It all started when 2 years back, I happened to visit the bazaars of the walled city of Lahore and small workshops (addas) where these talented shoe craftsmen were making local kola puris. It was then when it occurred to me that Pakistan has got so much talented and experienced craftsmen but they are not experimenting with their skills and they are not acknowledged globally for the kind of talent they possess. So it was then when I realized that we need a brand that helps elevate these craftsmen to explore their skills in not only making their signature designs but also the kind of designs that help them compete with the international standards of handcrafted products. My sister and I started working on this and that’s how the idea of Dastdoz (which means ‘handmade’ in Persian) became a reality.
However, coming up with an idea is only the tip of the iceberg but bringing it to life is the real struggle. It was hard to get into a male dominated industry where they don’t take two women in their 20s seriously and it’s a real struggle to help empower craftsmen who are reluctant to experiment and try something different themselves, but this never stopped us and we kept working on our idea. The day you realize you have an amazing idea and you’re about to become an entrepreneur, you step into this whole startup culture where people will give loads of free advice on what works and what doesn’t. My plan was to get into a good incubation center and I thought only then my idea would get the kick start it needs. But it was after we got rejected by 2 incubation centers that I realized that it’s not the only way. My sister and I started saving money to bootstrap our idea and with the grace of God and the amazing support system we had, we were able to launch our first collection 2 months ago which is now receiving popularity worldwide.
Bottom line is to have faith in yourself and keep at it. Success only comes to those who dare to dream and make it real.” – Aisha Sajid, Co-founder Dastdoz.
Do visit Dastdoz and check out her super cool collection!