It has been a year now in the business and the influx of customers has already gone up from the last year. Muzamil attends to 8-10 customers on daily basis and the turnover has reached about Rs 80 lakh per annum.
On the first floor a 12 by 10 feet office in Lawaypora, is open throughout the day welcoming customers, and the owner sits himself with customers and helps them to make a better choice in making their homes look beautiful.
Belle Casa-B’ful Homes is run by a 26 year old man, Muzamil Hammed from Fatehpora, Baramulla, that deals with tiles, readymade kitchens, wooden flooring and wall papers. It aims at making homes look more beautiful in an eco-friendly way.
“The idea was to beautify homes by bringing in more innovative and environment friendly things into the material used for construction. So the concept of making eco-friendly houses that looked beautiful at the same time came into being and is now labeled as Belle Casa- which in Italian means beautiful homes,” said the owner and founder of Belle Casa. It also deals in modular kitchens, wardrobes, and interior decors.
Unlike boys of his age Muzamil had no interest in working in an office from nine to five marking files and obeying orders.
“It was the year 2013, I had to appear for an exam for a certain job in bank, after seeing the crowd I knew very well that it was a futile exercise and after that I never filled a single form for job application. That was the turning point and there I decided to start my own business with whatever means I had,” says Muzamil while recalling the inception of the idea.
He comes from a very modest background, so he couldn’t afford to stay home waiting for a job to come knocking at the door.
“My family condition wasn’t that strong I did MSc IT with help of an educational loan, and I was the oldest son, so I had to take concrete steps, I couldn’t afford to run after jobs,” he added.
Government job was not an option so he was left with starting his own business that too needed capital but had none.
“I remember when I perceived the idea in my head; I had just 300 bucks in my pocket. I borrowed money from my aunt, an amount of 12,000 and started designing my plan. I was inclined towards construction and manufacturing but setting up a unit was never easy, so step by step I learned about this sector and its scope, there I decided this was it,” he said.
There are number of people in construction business, interior decoration but what makes Belle Casa different from the rest is its conserving the nature theme apart from beautifying homes.
“So I thought of making ceramic tiles in an eco-friendly manner rather than setting up cement kilns that are a cause of environmental degradation. I studied, consulted experts to help me out with the idea and it took me a year to consolidate it all and finally I was able to build Bella Casa’s first factory in my home town of Baramulla,” says Muzamil.
According to his analysis of the market, construction business had a lot of scope of renovation.
“After keenly observing the construction sector throughout the Valley I came to know that the raw material was available locally and one could easily come up with plants that kept pollution under check. The tile factories here produce a lot of pollution as they run on firewood but our lawn tiles use water and cement, hence the pollution level is way too low,” claims Muzamil.
Muzamil’s factory was the first eco-friendly factory manufacturing lawn tiles in north Kashmir. He has generated employment both at Baramulla and Lawaypora offices, either directly or indirectly.
“I have ten people directly working for me and more than 70 indirectly involved in my business,” Muzamil says.
Talking about the hurdles he faced during his initial tenure, Muzamil said, “Although there was no sale in first six months but I am kind of person who doesn’t give up. I was determined to take my business to its final destination. A number of things tried to stop me but then I am tough enough. Sometimes it was the bank, the clearance authorities or the registration people, they literally made me run after them but I didn’t give up,” he added.
It has been a year now in the business and the influx of customers has already gone up from the past quarter year.
“I attend 8-10 customers on daily basis and customer satisfaction is the primary goal for me. Our turnover is 80 lakh per annum this time and it is kicking up as the summer is setting in,” he said.
He works hard enough to see his business grow, as he believes that the initial few years are very crucial.
“I work from nine in the morning to seven, I am literally on my toes all the time, I don’t sit on a chair and direct people I like to do it myself. And I have employed very hard working guys who understand the worth of time and money,” says Muzamil.
He seldom gets time for his hobbies like driving, travelling but he enjoys long chats with his family later in the evening.
“No matter how hard my day has been, once I go home I sit with my parents and sibling and we talk not of business but on other lighter things, it relives all my tensions, that’s what a home is for,” said Muzamil.
While aiming at being figured in the top business tycoons of the valley, Muzamil said, “I want to be named as an established businessman of the Valley five years from now, and if all works out well I see that happening soon. Resistance and resilience keeps me going.”
He also aims at importing experts who can make things here and will be cheap and indigenous at the same time.
“These kitchens come from other parts of the country but I want to make them here, every bit and piece of it so that it becomes cost effective and accessible to all. It will also help me to generate more employment and I see that as value addition rather than adding to my bank balance,” he added.
He believes that not everyone has the potential to do business in a turmoil torn land like Kashmir but something has to be done instead of sitting idle.
“I have been through this myself, and I know how it feels to sit helplessly unable to do any thing as nothing is in your control but then nothing will happen if we don’t take that first step. Our youth has to take a little risk and realize the power and materialize it, and then nothing is impossible,” advises Muzamil.
There has been good response to his home beautifying theme over the period.
“I am amazed at the response; people are interested in making their homes look different and beautiful at the same time. They come up with certain demands and we here provide them, they are fed up of the old age designs. And today they take care of safety and aesthetics too, which was a rare combination in Valley,” he concludes.