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UNDER THE COVERS: With Saba Aqeel

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Saba Aqeel Ahmed has worked tirelessly to set up her home-based bedding business. She strives to deal as fairly and honestly as possible (with the help of her refund and exchange policies) and always makes sure to provide the best quality products so as not to disappoint her customers. She is the mother of four young daughters, a dedicated and honest businesswoman; and a loving wife all wrapped up into one person.

 

  • What pushed you to set up your own business?

I set up this business as a means to support my 4 daughters and husband. I realized that the extra income generated by my business could be put towards my daughters’ higher education and to improve our current standard of living. I also chose to start this business because of my inability to sit idle and my desire to become an economically productive member of society.

 

  • What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in setting up this home-based business?

There were many challenges that I came across while I was initially setting up my business. One of the main problems was transport. I didn’t have a car or driver! This made it quite difficult to commute and get things done. Moreover, my in laws weren’t very supportive of the idea of a working woman either. This became quite worrisome as I wasn’t receiving the kind of support I needed and it lowered my morale quite a bit. In addition to this, one of the hardest things to accomplish was building recognition for my brand.

 

  • There are so many different types of businesses out there. Why did you decide to take up bedding?

Originally I hadn’t decided that I wanted to produce and sell bedding. I had already been contemplating setting up a small home-based business and a close friend suggested that I should pursue bedding. Her husband already owned bedding store so I thought “why not?” I was inexperienced at the time so it was nice to be able to rely on someone who knew what they were doing. Through them I was able to learn a lot about how to grow my business and was able to expand my network of contacts too. Working in bedding textiles is also very unique as not many entrepreneurs have thought to enter this field yet.

 

  • Once you re-started your business for the second time how did you manage to expand it?

Initially, when my business launched I only circulated the news amongst my family and close friends through a Whatsapp message. Then orders started to come in, and as I sent out more products I began to receive positive feedback. From there I was recommended to potential customers outside my immediate family and circle of friends. However, I had to take a short hiatus to focus on a few family matters. Once I re-launched my business I explored new avenues of self-promotion such as online pages, Instagram, and Facebook and that is how I was able to expand my customer base.

 

  • What advice would you offer to someone looking to start their own business?

Give it your all! Don’t pay too much attention to what other people say about you, keep your head down and just keep going. Inshallah, all your efforts will be rewarded if you put in the maximum amount of effort into what you do and keep your intentions clear.

 

  • Was your family supportive of your ambition to run a home-based bedding business?

In all honesty, my family has always been quite supportive of everything I’ve ever wanted to do. I got married at quite a young age only having done my FSC at the time and was very financially vulnerable. It was a blessing to have a supportive husband that encouraged me to take up entrepreneurship and my daughters that pressed me to my get BA degree. However, my in-laws are more conservative and weren’t too keen on the idea of me setting up this business. In this case, I took the executive decisions to carry on and with the support of my husband and daughters I was able to set up a successful career.

 

  • What are some of the most important things you’ve learned as a result of managing this business?

Running this business has in fact been an invaluable learning experience. I had always led quite a sheltered life, but after starting this business my eyes were opened to some very harsh realities. I learned to observe people closely and realized the importance of being polite. People working as sales representatives or offering any goods or services are often wrongly criticized for things beyond their control. Even if they make a genuine yet minor mistake. On the other hand, I also learned how kind and considerate people can be and what the lengths people will go to support you if they care about you.

 

  • Being a working mother can be quite difficult. How do you manage all your responsibilities?

Being a working mother is quite hectic. My children are my number one priority and the whole reason that my entire business is set up at home. This way I am able to look after them while getting on with my work as well. I do all my designing first and only visit the bazaar on selected days to pick out the fabric so that my kids aren’t left alone for too long. It’s a huge responsibility to make sure your children and house aren’t neglected while you work. Especially for me, since I live in a joint family system, and need to be extra vigilant so as to avoid any criticism. At times the routine gets very tedious and work does pile up but at the end of the day, it’s also quite rewarding.

 

  • What is your main focus for the future at this point?

My main focus at this point is educating my 4 young daughters.

 

  • Is there anything you’d like to say to the audience that reads your interview?

Yes, I’d like to take this opportunity and use the Scary Ammi platform to say that every working mother has a lot of responsibilities to shoulder. So it’s important that we do our best to support the work that these mothers do because even the smallest bit of encouragement can do wonders for their morale.

