“It was a bold decision to drop out of university and start my own business, that too when I had no specialised training in the field, but I did my best to convince my father. It took an entire year to convince my parents to support me,” said Waiz.
Fortunately, Waiz had a head-start early on in his career when he started working with his uncle, Naveed Alam, who was already well-placed in the garment industry in Mansehra District, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. For the first two years, Waiz helped his Uncle get good quality garment material from Karachi. Soon after, relying on a small loan from his father to fund the initial purchase, he started producing clothing material on his own. With some initial investment, he set out to create women’s garments and soon shifted to manufacturing and selling children’ garments. He was not, however, able to make much of a profit at the time.
“My Uncle and I sat together and tried to find out where we had gone wrong. It was clear that our business lacked certain essential skills which were required for business planning and garment production. I asked my father to give us three months to improve upon our weaknesses,” said Waiz.
In 2017, Waiz temporarily shut down his factory and enrolled himself for a training programme at the Institute of Advancing Career and Talents, Karachi. Shortly after that, he started receiving training in basic dressmaking and industrial stitching. Despite his father’s concerns for Waiz’s future, he supported him until the very end.
The United Nations Development Programme supported training programme helped Waiz develop skills and guided him with the planning process that would help his business grow. Referring to the guest speakers at the training session, he said, “after meeting successful entrepreneurs who had made their mark in the garments industry, I was deeply encouraged and motivated.”
“We Create What You Dream” was the maxim of A. Creation when it re-opened in June 2018. Since then, the business has experienced steady growth in income. Within a few months, Waiz was able to regain his father’s trust, and his family started believing in his skills that would help him run a business. “I have a strong labour force. In addition to producing Kids Wear for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa markets, we have now also expanded our business to Karachi. I can now say that my business can become very successful in the future,” says Waiz. He has also taken on the task of measuring quality assurance to ensure all products are fit for purpose.
The USAID and UNDP supported Youth employment project in Karachi lent Waiz the support to learn from his mistakes and trained him to re-enter the garment business with full force. Waiz is now on his way to fulfilling his dreams.