Know a lot of talented women? Of course you do! They are all around us. But we have someone who decided nothing was going to stand in the way of her talent! Yes, Ayesha Fahad has defied norms to make something she liked into a business for herself!
She is the owner of Ash L’amour which (you are really going to love this) is all about amazing clutches and handbags that have no match in the market! So we decided to get in touch with Ayesha and share her success story with you!
What did you do before starting with Ash L’amour?
I am a Business Graduate. I did my MBA from IBA in 2013with majors in marketing before I started off with Ash L’amour I did my BBA from Bahria University in 2010 and joined Shell Tameer for their summer internship program. This internship was a life changing experience that inspired me to start off with my own business.
How did you come up with your idea? What was the inspiration?
Ash L’amour was one of the business plans that I made during my BBA. The inspiration came from my love for bags and clutches. I often didn’t find the kind of bags that I wanted at a reasonable price and hence I started off with Ash L’amour.
Did you face any struggles while establishing your company?
I literally started from scratch in terms of the knowledge and experience that I had of the industry. I had very limited finances hence it was important for me to make this work. However I enjoyed every bit of it. I looked at every obstacle as an opportunity to learn and grow, to gain experience.
How did you overcome the hurdles?
I was persistent. I knew I had to make it work! For me every hurdle that came along the way was a source of motivation and it made me work not just harder but smarter!
Was family support important?
Very much! My mother has been a huge supporter during this entire journey. She is the woman who inspires me! I remember growing up listening to all these stories of successful people and how they faced so many obstacles in life.
Did being a woman stand in your way?
I never looked at it that way! And when I think of it now I feel I have benefited more from the fact that I am a woman! Although I did hear things about how it’s not appropriate for a young woman to go to a wholesale market or go to slum areas looking for karigars. But I never bothered about them.
Eventually met a number of people along the way who encouraged what I did. I got in touch with a number of organizations that supported entrepreneurship and specially women entrepreneurs. It’s not as bad as it seems once you decide to start off!
What is one of the most important things you learnt along the way?
I always looked at bad experiences as a part of learning and I considered them a very important part of growing as an entrepreneur. This was my way forward.
Do you believe a woman should think of her career before anything else?
I don’t agree with it completely! For our generation it is still all about the work-life balance. While there are a lot more expectations associated with women as compared to men, it is important for women today to have a career but also to learn how to keep a balance.
How hard is it to juggle your family life with what you do?
I am lucky that I have a very supportive family! And since it’s my own business I find it easier to manage the time. There are some days when I am too busy with work but then there are also days when I make sure I am there for my family. And once you get used to it and your family understands the way you work.
What is that one thing that always kept your hopes high?
The fact that no one who made it big had it easy! This is probably one of those things that keep me going.
From your experience, what are the essential qualities Pakistani women need to have to become entrepreneurs and pursue their dream?
If you really want to start off with a business and you really want to do something meaningful and important with your life, stop using your gender as an excuse for having limited opportunities! Because that is not true! There are so many organizations out there that are willing to support female entrepreneurs!
Indeed. HerCareer.pk is all about helping women establish themselves. From your experience, how do you think we can be of more help to all the Pakistani women?
I feel one initiative that HerCareer.pk should take is to conduct workshops on work-life balance for women because we generally struggle a lot with this.
That’s a great idea! We shall add that the agenda.
I am curious. How far do you plan to take your initiative in the upcoming years?
I see Ash L’amour growing into an international lifestyle brand. My ultimate dream is to live a life that would be an inspiration for my coming generations.
If you could change one thing about women in Pakistan, what would it be?
Most of the time women imagine more barriers than they exist. The only thing that ever really stands in your way is you. I wish women learn to change the way they think.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us Ayesha. Good Luck for the future! We hope to see some brand new Ash L’amour collections soon!
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