I could come out of the flash backs of my meeting with the owner of Trends Boutique in Multan, Masooma Sibtain, while she was holding an exhibition at Wexnet 2014. She has an amazing profile which is very inspirational for the Pakistani Women Entrepreneurs of today. She is among the pioneer business ladies in Multan, who not only explored, utilized and customized the local resources to build a business empire for her, but also worked towards women entrepreneurship as an ex-president, South Punjab women Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Currently, she is their spokesperson.
She has been contributing as a social worker as well through her activities at SOS Village.
Her short and crisp answers provide good insight about the Pakistani business women and their potentials. Her candidness and a supportive and insightful attitude towards women entrepreneurship adds to her Charisma.
Moving from a teaching job at Beaconhouse School, Multan, to a fashion designing venture is not an easy step. However, she not only dared it but also ran her business so successfully that finally her husband decided to say Good bye to his job and joined her in her business, Trends.
Today, they have a great garment company, Trends, comprises of many independent departments. Both Mr. & Mrs. Sibtain systemized their enterprise right in the beginning when there was not enough awareness available on these aspects of business among her peers. Now, both husband and wife attend to their relevant departments and consider it as their secret behind their happy married life and successful business.
SILKZ, ZUBIA ZAINAB & SANATZAR have been her other business ventures. Despite residing in a small city and facing all kinds of economic and human resource problems, she ran her business of stitched and non-stitched clothes very successfully. For the purpose, she trained her lady workers herself and opened the doors of opportunities for them. Masooma’s education and passion truly empowered her.
Q: What is your specialized area in dress designing?
Masooma: Though I love handmade products, but I produce a combination of conventional and modern design, embroidery and printing. This way, on one hand, I try to restore the tradition, and, on the other hand, I want to go with the trend. So, I blend both. I believe in doing my best, no matter what dimension of my work is it.
Q: What kinds of women can start their businesses?
Masooma: Any women can set up a business because it is inbuilt in her. She knows how to save and how to manage. Moreover, she loves to be updated in her life.
Q: Why majority of women don’t start their business ventures?
Masooma: Actually, there are reasons that don’t let her dare the business steps:
- It is because of her fears, “I can’t do it.”
- Lack of business awareness, skills, exposure, education and social support
- If she begins working, no one shares her family responsibilities.
Q: What are the issues of the Pakistani business women?
- Women are not trusted with money; no matter how much loses their male counterparts may endure. Unfortunately, business losses of men and women are taken in a completely different perspective.
- Women entrepreneurs don’t have access to social media.
- They have no easy access to basic business education and acquiring desired skills.
Q: Why some business women don’t grow much despite being in the business for as long as 20 years or more?
Masooma: It is so because even today they sell the same old material- 20 years old stuff-that is not appealing for the folks of today.
Q: Don’t you think too many ladies have entered the garments business in Pakistan? What is the reason behind it? Do you think it is a healthy trend?
Masooma: Yes, I agree that almost all the ladies want to pursue clothing business because of its quick returns. Secondly, in Pakistan, they are not that educated or skilled to pursue other businesses. So, usually they don’t feel confident enough in opting for other trades.
Obviously, because of this trend, the garment business is saturating and not generating good profits.
Q: What made you so successful?
Masooma: Basically, I am an innovator and like to produce unique dress designs. So, I never copy the trend; rather, I try to bring novelty in the existing fashion.
Moreover, I am an open-minded and progressive person. I never hesitate to question. Alongside, I am a quick and keen learner. It keeps me not only updated, but also helps me in innovating further.
I expended my business slowly and steadily, without taking drastic jumps. Now, by the grace of God, I have four outlets in Multan. Also, I supply my clothes to Islamabad, USA, Dubai and England. I hold regular exhibitions to Egypt, Abu Dhabi, Syria and England.
Q: Do you get time for yourself and your family along with all your business activities?
Masooma: Yes, of course. I love cooking and I cook myself for my family.
I taught my kids myself. I never hired any home-tutors.
I kept my in-laws happy. I have been attending them properly.
Furthermore, I am an avid reader. I love to explore about new things. I blog and spend time with social media.
Q: How do you manage so many channels simultaneously?
Masooma: One has to be very organized and systematic to pursue a challenging life like this.
Q: What you had to compromise in your entire journey?
Masooma: My health, though now I am attending it as well.