Breaking the stereotype, ZarkaTanzeel became an entrepreneur after her marriage. She gave up her private job to focus on her own venture.
Zarka – a detergent entrepreneur from central Kashmir’s Budgam district started her detergent manufacturing unit in 2019. KMR Sheen, a detergent product which has gained popularity in a shorter span of time is the brainchild of Zarka who has worked hard to make a name for herself.
Zarka’s entrepreneurial journey is different; she left her private job and started her detergent manufacturing unit after her marriage.
“I was inclined to business from my childhood. After completing my studies I started working as a private teacher. In 2017 after I got married, I left the job; I discussed my childhood ambition of becoming an entrepreneur with my husband, who gave me all the support. I discussed with him about my entrepreneurial ambitions, he himself being a businessman could understand what I was thinking about.”
“But at the same time I was not clear about the line of activity which I want to choose. My aim was only to do something different. I did a lot of research to know about the new ventures which could be started in Kashmir. Despite knowing that in Kashmir doing business is not an easy task. I took each step carefully.”
“I used the internet to search, checked scores of business ideas, finally I zeroed in on detergent manufacturing. Being a woman, I could connect to the product as females are the ones who use it most for washing clothes at their respective homes. After deciding to venture into detergent manufacturing, I did a lot of research which included several trips to outside J&K for gaining experience from people who are already into detergent manufacturing.”
“In the meantime I approached EDI which helped me in financing the venture. But it took me two years from 2017 to 2019, to convert my idea into a business venture. There were many naysayers who used to say that detergent manufacturing in Kashmir won’t work as multi-national companies are selling their detergents here which are brand names and have huge presence in the markets.”
“I took it as a challenge why a Kashmiri brand can't work in front of outside products. I made it to the point that my quality won’t be second to none. I made several trips to companies manufacturing detergent across India. I learned a lot from these trips, besides and did a lot of research. It was not an easy task, I approached one of the raw material manufacturing companies; the owner of that company told me that instead of manufacturing detergent why won’t you market his products. I categorically said no, because I wanted to give Kashmir its own detergent brand.”
“Within no time, my detergent product has gained popularity. I am getting positive reviews from customers which have encouraged me a lot. My case can serve an example to many entrepreneurs who think that our local products can’t compete with products manufactured by multinational companies. Only thing that we should keep in mind is that entrepreneurs should never compromise on quality.”
Zarka’s detergent manufacturing unit currently has 8 employees who work with her. She says that daily estimated one ton of detergent power is being manufactured by them.
She has plans to expand her business, but due to Covid-19, the expansion plan has been put on hold. “For three years almost, Covid has broken our economy. One day I used to have huge orders, the second day the restrictions would enforce shutting of operations. These few years have been tough for business, but despite all odds I have braved the situation. I have planned to start soap manufacturing but currently it is on hold, as I want to focus on marketing and building the brand image of my product.”
On being asked to give advice to female entrepreneurs, Zarka says that women are second to none; they should take challenges and not get bogged down by societal thinking towards them.
“I believe that marriage is not a barrier to stop doing things, my entrepreneur journey started after marriage, when I did stop chasing my dream, why should others stop. My advice to all entrepreneurs is that they should never give up on their dreams, hardwork and perseverance will take them to success. Follow the path of righteousness, honesty and work with dedication. It is the mantra to be a successful entrepreneur.”