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Made In: Heart Parts (I Heart This)

Issue 03

INTERVIEW: Fatima Fazal, Owner, Heart Parts {New York}

01 What is a Heart Part?
Growing up in an Indian household, mealtimes were always about sitting around a dining table sharing food and conversation together.  We would tear apart a chappati, and use it as a utensil to scoop up our food using our hands.  Eating with my hands was a really intimate way to enjoy food.  When I moved to New York, it was very typical to order food for delivery, eating on the go, or eating at my desk.  I wanted to inject the romance and emotion associated with mealtimes, into the “convenient” way we were eating, so I created the Heart Part.  A utensil that invites you to think about all the things you love before you eat.  By physically breaking open the Heart Part, you are forced to consider the notion of “sharing” before you eat.  I think that is how we ought to begin our meals, with intention and consideration.

02 Why biodegradable plastic?
I worked with some UK based researchers who developed a new additive that I put into regular polystyrene which renders it biodegradable.  Most plastic cutlery is not produced this way, because it is more expensive.  Disposables are typically designed to be thrown away, so they are meant to be designed as cheap as possible.  The Heart Parts are made with 66% less plastic than a regular cutlery kit, and they are dishwasher safe.  They also happen to be ‘flat’ flatware, so they are very easy to travel with or eat with ‘on-the-go’.   I tried to create something that people would treasure, keep, and reuse as many times as they can.

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03 How do you use Heart Parts at home?
It’s funny because I carved a little compartment out in my cutlery drawer for them.  I unashamedly use them every day, from spreading cream cheese on my (sesame seed) bagel at breakfast, to scooping up a bowl of couscous or to sharing a cupcake at teatime.  I also end up using them to open up my mail and packages too just because they are a neat multifunctional tool that fits perfectly in your hand.  Obviously, they are more fun to eat with! :)

04 What’s next?
The Heart Part was my first product.  It has been in my mind for over 11 years, but I was working on gaining all the right experiences and resources to help me bring it in to the world with the best intention, expertise and team.  I started off launching the ‘to-go’ boxes, and have now extended the line to include ‘couple-packs’ (where you can keep one and give one to someone you heart). I also have a range of catering boxes for people who use utensils in wholesale quantities.  We have been working on this over the past year, and I have a few more extensions of the Heart Parts that I will be releasing periodically over the next few years.  Once Heart parts are comfortably sitting in homes and handbags around the world, I have two other ideas that I’m working on and really excited about.  They are very different products to the Heart Parts, but are in the same family of thought- Like second cousins.  I’m looking forward to finding more time to dedicate to those projects and hope to release the beginnings of one of them in the early part of next year.  So watch this space! :)

05 Can you share something unique related to your background and entertaining?
Having an open heart and an open home is a mantra that I grew up with.  When I was growing up, I don’t remember one night where we wouldn’t have a guest sitting with us at our dining table.  Indians traditionally have big families, so accommodating for an extra mouth to feed was never an inconvenience.  In fact, feeding each other is seen as a responsibility, and also as a blessing.

When we have people over for dinner, it is customary to take off our shoes, sit on the floor, eat with our hands, and begin our meals with gratitude and remembrance for anyone who is not lucky enough to be digging into a plate of food.  That is why I donate a percentage of my profits to organizations that work on feeding the hungry.  As you eat with one side of the Heart Part, you know that you are in essence feeding someone with the other side of the Heart Part.  This is particularly practiced during the month of Ramadan, where you fast for 30 days from dawn till dusk.  Every time the sun sets, you open your fast with your loved ones and reflect.

Countlan Issue 03 MadeIn I Heart Parts

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06 Do you entertain at home? 
Always.  I’m not exactly a planner, but I have an open door to my apartment, so anytime anyone wants to share a meal, they know where to find me.  I am a huge fan of getting friends, family and loved ones together, to devour something delicious. Since I’m usually entertaining with very little notice, I love using Heart Parts to add a little colour and conversation to the party.

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07 Where are Heart Parts available?
They are available on our website,www.iHeart-this.com.  There are a few stores in Toronto that carry them, if you find yourself on Queen street/ Spadina Road, they are available at Type Books, and The Drake General Store.  Since we are based in New York, I’m really happy to announce that have just selling them at the Museum of Modern Art store too, if you happen to be cruising through NYC! :)

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Photo Source: Heart Parts

 

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