My story is about Zainab Jamals business venture. Ive know Zainab for many years and shes a close friend of mine. This story is about her passion and how she made a business out of it.
Zainab was passionate about craft. She had this craze of trying to make something out of everything. Buttons, ribbon, yarn, canvas, paints, anything she could get her hands on shell try to make something out of it. She was a software engineer and she had little time from work for doing craft. But she spent her time after work and her weekends on it. First it was soap carving, and then crocheted tablecloths, then ribbon flowers, and then flowers from pista shells, the list went on and on. Shell take it to office and show it to her friends. Everyone admired her work. But she never took it seriously. It was just a hobby and it helped her to get her mind off the stress in her job.
Zainab then got married, left her job and settled as a home maker. She crocheted a beautiful blanket for her first born. But now, her time was limited. Then second baby came along and she had no time at all. Zainab gave a years break. Then once she could get a few minutes of the day to herself, she started again. She started dabbling in bead work, weaving, framing, flower-making and so on. The trademark of her work was making something out of things found around the house. Even what she sourced from craft shops would be inexpensive. Zainab learnt everything that she knew about art and craft on her own. If she came across people who knew something interesting that she didnt know, then, shell take the effort to talk to them and learn the art from them. Shell check out craft sites on the internet and painstakingly understand the instructions for doing a particular craft work and try them out.
As Zainab started making more and more varied kinds of art, appreciation poured in. She made some key chains using beads. Her friends and relatives who saw it liked it and offered to buy it from her. She started making a few in her spare time and selling it amongst them. Then her brothers friend saw her work. He owned a shop selling fancy things and asked if Zainab could make those key chains in bulk and supply to the shop.
After a lot of contemplation Zainab decided to go for it. Beading is a time and effort consuming job, so she needed help. And to start with, she had to finance everything. Zainab had saved enough money from her working days and so that was not a problem. She advertised for help in the local paper. She hired a college girl who wanted to work part-time. Zainab bought beads and the other materials needed for her work from a wholesale shop. She had no proper understanding about how much material shell need. But she bought randomly and decided to keep a check and learn on the job.
Zainab spent the first three days teaching the girl to bead the key chain and soon they, together, were able to produce and supply 250-300 pieces to the shop in a month. Zainab had not planned the expenses. She had spent on the raw material and paying salary for the girl and she had not fixed the cost price correctly. So she actually went on a loss. But it was the first time that she had gone so far as to supply to a shop and this made her very happy.
Seeing her work, other establishments approached her assignments. To understand the financial aspect of her business, she roped in her husbands accountant and with his help she understood what her expenses for raw material would be, how much she could pay for salaries, what her profit should be and finally what the cost price of each item should be. She found out whole sale shops where she could source raw materials in bulk at a nominal price. She made a list of craft and art work that would be feasible to work with initially. She hired two more girls and went headlong into producing her craft work. Not just bead work, but different kinds and types of craft work. She kept updating her knowledge by attending work shops