Khalid Bashir Bazaz‘s story serves as inspiration from entrepreneurs, starting from rags he has become rich and what helped him was his willpower to work hard even in difficult situations.
Today Lady Hut Private Limited – a registered company whose apparel brands in Kashmir are popular. The company has its massive presence in social media. But the brand Lady Hut that people know today was not built in a day. It took Khalid’s hard work of 17 years.
In 2001, a young and ambitious Khalid started teaching in a private school with a meagre salary of Rs 1500 per month. With no financial support to start a business, he learned things a hard way.
“My father was a government employee; I have done my graduation in electronics. My father had an ambition that I should also get a government job. But looking at the financial condition of my father after having worked for a long time, I was not a big fan of government jobs," Khalid says.
“But as they say necessity is the mother of invention, after passing my 12th exams, I joined SP College to pursue my graduation in electronics. I had the ambition to become an engineer, but such was the lack of awareness that I didn’t know that to get into the engineering field one has to sit for the entrance examination after 12th class. Later I learnt it, even though my family didn’t know about it neither did we have money to pay for tuition etc.”
“To support my family, during my college days in 2003 I joined a private school Shaheen Public School as a Maths teacher; I stayed there for six months, later I joined another school as a teacher. But during these days I realized that I am not made for doing a job.”
“I decided that I would do business but for that I needed money. So I started from part-time business activities during my teaching days. After some time there was a shopping complex coming up in Alamgari Bazar, I asked my father that we should buy a small shop there; I required Rs 2 lakh for buying a shop. It was my mother who sold her gold ornaments to pay for the shop.”
“ After getting a small shop, I started from scratch during the day time I used to teach and in the evening hours buy products for my shop. Later, when the sales started to pick, I quit teaching and went fully into the clothing business. There were a lot of hurdles, and lack of money was the main hindrance. I used to buy clothing items from retailers here then sell them to customers with zero margins, just to gain market share."
“After toiling hard, I went outside to purchase stock and the rest is history. It was after a lot of hard work, I was able to set up my business. Today Lady Hut is a registered company and has its trademark. I have 35 employees working with me and recently we launched our website where we offer cash on delivery options as well to customers.”
"Today, we design our products ourselves, my focus is to preserve our culture, through my designs I am doing my bit to introduce our traditional clothing culture to the younger generation."
Given the influence of social media, Khalid has ventured into the online business.
“Lady Hut is the only apparel brand in J&K that has more than 250K followers on Instagram and 150k followers on YouTube. I have five shops where we have different collections, even our online segment is doing far better business than shops. Today I can sit at home and earn money but it has not come easy, it is mainly because of my hard work and willpower. I believe that skills can help, but it is the willpower that keeps you going.”
"I am a big supporter of entrepreneurship, in fact, I train my employees to be entrepreneurs and have set a system where they don’t work like employees but as stakeholders in my company. They get the commission on sales which keeps them motivated and at the same encourages them to be job creators instead of seekers."
"My advice to young entrepreneurs is that there is no substitute for hard work. I am a firm believer in the willpower to do things. I have seen people with skills fail in business, but those who have the will to do work even after failing tens of times will ultimately succeed. My personal experience is the same, I have failed, faltered yet stood determined to even work harder."