By Pirah Aijaz
Sumbul Sibtain- Founder of “AH Online Store” and a mother of 2, she has been successfully managing her business for some time now.
Be it creative work, upbringing her children, or fulfilling her other responsibilities, Sumbul manages to stay on top of everything.
Sumbul Sibtain is an aesthete who has a deep love for art and beautiful things. She is a creative mind and knows how to turn ideas into eye-catching things. Her passion and love for arts has been growing each day and that’s how she evolves.
At Fempreneur, we approached her for our feature series and we are glad that she took the time out, to share her entrepreneurial journey and all about her brand.
So, let’s meet her!
Tell us about yourself, your academic background & business venture.
I belong to a noble, educated family. I studied Biochemistry, later, I did diploma in Medical Transcription but couldn’t pursue it as profession because of full-time mommy duties but my inner soul was not satisfied and I had an urge to explore and do something more. As sitting idle, sleeping in, were never my idea of fun. So, I started “AH ONLINE STORE” with Rs.1200 investment only.
What motivated you to start your own venture “Ah Online Store”?
I was so inspired from the talented, versatile women who have been successfully managing their personal and professional lives. Not just this, but nowadays, women are also active on social media and they manage their online ventures as well. That’s what motivated me to do something for my own professional growth. And at that time, I decided to start “Ah Online Store”, with baby steps.
What challenges did you face at the beginning of your venture?
Leaving my kids alone at home or depending on babysitters was the biggest challenge at the beginning of my venture. I’m the kind of mother who was never at ease, leaving kids alone at home or relying on caretakers. That’s the reason, I had to complete all my tasks within their school timings. I even dealt with my vendors, only on calls.
What marketing strategy did you use first to market your brand?
At the beginning, I was completely new to the field of entrepreneurship, and that’s the reason, I first started marketing my brand only in Facebook groups from where I got a good response. Alongside this, word-of-mouth played a vital role in my venture and it helped me to grow my audience. For marketing, my friends and family members supported me and now, my nephew and nieces also support me, in increasing my brand awareness. I now, have clients from across the world.
What makes you stand-out from your competitors?
I can’t question anyone’s credibility as everyone is doing a great job and giving their best. But yes, I would say I don’t compromise on quality and that’s what makes my brand stand-out
What are your top three strengths as an entrepreneur?
As an Entrepreneur, my top three strengths are Time Management, Multi-tasking and the ability to Plan and execute 100% work, from home. All three are the pillars through which I build my brand, which is now my identity.
What are three main factors influencing the growth of women entrepreneurs in Pakistan?
In my point of view, providing opportunities for training and socialization, and a conducive economic & business environment; are the main factors influencing the growth of women entrepreneurs in Pakistan.
Providing training and socialization can serve as the foundation for entrepreneurship. Youth can receive this training in two ways: as social training for self-reliance, as initiation training for young people, etc. As people become more independent, they will begin to develop, establish and expand businesses. However, it is important to keep in mind that neither over protection nor excessive instructions should be provided to them.
Economy and business environment plays a crucial role in this regard. While among others, economic stability, competition, prices, income levels, investment and saving positions of the market, market competition, imperfect competition, capital market, transportation, and communication awareness towards the environment, quality of entrepreneurs and innovations, etc are other factors that affect the growth of women entrepreneurs in Pakistan.
Tell us about your real inspiration.
I got inspired by women who manage their home and kids with a successful professional life. And I always wanted to be like them instead of living an aimless, married life. Finally, I decided to live the kind of life, I always wanted to.
Your entrepreneurial journey would be impossible without the support of a strong group of people, who do you want to thank?
When it comes to my strong support system - a huge list comes to my mind. I credit my parents and siblings who have been encouraging and motivating me throughout my journey. My husband also supported me without him, I’m nothing. Among others, my sister, cousins, and friends contributed a lot by helping me establish my brand.
What’s the most important lesson you learned from your entrepreneurial journey that you would love to share with newbies?
Never ever compromise on quality.. Spend, to make your customers happy. Your money, time, and efforts will return in doubles or triples for sure.