Srinagar, 24 Jan: Meet Two Young Entrepreneurs of Kashmir “Omaira and Beenish” who set an example by setting up their own business of Knitting. Taking their passion and expertise they have done what so many entrepreneurs strive to do. Once consider the disdain art and hobby of illiterate women’s these educated girls showed the world nothing is unworthy you just need the vision to look beyond ordinary.
They turned themselves into a brand and a platform from where they have launched new products by using internet.
Talking to KNB reporter Sumaiya, Omaira spoke about Kashmir and the challenges youth are facing at the economic front and how one should not give up what they dream of.
Excerpts from the interview
How did you got interested in the knitting and how did this idea of being entrepreneur hit you ?
I always had this curiosity of knowing and learning everything . Only my aunt from my family was involved in knitting and she was the one who taught me the main chain of crochet and then I learned by myself from YouTube and other sites. We both were teachers in private school and had a common interest in knitting. Beenish had got some orders and asked me if I could help her and how could I have said no to something I liked doing.
At that point we thought why we don’t start something of our own, as many entrepreneurs were using internet for their business so we too opened our Instagram account then Facebook page and uploaded the photos of our work in December 2015.
What was the response from the society?
We were overwhelmed by the response we got. Everyone started appreciating us because the things which we were creating from knitting was something new and ingenious for Kashmir. Women’s used to make crochets but the simple ones and they had no idea what other creative things could be created out of this and when we started doing this people were quite fascinated.
We reintroduced Kashmiri jewellery by making it through metallic threads as traditional jewelleries are very heavy and expensive people liked what we were making. Our unique ideas were something which took us forward.
What difficulties you faced during the starting?
We were only 2 girls when we started . When we started some people said that they won’t be able to pull it off they are just two girls how will they handle everything by their own. We used to do everything by ourselves, we were owner as well as workers . We used to do photo shoots, modelling, delivering, every single thing was handle by just two of us. As business started growing we started involving other people and today at least 15 girls are employed by us and there many other girls who learned from us and now have started their own thing. We are happy to be starter of something ingenious and making the way for others. Even boys have come forward and have learned this art.
During 2017 turmoil our 80% work got hit as there was internet blockade and our business was dependent on it. But we didn’t give up and today we are our exporting our products world wide.
Knitting is considered something for dweeb girls how come even having master’s and B.Ed degree you chose this path?
Mainly in Kashmir we people had this mind set that this art of knitting is for girls who were weak in studies and were thought of incapable of achieving something in her life. So if you were good at nothing this knitting, tailoring, and similar things were suggested for her . But we both are educated, we have done Masters and B.Ed and we are doing this proudly and have been recognized through this art and received may awards.
Any moment you want to share?
We are from middle class family ,we were no big shots that people knew us from before. What ever we are we are self-made even we never took any financial help from any one not even from our parents . In the beginning of our career we were invited by one of our friend in an event of Mother’s day celebration and the women who were invited were all maestros in their field, there were educationist , journalists, singers,etc and as we had just started and no one knew us . I told Beenish that doesn’t matter if people don’t know who Omaira and Beenish are but our work should get recognition and very soon Gyawun featured us then we had back to back interviews within state media as well as national media and everyone knew who we are and what we do.
Do you have any message to youth?
God has given talent to everyone and it’s up to you how you utilize it . It’s not important that you will make your hobby or talent your profession but don’t even hide it. Do showcase it don’t think what people will say.
When you are determined to do something and you know you have to do it then even god helps you . I think it’s your ingenious idea which keeps you going and gives you appreciation.
Proud and happy moment?
I do get message from young girls and they proudly flaunt that their mothers or grandmothers know this art too. There were some women who had left knitting but then started again after watching us and got inspired to continue. I feel immense pleasure to bring a good name to this art and to show people nothing is ordinarily just have a vision