SUKKUR: Entrepreneurs in the making, students Asma Mahar and Quratul Ain of the Institute of Business Administration, Sukkur, know an opportunity when it presents itself, leading them to design hijabs and abayas in a campus where girls are increasingly turning towards the religious practice of observing pardah.
Students of Bachelor in Business Administration-VII, the girls used embroidery and appliqué work to give the headscarves and gowns a colourful touch.
“We joined the institute three years ago and since then, the number of girls wearing hijab or an abaya has been increasing,” said Mahar while talking to The Express Tribune at their stall set up at the institute. “In view of the increasing demand, we decided to offer the girls a colourful variety to choose from.”
The small-scale project, however, was short on funds. “IBA came to our rescue and provided us an interest-free loan, which covered 85 per cent of the project’s cost,” said Quratul Ain. “The remaining 15 per cent was arranged by us.”
Haling from Shikarpur and Khairpur, the girls live in the university hostels and found it challenging to find time for the project from their studies and schedules. “It took six months to complete the project and finally, with the help of others, we have put our designs on display.”
Competing with the market
There are not many varieties in the markets when it comes to hijabs and abayas and that is why we wanted to offer something different, said the girls. “Our works use embroidery, appliqué, beads and other embellishments to suit everyone’s choice.”
The fabrics have been selected very carefully, said the designers, adding that some of the hijabs have been made with Turkish fabric.
Prices of the hijabs at the exhibition ranged between Rs250 to Rs650, depending on the fabric and work. When asked about the response to their exhibition, they said 35 per cent of their stock was sold within two hours. “Our motto is to provide a variety of hijabs to girls at comparatively cheaper prices.”
Mahar and Quratul Ain credited their success to the encouragement and cooperation of their teachers and classmates and plan to organise more exhibitions in the future.
After earning money through the sales, the next step will be to take their project online by launching their own website.
“People, especially women, want change and we are happy that we have come up with something new to cater to their needs.”
Published in The Express Tribune, January 23rd, 2013.