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Entertainment

Lock-down is temporary but Father’s day is permanent

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He is the person who started working hard even before your birth to give you a safe space full of warmth and comfort. It is rightfully said that no person in this world would be happy to see you more successful than him except for your father.
A father is the first superhero in a child’s life, the one he\she would always look up to, for love guidance, goals and unlimited demands.

Since most of the major events are being celebrated in a situation of complete lockdown in the country, we have got some sweet and doable ideas to surprise your dads on this Father’s Day.

Throw A Lunch Party


Isn’t it true that most of the dads are foodies and they can never say no to a dish made by their kids? On this special day, make his favorite dishes. Pamper him the whole day and do not forget to prepare something sweet for the evening tea.

Origami Nuts In Collaboration With OvenCraft


Yummy in his tummy!!! Origami Nuts has designed this cute basket of sweet banana crumble bread in collaboration with Oven craft. The appearance is cute and is definitely a perfect pick to show love and dedication on this special day to your fathers.

Kitchen Kahani’s Breakfast

Almost every dad is a nihari lover and especially in this lockdown when we cannot go and dine out, Kitchen Kahani is offering  “Nashta with Abbu”. We are already melting at the name. You can order home-cooked beef Nihari to surprise your Abbus with a scrumptious desi nashta.

Customized Basket By Happy String

If your abba loves to eat junk, this can be an economical and a fancy present for him. Get his favorite chocolates and other edibles packed in a beautifully wrapped basket and brighten up your father’s mood with something sweet and salty.
Father’s Day DIY Cookie Kit


For young fathers, to have an interactive activity with small kids, Delish is offering customized DIY Cookie kits where you can make your own cookies with your kids while sitting at your home. Isn’t it a great yet adorably creative idea?

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“Beyond Wonder Women”- A Facebook Initiative to Promote Body Positivity

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Beyond Wonder Women is the brainchild of Minahil Kashif, a Law graduate from the University of London. She struggled with all the things that a normal Pakistani girl has to go through when it comes to the concept of a “perfect body”. Minahil used body-shaming as fuel and a reason to start Pakistan’s first fitness and motivational group that promotes the idea of women of all ages, race and ethnicity to come together and live a positive and healthy life.
The initiative “Beyond Wonder Women” aims to help our nation unlearn the concept of “perfect body” by promoting self-love, along with encouraging to be healthy and discouraging them to come down to society’s unnecessary expectations.
Beyond Wonder Women strives to provide women a safe space. Their Instagram promotes fitness and health while they work on the community’s mental health and well-being through their Facebook group in order to maintain privacy.
Amongst other wonder women is  Maryam Feroz (@25vectors) who has produced content that has helped them achieve many milestones in a short span of time which include crossing 1000+ members on their Facebook group and getting shoutouts from international trainers such as @chontelduncan and @stephaniesanzo.

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A Model-Turned-Actress Still at the Peak of her Performance; Sadia Khan!

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Sadia Khan is a name that needs no introduction. The star has made sure she leaves an impression on the audiences with her charming on-screen persona and acting mettle both in the world of modeling and acting. Famed for one of the top performances of her career in Khuda Aur Mohabbat, this starlet has a lot of achievements under her name, and that isn’t all that makes her special.

Starting her career with modeling, this actor-turned-model was destined to be more than just a model. Launched in 2011 in various dramas and ramps, Sadia Khan’s personality and talent have been rather irrepressible. She’s covered countless magazines, starred in numerous dramas, modeled for Pakistan’s biggest brands; in short, there isn’t any territory the actress hasn’t explored. Not to mention, she has made one of the more successful model-to-television and movie star transitions in the Pakistani entertainment industry, like her magnetic performance in Khuda Aur Muhabbat (2011), Naina Syed in Laa (2014), Umm-e-Hani in Shayad, (2017) and Maryam in Maryam Periera (2018). Khan also appeared in a film which is Abdullah: The Final Witness (2016).

But let’s not forget that she was—still is—a unique and remarkable model, as we were all reminded by her triumphant shoots for brands including Khaadi, Sapphire, Gul Ahmed, Sana Safinaz to posing for various other brands. She was the brand ambassador of Khaadi for 3 years, and the brand ambassador for Ufone for more than 2 years. Sadia Khan was modeling from an early age, spending her teens posing for photographs. She then made it as an actress, filling her resume with unconventional and unique roles. The triple threat performer is not only an actress and a model, but also a singer and songwriter. Is there anything that this star can’t do? We don’t think so.

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