Kashmir girls who turned their hobby into thriving business

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Srinagar, May 18: Starting a business is never easy; the aspirations of younger entrepreneurs are often dashed by the lack of capital, limited access to financial resources, and absence of information and connections.
But two young women from Kashmir found an easy way out: they started an online store of crochet bootees, bags, suits, key chains, rubber bands, wall hangings, and bridal sets.
The women—Omaira and Beenish—began with Facebook and Instagram pages under the name ‘Craft World Kashmir’ in 2015, and in less than two years, they have created a business that brings in Rs 25,000 per month and is still part-time.
“Fortunately, we did not need to invest a huge sum on our venture in the beginning. With the help of a well-wisher, we simply displayed our creative designs of traditional crochet or Koeraishi products on our online pages,” said Omaira.
After getting a good response from online buyers, the talented pair started receiving orders from different places across India.
“We have received orders from Bangalore, Delhi, Jammu, and Mumbai. We managed a good network of clients within a few months of starting the business, despite working just part time,” said the young entrepreneur.
After passing their post-graduation in Sociology in distance mode, the two friends worked in a private school for some time.
Not so happy with the job, they turned their hobby into a successful art and craft venture.
They order raw material from outside the state, as they are facing trouble in getting the required colours and material available here.
“We were worried about the material. Initially, I was very nervous and thought my customers would disappear after the first purchase,” said Beenish.
The duo created unique and traditional designs and reached as many people as possible with affordable offers.
“We treat our customers with respect and make it easy for them to order products. We use quality material. Our products are very creative and unique,” said Omaira.
They initially knit wool or other material with the help of a special needle or technique called crochet.
But now they have added handmade crochet jewellery, which is most trending in Kashmir.
“This jewellery is mostly seen in Pakistan. For the first time, we have introduced such floral jewellery designs for the brides here and we are getting a sound response and orders,” she said.
With the efforts of these young girls, crochet designing is staging a comeback in Kashmir. Both the girls have learnt the traditional art from Youtube. They work together on designing the products and later distribute their work.
“Internet, particularly Youtube, helped us. We have learnt most of the designs from Youtube, but we add more creativity to increase the aesthetics of our products,” said Beenish.
The two friends have also started training three more girls to meet the demands of customers.
“We have trained three more girls to help us. They are knitting the base of the items on which we add more designs,” she said.

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