Dial For A Gift

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She was in the MBA classroom when she started her business from her upmarket residence. She takes orders for gifts on social media from busy people and delivers them in time, reports Umar Mukhtar

Samar Shawl

For a Kashmiri girl who barely has graduated in business, executing a new business idea is not a cakewalk. It is a daring exercise.

Meet Samar Shawl, 24, a resident of Peerbagh, who has started a Ribbon Gift Hamper Service envisaging adorably wrapping the gift items as desired by clients. They are delivered to addresses the clients want.

Samar did her masters in business administration (MBA) from the Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST). During studies, Samar thought of having her own business venture and not joining any service. She had many business ideas in mind which she wanted to explore. But two of her key ideas had already moved to implementation. She was left with wrapping the gift items and delivering them to people.

She discussed the idea with her friend and family members who saw it brilliant. Her two older sisters were thrilled with the idea.

Samar is born in a business family. Her father is a contractor, currently working with the tourism department. “I thought a lot about what I should do,” Samar said. “Finally I came to the conclusion that what I want to do is exclusive as nobody had done it.”

Finally, in April 2018, when Samar was in the third semester of her MBA, she started her own business outlet Ribbons. Instead of hunting for a huge investment, she decided to get on social media, her main source of audience. She opened a page for Ribbons on social media and started connecting with the target audience.

The thought process behind her initiative was simple: people in urban spaces lack time for arranging gifts they have to deliver. In certain cases, they just want to get it delivered to their friends and relatives.

It was received very well. In the very first month, she got 30 orders. “It was amazing I had never thought of such a huge response at the initial stage,” Samar said. Her first order for Ribbons was a religious gift box. “I was very excited that time.”

Delivering orders is an issue. Samar has tied-up with some e-commerce outlets who have delivery boys at their disposal. She pays them to deliver these gifts but it all depends on their schedule. “Sometimes I send my driver to deliver the gift,” she said.

Detailing her system of working, Samar said that once she receives an order, she asks them about the budget and the person who will eventually receive the gift. Then she accordingly suggests them and gives them multiple choices within the range. Once they are satisfied with one of the option, Samar then wraps it adorably to make the present’s look soothing to eyes. “I buy the products from different stores because I never want to compromise on quality,” she insisted.

Samar has delivered orders in Bandipora and Pulwama.

Apart from the gift hamper services, Samar offers Trousseau packing, does event management and has recently added a new innovation of KhazirWaan (Date Shop) where she offers dates with added-on things. She gets out the date pips and fills them with dried apple slices, honey and saffron. “Though the date is not our own crop I want to put some cultural tastes in them. By this, we can even promote our own fruits,” Samar said. Samar got the first order of dates for a nikah mahfil.

For all the services Samar provides, she has three categories where customers can order as per the budget. “We have basic, premium and elite categories. Since our target audience is middle class and teenagers so we keep these things in mind. Apart from this, we provide special discounts on special days like on women’s day”

The concept was new and first of its kind when she started. Now many others have started copying her. “It is good if there is a competition in the market, it breaks the monopoly and keeps you on the toes,” Samar said. “I like to work in the competitive atmosphere.”

In order to expand her business, Samar is now planning to have her own store which will help her in delivering the orders in less time.

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