Sunday, 24 November 2013

Female Touch in Wood Carving..?

Art exists in all shapes and sizes. It can be found in rough strokes of a painter at work as well as in the delicate patterns engraved by sculptors. For me, wood carving had always been a form of art, which is often underappreciated in our society – like all arts are. Wood carving includes working with wood (obviously), cutting or carving or shaping it by the means of carving knives, chisels, mallets and the likes, and finally create a piece which demands attention for its grace and presence.

Another thing which defines art is rarity, and the enterprise which I wish to highlight in this attempt has that element set as well. You will not hear of many women, I am sure, in this line of business. Women mostly start their entrepreneurial careers in fields such as jewelry, garments, fashion accessories, cooking or baking.

I would introduce and retell the story of Mahnaz Amir Sheikh, who entered in a new business line and started making wooden furniture, back in 1998, when she was persuaded by her mother to take this step. She started her business under the name of “Wood Carvers”.

She began with furniture, initially, for those who prefer class with quality. She stuck essentially to the aristocratic taste, but her designs were contemporary and modern.

Like every other blooming business, her immediate market was her family and friends but her continuous struggle and dedication to her work brought her a huge success after she exhibited her work for the very first time. She was supported by her family and friends who advertised enthusiastically for her.
Every entrepreneur, I am sure, starts with the motive of expanding their business and the same was the case with Sheikh. She worked strategically in expanding her work, as she reached out to various carpenters and people who could directly assist her, thus growing her business immensely. Today, she works with a staff of 40 individuals, who are all experts in the art of furniture making, upholstery, polishing and painting.

She started with furniture, which is a requirement of every household, office, guest house and any other room you can think of. Like jewelry for a woman, classic furniture helps in accentuating the beauty of a room, and Sheikh’s designs are evidence that she understands this point. With her dedication and beautiful designs she has built a clientele that loves her work.

She feels that the media can play a very important role in the success and promotion of any business and that proper publicity and networking through social networks helps and benefits greatly. She also feels that her business has been successful because of the rapid construction in Pakistan and around the globe. Countries like Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, and Middle East, particularly, are easy to access markets for Pakistani businesses.

The woman who motivated Sheikh to start her own business, her mother, is her greatest inspiration. She has supported Sheikh in every step from inspiring her to join the Women’s Chamber of Commerce to funding her in order to establish her business.

Manhaz strongly stresses on the need to be dedicated towards your work, to love what you are doing and never give up. It is significant, she notes, for entrepreneurs to participate in national and international exhibition and trade affairs. One can learn and benefit a lot from them and one must never give up on their dream and keep struggling because,

A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”

-Colin Powell.

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