Saturday, May 25, 2024

In the line of beauty

Setting up her own business was a leap of faith for Nisho Tareen. Being a woman and deciding to pursue her dreams did not go down very well with a conservative society that prefers to see women confined to the house and the kitchen. Nisho, co-founder of Nisha Beauty Salon, faced these obstacles with determination as she aspired to prove her mettle as a successful entrepreneur fueled by her passion.

Following her interest in the beauty sector, Nisho has formal training from reputable institutions that equip herself with the skills that are a prerequisite to be a successful beautician. Once trained, she started working in a salon. Nisho terms it as the most strenuous period of her life, when she had to keep up with the responsibilities of an employee as well as a mother. Recalling the harrowing times, when she and her spouse had to carry on with their respective jobs, their young children were neglected as both the parents returned home late and tired. Managing a job, children and home in all this mayhem seemed impossible. Giving in to the pressure, she bid farewell to her job. But not her dreams!

She set foot in the world of entrepreneurship with a humble beginning and set up a beauty salon comprising of a single room with just one employee. Her skill and dedication soon won her a satisfied and loyal clientele. When the word about her services spread, her client base grew. Soon she realized that a better and bigger setup to cater to the surge in demand was the need of the hour.

Her husband, Najeeb Ahmad, who is also cofounder of Nisha Beauty Salon, recalls that it was Nisho’s dream to scale up the salon with specialized sections for different services. A substantial amount of capital, which they did not have at the time, was required to scale up. Securing loans from banks is an uphill task and unnecessary formalities involved in it demand money, time and energy. They contacted a few banks but there was no interest shown by the formal financial sector in their venture. After ruling out banks for securing capital, they started looking for other options. One day Najeeb came across Karandaaz Women Ventures on Facebook. After looking into their terms and conditions they were relieved. Besides providing capital, through a customized business development support Women Ventures is facilitating and encouraging women entrepreneurs to scale up their business ventures, which surely was an added advantage.

With the approval for the provision of capital, their journey to realize Nisho’s dream of a full-fledged salon began. As a result, the second branch of Nisha Beauty Salon is bigger and better with specialized sections for different services, exactly as Nisho dreamt about it. The financial help of Karandaaz proved to be a fuel for Nisho’s dreams.

In Nisho’s opinion, capital is the lifeline of any business and without a specialized women-centric capital injection programme, expansion of Nisha Beauty Salon would have been tedious or may be even impossible. When it comes to financial matters of a business in Pakistan, there are not many options that can be trusted. Small and medium enterprises are always a little apprehensive about taking loans from banks and there is little or no assistance available pertaining to specifically financial needs of women entrepreneurs.

About her life changing experience as her business grew, Nisho states,

“I had no prior experience of financial management of my business, everything was managed through simple manual procedures. With assistance from Karandaaz I arranged training and capacity building sessions with financial experts who taught me how to manage the financial aspects of my business. I learned better and effective techniques of managing my salon. They revolutionized our business and advised us to take our presence online too with a well-designed website and on different social media platforms. Now I can manage, assess and analyze management and financial requirements of my business with a professional perspective.”

Today, Nisha Beauty Salon with 2 branches and 20 employees is a to notch beauty salon in Karachi. Scaling up of the venture has also resulted in job creation. At Nisha Beauty Salon, only women are employed as beauticians, more jobs means more women are on their way to financial independence and participation in their family and country’s economy. This is how Nisha Beauty Salon is proving to be a women empowerment hub. Nisho believes, “Expansion of any business leads to more employment opportunities. Since we are a women-led business, it is a source of livelihood for many women and has improved their and their families’ standard of living.”

Nisho prefers to hire women who have to be breadwinners of their families in the absence of their male relations. She trains them, equips them with all essential skills of a beautician, and empowers them financially making them an active participant in the economy of the country. Nisha Beauty Salon is a socially responsible enterprise as they regularly donate to charities and fund education of their employees. In one particular instance, a young girl came for employment at Nisha Beauty Salon. She was forced to discontinue her education as her parents could not afford the college fee. Nisho hired and trained her, and as an outcome of her gainful employment she has recently graduated from college and completed her education.

Nisho reiterating her belief in women empowerment and striving for one’s dreams asserts, “When I stepped into this industry, I was looked down upon as just another beautician and nobody took my profession seriously. They thought that I would give up sooner or later. But with my determination and passion, today I am seen as a role model and many young girls in my family and community aspire to be a business woman like me. I have a strong belief that women should come out of their homes and lead, work and have their own businesses. If I can do it, anyone can.”

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