Nausheen Barkat is a self-driven entrepreneur who started her venture “Asqurr” along with her Mother. Their Startup was born out of a lot of passion and dreams. Having a strong vision to take organic products from their hometown in Hunza, Pakistan to the world, the duo took an initiative with the hopes that one-day honey beekeeping will become more common and popular worldwide. ‘Asqurr’ is not just a place to find pure and organic products, it is also a platform that offers boundless opportunities to empower Pakistani women. Together, Nausheen and her Mother have managed to revive the traditional practice of beekeeping and consequently emerged as an inspiration for women in Pakistan.
Nausheen has been invited to talk about Asqurr honey on National Television and digital media platforms.
As an effort to highlight talented women and recognize their work and capabilities – Fempreneur features another inspiring story, of Nausheen and her Mom, who are working to progress the traditional practice of beekeeping in the Gilgit-Baltistan area.
Let’s learn more about their journey.
Hi Nausheen… you have a wonderful initiative by the name ‘Asqurr’, what is it all about?
Asqurr is a mother-daughter initiative, which promotes and empowers women in an unconventional business i-e Honey beekeeping. We sell pure and raw honey, online, gathered from different regions of Gilgit and Hunza across Pakistan.
How did you first come up with this idea?
I was going through a rough patch in my life – first I lost my 1-week old baby and then was blessed with a differently abled child. I was fighting the challenges of Motherhood when this idea came to my mind, to get immersed into a healthy activity. This way, I could be mentally energized and could also extend a helping hand to my mother who was already into honey beekeeping.
My mother use to harvest honey and send it to all our siblings. I thought of making it a venture and bringing it to a National level across Pakistan.
“Asqurr” is a unique name, what does it mean?
Asqurr means “Flower” in our local language, Burushaski, which is widely spoken in Hunza and surrounding areas. I belong to Hunza and I live in Karachi Pakistan. While naming the venture, I thought to keep it in such a way that people in my area feel connected to my venture. And also anyone who hears it for the first time would remember it forever due to its unique name. Since Asqurr is all about Honey and honey bees take the nectar from the flowers to make honey, so I thought Asqurr would be the best name for the venture.
What do you feel gives you an edge over any competitors?
I don’t consider anyone as my competitor. Yes, I learn from others. Since we are the only honey brand in Pakistan which is run by women and all our beekeepers are women too, we are unique in every way. Our team is very dedicated and gives their best, in providing pure honey to our customers.
What milestones have you achieved so far?
We are blessed to have received, so much recognition Nationwide in a very short span of time. We have won three competitions, which I could never imagine, followed by interviews by all the leading T.V channels, we have collaborated with the Turkish Government on uplifting, women bee-keepers in Gilgit Baltistan. This is just the beginning, there’s so much more to come.
Asqurr is jointly run by you and your mother. Do you feel if there is ever a difference of opinion in business, it affects your personal lives too?
My mother is my role model since childhood. She leads on the field. She is responsible and takes care of honey bees while I have the responsibility of marketing, packaging, and customer service. And we always discuss business and its expansion. Respect for opinion is our priority so I don’t think there would ever be such a thing.
How did you market your business and build your brand initially?
I made a Facebook page initially and also shared about our venture at all available online spaces. I use to post on different online platforms mainly women closed groups on Facebook.
Where do you see “Asqurr”, 5 years from now?
I hope to see Asqurr, as one of the top honey brands in Pakistan with loyal and satisfied customers.
What advice would you like to give to aspiring women entrepreneurs, especially those who wish to enter into the same field as yours?
- Practice hard work and consistency!
- Keep learning and even unlearn and relearn. Surround yourself with positive people.
- I always encourage young women to take the first step and then be ready to fly.