you to start Zair Zabr Play?

Growing up I learned about Islam in a passive way, through my parents, culture, and community. I assumed I’d pass it on to my daughter the same way. When I moved to Napa, CA, I lost that strong community to rely on. What’s worse is when I looked online for products to teach kids Islam, most were outdated or developmentally inappropriate. So Zair Zabr Play was born. 

2) What do you enjoy most about your work?

Seeing the change. When you push the industry standard you will see the change. I have seen amazing and innovative products pop up in the Islamic books and toys field in the last couple of years!

3) How did you handle the transition from working at a hospital to working from home? 

Horribly. I had no intention of ever wanting to be at home. I have always craved social settings and thrive in competition. But it’s made me gain some essential skills in self control and time management. 

4) What are your top three work-life balance tips? 

• Before closing up work for the day, make your to-do list for tomorrow. It helps you dive into work focused.

• Have a designated place to work. 

• Treat home chores as a job. Schedule them in. 

5) What is your definition of success?

Success = happiness, and happiness is being satisfied with your efforts. 

6) Life motto?

“Learn while you play, and play while you learn.”

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