Kashmiri women and boutique business

Srinagar: At a place where youth are scared of taking to entrepreneurship, young women in Kashmir are taking lead by setting up boutiques to earn their livelihood and support their families. Shazia (name changed) started her boutique in 2009 at her home with almost no money. She started her journey with just two suits. With mere commitment and hard work, today she has a full-fledged boutique and supplies her products to many garment stores in Valley. “I started with just two suits and I had no capital in hand. Today I supply material to many of the known shops in Fairdeal shopping complex,” says Shazia. Shazia found refuge in entrepreneurship after bracing up many problems at home. “I had so many family problems and my life was shattered.  This business helped me forget all my worries and I have become financially independent. Now am feeding my family too,” says Shazia. Though many disapprove of women working in Kashmir however Shazia found dignity in her business. “The boutique has brought me dignity and also I do not have to go out. I have set up my unit at my home.” These women entrepreneurs have not only created jobs for themselves but also provide society with solutions. Beenish, who has done masters in business administration, set up boutique by the name ‘Panache’ at MA Road Srinagar to keep herself busy and be financially independent. “I didn’t have any financial problems but I just wanted to be busy. I was into the world of fashion since beginning and I found this business of my taste and very innovative,” says Beenish. Beenish’s family is happy with her business venture and they fully support her. Another girl is Mehvish who is pursuing masters in Sociology. Mehvish has established Labia-a Lucknow chicken art garment shop-in Abi Guzar area of Srinagar to support her family. “I lost my father 13 years ago. I have two sisters and my mother is the only one who earns for the entire family. When I completed my graduation and there were less job opportunities I came up with an idea of establishing my own business,” said Mehvish. “This is just the beginning and I hope I will be financially independent,” Mehvish added. Gazala Amin who has earned her name in the business and is first women to be office bearers of oldest trader’s body- Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry- says nothing can be better than a business for women operated from her home. “Now-a- days when it is difficult to balance your personal and professional life nothing can be as good as starting a business from your home. Boutiques are a good source of income and growth for women,” says Gazala Amin who is dealing with essential oils.