Ammi-preneur Sana Waqas talks to Scaryammi about her journey from being a corporate woman to moving into entrepreneurship. What challenges does being an Ammi-preneur? How does Sana juggle motherhood with entrepreneurship? Here she spills it all
Q) What inspired you to become an ammi preneur?
Contrary to normal presupposition, I am a firm believer, despite the economic challenges, Pakistan market has a lot of room to accommodate single handedly run businesses and/or SMEs provided the cards are played in accordance to the sentiments of the consumers.
I have, since a very early age, been engaged in self-driven projects conversely up until now have only been dipping my toes in the water. However now with having gained the right skill set, courtesy to my extensive years in the corporate world, I can now fully dedicate my time and efforts in running my own business.
Q) You moved away from the corporate world to the world of business: what prompted you to do so?
My extensive years in the corporate world has always been a breeding ground to give me the emancipation to eventually establish my own line of work. I like exploring and learning through different experiences. It was time to experience something new.
Q) Being an ammi-preneur more suitable for raising kids or not ?
The answer is a definite “Yes” to this one. I can tend to little contingencies at home and make up later on the lost time even in later hours and this is conclusively one luxury that you don’t have in the corporate world.
Having said that, with a 9 to 5 job, you can still plan and give quality time to your kids. With a job , everything is planned and this discipline cascades down to our every day plans and gets instilled in the kids also.
Q) What are the challenges of working from home?
Maintaining discipline at home with two kids and a team of servants running around the house with constant interruptions i think is the biggest challenge working from home.
Constant disruptions occur during the commercial hours of the day. “ Mama, tell Mahnoor to stop bugging me.“ my 11 year old son shahraiz would pop in and start complaining and would plead me to intervene and pacify the plight of the situation.
Then one of my servants would follow saying “ Baji, saafai hugai hay, ub khaana dey du ?”
Q) How did you come up with the idea of launching your own jewelry brand?
The jewellery roots run deep in my family, my mother is a Kundan jewellery designer for the past 25 years and since a very early age I have been helping her out with her exhibitions locally and internationally. This played a very vital role in selecting this particular line of work.
Q) For small home based businesses, isn’t marketing and PR a challenge?
This surely is a challenge! Not having an actual outlet certainly has its disadvantages because doing business from home as compared to displaying the product in an outlet limits the exposure. Also, you are taking away the “look and feel” element from the target audience.
However recent trends that lean towards online purchases are playing a very vital role in making run-from-home businesses successful. Moreover, social media has the proclivity to overcome this challenge because this very platform has given people the chance to shift from primordial, or rather conventional, mode of making their purchases. Social media has profoundly helped my brand to gain the prominence that it necessitated.
Q) How ambitious are you with your jewelry brand?
This brand “ The Rumi Store” is launched purely out of love for jewelry and with an ambition to do my own business. It’s only been 2 months since the launch and we are ordering our third consignment already!
As future strategy I am working on expanding the brand by adding other accessories also. I will, not in a very distant future, will be adding customized handcrafted clutches which you will soon be seeing in our next collection (August).
Since the launch, we have successfully penetrated, other than Pakistan, the US and Dubai market also and as a result we are already being approached by clothing brands who are interested in partnering with us. Point to note, all this happened in two months and I only see an escalation from this point onwards.
Q) Why did you name it Rumi ?
“ Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about “ by Rumi.
I am profoundly inspired by Sufism and a great admirer of Jalaladdin Muhammad Rumi, a Persian poet, Islamic scholar and a Sufi mystic of the 13th century. He is regarded as one of the greatest spiritual masters and poetical intellects. He was born in Afghanistan but at the age of 13 moved to Konya ( Turkey ) where he grew up and lived all his life. Today, he is also buried in Turkey.
Since the Jewellery is being imported from Turkey, I could not think of a better name than “ the Rumi Store” for my brand.
Q) Do you feel there are too many Ammi-preneurs in the fields of fashion?
That’s true, there are many female entrepreneurs in Pakistan in the field of fashion. Personally, I think it is very encouraging that Pakistani women are being involved in businesses be it be fashion or anything else. Women get easily absorbed in the fashion industry and they have a better understanding than anyone about the industry and the prevailing trends.
I, as an informed singular observer, feel that that there is a perfect balance between the demand and supply. Fashion is an ever growing and ever changing industry hence it can absorb and accommodate this healthy competition.
Q) Have you set rules for yourself of not working after a certain time ?
No rules! Its round the clock, as simple as that.