The technology revolution has significantly impacted government, business, communication, and the labor market. After the invention of the internet, the e-learning process started in the late 20th century. However, it took time for the whole world to adopt change. The world has now moved towards e-business. Many platforms offer online services. Both clients and business people now prefer to buy and purchase the products online. Online shopping has replaced the tradition of traveling a long distance to reach the shop.
Though it is helpful and more efficient in many aspects, Pakistan is one of the countries where there was not much concept of online shopping in the early 2000s, and people were not aware of the terms of E-Commerce. At the same time, Rabia Naeem, a Bachelor’s in Business Administration student from the University of Karachi. She began to take an interest in this field and started to work in this field as a small online gift shop owner, and then, by the grace of Almighty Allah, she established a profitable business from scratch in less than 2 years.
She was a brilliant student, and her conduct in her studies was also profound. She was also a good writer and artist with creative thoughts and loved to think differently and outside the box to discover new opportunities. She had a cheerful and energetic personality from childhood, and she was always ready with different kinds of plans in different situations. She had a passion and skills for composing poetry and writing stories. She also wanted to pursue her career in the field of her interest and wanted to become a businesswoman. In 2012, while she was in college, she started doing arts, calligraphy, writing blogs, articles, etc., on her Facebook page. She could use the internet resource to indulge herself in social media, just like other students were doing. She preferred to explore the world through the internet and find resources that could help her build herself and achieve her dreams.
During her university time as a student, she felt the lack of jobs for the new graduates and even some experienced ones, especially in Marketing. She felt that there is a lack of Entrepreneur mindset in the students, and they are only running after the jobs but are not creating an opportunity for themselves by helping themselves. She felt that there was a lack of using technology for their benefit. Noticing the world is earning through the internet and exploiting it to the fullest, and we are just using it for communication and entertainment. She approached her friends and family and shared the idea of earning from the internet. First, they could not get her point, and later convinced them. At the age of just 21, she created a small homemade gift studio that grew to become successful later on.
She identified weaknesses, faults, and inconveniences in the regular gift shopping market. There was little or no tradition of online gift shopping and delivering to other people systems for the people at a reasonable price.
She realized that although being educated, people don’t know how to buy online with ease and reliability. They have little or no knowledge that they can also make custom gifts and send them to their loved ones without the headache of going to the market and arguing with the shopkeeper and wasting their precious time just by using their laptops, phones, and the internet. They opt for any random gift hampers according to the shopkeeper’s will and at a very high price; therefore, she decided it was the right time to bring this gift shop to the customer’s house. She started this gift hamper-making and delivering business. She got a crushing response, and then she recognized that she could opt for it as a business.
She always had a business mind. She previously had a business partnership with the catering, which functioned well, and it delivered food for the occasions and at the schools. She learned so much from experience. Her business and communication skills also got polished after working in this business as she had to deal with different kinds of people. Here she learned how vital customer’s satisfaction is in the industry, and she realized that you have to take responsibility for each. Everything as a customer will always say that we are giving you money we want everything perfect although not every time everything is perfect. She earned a handsome amount through this business.
Then she started to go full time in this business as she specified 2 guys for delivery whereas the designing part and customer dealing is done by herself and her mother. She thinks that the biggest hurdle in the growth of her business is the ever drowning economy of Pakistan, as people find it difficult to buy in these challenging times. However, their prices are still reasonable, so people have no issues with prices as they are cheaper than the other big brand names. Currently, she is running her business through social media like Facebook and Instagram. She is also considering marketing their business products through Facebook Ads, and Instagram paid shootouts. To go fully global, they are developing their professional website, which could cater to all the customer’s needs by designing the custom basket of gifts according to their wish and adding or removing any product that the customer wants or does not want. She stated that she needs some investment as they want to increase the size of the business by renting or buying a particular place for their warehouse. It would create more job opportunities for youngsters, especially for creative teams, designers, delivery guys, and website development and maintenance teams.
She says that there has not been much failure or loss in this business by the Grace of Almighty Allah. Sometimes, the customer does not like the final product and claims their money back. They tackle by giving half the amount back to the customer as a win-win situation, but that does not frequently happen but very rarely as she declares that her clients trust her. Suppliers are primarily accessories shops, print shops, and decoration material shops. She also has a trustworthy relationship with her suppliers. There has been a relationship of mutual trust formed, which is honored by both parties(Startup Hampers Factory and the suppliers)
She welcomes the new generation into her business as, in her mind, the new brains bring new ideas, and they can solve problems more efficiently. There can be a gap in business strategies and thinking between the young and the experienced. Still, overall she feels that a diversified workspace can benefit the business.
She has always been an independent person, and she believed that there should be no business with family. If people have a comfort zone with you, they stop respecting that boundary and sometimes do not obey your orders and take you for granted, and then somehow your work gets affected. Therefore, she is the only founder of the company.
When you capture the consumer market for your product, you know your business’s potential, so you get the idea of whether to rely on an external source for investment or not.
The system operates not only in Pakistan but globally through websites.
It would help if you went parallel with technology and innovations. If you are stuck someplace, you are out of the world.
Her advice to new entrepreneurs is to be consistent and try to do beta testing. Before launching your company, you should have a clear understanding of the market, your competitors, and the uniqueness of your product that stands you out.
It may seem easy to start a business, but dedication, time, and effort are required. Once you create awareness and aim your audience, you can make a strategy to grow your invention. Train people about the system is the biggest hurdle. The initial challenges she faced were to convince people to adopt this new gift shop and make awareness of her startup. As recently, before this Covid-19 and pandemic, there was little culture and knowledge of online business, especially in Pakistan, and it’s still a challenge to redirect the ongoing market system to an online system.
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