This is the age of the entrepreneur.
With world economies in various stages of calamity and collapse, with the gap between income and expenditure ever increasing, we are become more and more disillusioned with the dream of one day being home-owners, set for life, or enjoying a comfortable retirement. So I go back to my earlier point, that this is the age of the entrepreneur.
Small-Scale businesses are where its at, at the moment. And one quick scroll of your Social Media feed is enough to tell you just how many are now present and ever present online, ready to sell their wares and services and doing a fantastic job of following up and following through.
And it’s a lot of hard work. Just like a mother can understand what another mother goes through in the day to day, perhaps a fellow small business owner can understand best what the other is going through. And I speak from experience when I say that it is a lot of hard work. When you build something from the ground up, with your own two hands, something that did not exist until yesterday, when you thought about it – the joy in seeing it materialize is a feeling best described as out of this world. Your blood, sweat and tears go into making it happen and you wish and pray and hope it is successful, but take a minute and just be proud of what you have accomplished so far, even if it is just a brand name or logo, or an event announcement. That’s how it all begins.
The key to a successful business is relentless hard work – there are no off days, perseverance – not everything will work or be successful, but that’s the name of the game, and an honest measure of quality – if you can assure that you are not offering something you wouldn’t be comfortable buying or using yourself, you’ve ensure a level of sincerity in your offering that will always translate to the end-customer.
I say all this based on the little experience I have from starting my own clothing brand with the wonderful women in my family by the name of Canvas Pret. What began with a question of ‘what can I do to become a business owner?’ culminated in the creation of a brand by the name of Canvas Pret. One of the most rewarding experiences was putting together our first collection in 2018 and then organizing the exhibitions – every time a thrill and a humbling experience. We are still working on exhibition level and we are still a small home-based brand, but we are learning and we are aiming to grow.
The response I got to the notion of having a clothing brand was typical – ‘another clothing brand?’ ‘bohot saaray hain!’ (there are so many already) – ‘kuch unique karo’ (do something unique) – ‘sab kartey hain’ (everyone does this) – ‘sabse asaan kaam hai’ (it’s the easiest thing to do). The last one is my personal favorite, because yes the notion of getting clothes made may seem like a natural inclination for most women – when you do it on a commercial scale and put yourself out there with your designs and your ideas – everything changes. What makes us unique is that we cater to every shape and every size of woman. We consciously ensure that we are inclusive and apply styling and cuts that are generous and flattering to all kinds of woman and we always endeavor to make sure we don’t put anything on the racks that we wouldn’t wear ourselves. In fact, at both our exhibitions we have ourselves worn our own designs just to showcase these very qualities because just like any other family, we proudly have women of all shapes and sizes.
So, if you are thinking about doing something of your own – starting something for yourself and being your own person, please go ahead and give it a shot. Don’t let the naysayers get you down. Let out that bubbling creativity itching to get out and go for it! You will be surprised at how much you learn about yourself and how when you truly honestly try – things work out and you connect with the most wonderful people!
All the best and God Bless!
Shifa Khalid is a mother of two beautiful daughters. She is a graduate from IBA and has recently gone back to school and is studying for her Law Degree. Writing is her passion and she is also the co-founder and co-owner of a clothing brand by the name of Canvas Pret.