Kishtwar couple globalising local produce; promoting Kashmiri-Dogra arts and crafts
Jammu: A startup from hilly Kishtwar district has gone global by selling produce from villages of Jammu and Kashmir at the local, national and international market.
The startup has also been promoting Kashmiri and Dogra art and culture like Pashmina and Basohli paintings, attracting support and acknowledgement.
This was possible when a young electrical engineer, QaziMoien Ahmad left his job as operational head of north India with a reputed e-commerce company in Gurugram in September 2017 and returned home with an idea to brand local produce of Chenab Valley and entire J&K.
Even as Kishtwar is known as the land of sapphire and saffron, he believes that it had not gone global like it deserves to be.
Ahmad's dream came true with the foundation of Hamiast Global Pvt Ltd (hamiast.com, an online portal) and gradually, it gained momentum in online selling of products.
"Initially, I started from Kishtwar, and then, multiple products were also introduced," he said.
“Kashmir art and craft including papiermache were kept available. Kashmiri art is known but there is a need to promote Dogra art like Basohli paintings, cloth and block paintings. The journey is on to promote every aspect of our art and culture,” Ahmad said.
He said that products being sold on hamiast.com include grains, dried fruits, tea, Rajma from Marwah (Kishtwar), ShahiZeera (cumin seeds) from Padder, KishtwariGuchi, Basmati rice of R S Pura, ready to eat teen packed Kashmiri Wazwan (in collaboration with AhadWaza), Dogri food, art and craft of Jammu as well as Kashmir, and other locally produced products of the villages.
As the startup project of e-commerce moved on and they started getting orders from J&K and even from Canada and United States, Ahmad said his wife Mehvish also left her job as project manager in American Express at Gurugram and joined him at Kishtwar.
“First, I left my job to start the business and started the startup. As our project started succeeding, my wife also left her job. Now, the startup is growing with every passing day though we have faced problems in the last three years due to the 'circumstances,'” he said.
Ahmad said that they get honey from Bhaderwah area of Doda, and two of their suppliers had become popular brands now.
“We support and inspire new startups and provide them a platform to sell their products at the national and global level,” he said. “We are doing B2B business with chefs, hotels, corporator sector, and others by selling products which are produced in parts of Jammu, remote area of Chenab Valley, and Kashmir.”
His company has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ganderbal Handloom Department for the promotion and sale of Pashmina, Ahmad said.
“By next week, our entire team will go to Kashmir and soon this project will also start separately. The authorities have extended their support to us,” he said.
Ahmad said that they are also working on Kashmiri copper utensils and papiermache.
He said that while there was awareness among the people about the brands of J&K, they take products to the people online.
Ahmad said that a small group of women in Tral’sDarsarai area in Kashmir had also been collaborating with them in Pashmina making.
He said his company gives wings to the dreams of new entrepreneurs and fulfills their dreams.