A Dream Realized

Having started her business with a loan of Rs 2 lakh, Jamsheeda is today the proud owner of the popular Pakeeza boutique on the outskirts of Srinagar. Her dream of becoming a successful entrepreneur was realized by sheer determination, hard-work and talent, Ruwa Shah reports.

Jamsheeda
Jamsheeda

In her forties, Jamsheeda is dressed in a red kameez-salwar at her boutique in Baghat Barzulla on the outskirts of Srinagar city. A golden necklace-and-earring set gives her the looks of a woman much younger than her age. She attends customers in a jolly way and loves to be in her boutique which is filled with music of sewing machines.

“I am proud to be the only businesswoman among the eight daughters of my father,” Jamsheeda Rashid, the 45-year-old entrepreneur says.

Jamsheeda, a native of north Kashmir’s Sopore town, owns ‘Pakeeza’ boutique for which she has made an investment of Rs 15 lakh. Being schooled at Islamia School, Sopore, she joined Sopore Degree College for her Bachelor’s degree in Science.

Her father, Ghulam Ahmad Badroo, was a well-off business man who owned fruit orchards. He was a cloth merchant as well. Jamsheeda was interested in business since her childhood. “I was always inclined towards business but circumstances were such that it could never become possible,” she says.

After her graduation in 1989, she married an engineer, Abdul Rashid Haji, in Bandipora which literally brought down curtains over her dream of being an entrepreneur. “I had two children and it was very difficult to study and bring up my children at the same time,” she says.

But her motherhood did not stop her from continuing her education. Despite being surrounded by violence, since it was the peak of armed struggle in Kashmir, she finished her diploma in Information Technology from National Institute of Technology, Srinagar.

“It was very difficult to move out of home for studies in early nineties. Being married, it was more difficult for me in the social context but I never cared. My mother-in-law is very supportive. She never minds any of my decisions. She is more like a mother,” Jamsheeda says.

After her children grew up when they were mature enough to withstand responsibilities, she again came up with the idea of entrepreneurship. “I watched an interview of Naheed Soz, the Managing Director at Women’s Development Centre (WDC), which inspired me a lot. I met her in her office where she asked me to start my own business,” Jamsheeda told Kashmir Life.

Initially she took a loan of Rs 2 lakh from her sister in 2008 and started her business from a rented shop at Baghat. She used to sell ladies dress material. “It was a small shop but I grabbed the best from it. The profit was not much initially but it kept increasing later,” she says.

In 2009, when WDC came up with the scheme of empowering skilled young women, she became the first beneficiary and was offered a loan of Rs 2 lakh which she paid back to her sister.

At the peak of unrest in 2009 in Kashmir, her business had to suffer. “As it was in its initial stage I had to face challenges. But I did face them. I continued my business despite problems which later proved beneficial,” Jamsheeda says.

The locals of Baghat and her friends were the first customers of ‘Pakeeza’ boutique but it became a name in the market in due course of time. Now people from different areas come and shop at her boutique.

“It was not a sudden rise to fame. My success was a gradual process. One should not start from huge investments as small investments are easy to handle,” the young entrepreneur says.

Jamsheeda now employs seven people at her boutique and pays salary of Rs 15000 to most senior among them while others earn from Rs 8000-9000 per month.

With the rise of ‘Pakeeza’ boutique, Jamsheeda introduced her own innovations in stitching and started embroidery work as well. Feeling satisfied with her work, she believes that business is the best thing a women can do. “It is very good for women as most interactions remains with the ladies only. I enjoy attending my customers and hearing good and bad from them,” she says with a smile.

Jamsheeda always wanted to be an independent woman and her boutique has fulfilled her dream. “It’s not only that I provide financial help to my family; my job gives me peace and I am free to buy anything I want,” she says.

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