Published: 11th March 2020
This woman entrepreneur in Odisha is turning traditional handicrafts into corporate gifts
In need of a thoughtful gift? Why don't you drop by Lovely Obsessionz in Patia, Bhubaneswar and take your pick? It was set up by wife-husband duo and is doing very well in the circles right now
When Nazia Ali and her husband Zahid Akhtar started their humble store Lovely ObsessionZ in Bhubaneswar, little did they know that not only will this take off as a handicrafts and custom gifts start-up, but will also bring them a hefty revenue in an industry that is swiftly moving online. To really understand which turn of events led to this destination, we need to go back to the very beginning.
Nazia was born in Rourkela and she pursued Arts from DAV Women's College in Rourkela
In 2014, the duo shifted back to Odisha, their home state, from New Delhi and they chose Bhubaneswar to begn a venture. "We wanted to start something on our own," says Nazia. They took up a small shop at Damana Square and started offering gifting products, home decor and more. After shifting to Patia in 2015, they realised that they needed to change more than just their location. "The Chinese gifting options flooding the market was just overwhelming. Something had to be done," she shares.
Nazia with her son and husband | (Pic: Lovely ObsessionZ)
They came up with a simple solution — they shook hands with artisans, who were already approaching them, to stock up their handmade products in their store. But it was not just about this as they also ventured into corporate gifting. "In a way, we were doing our bit to promote the artisans of the state," says the 37-year-old. It was an exhibition held at WTC Bhubaneswar where things really took off. Today, they have provided gifts for corporates like Adani Group, Indian Oil Corporation and other companies.
Currently, their revenue is about Rs 1 lakh a month
"Right from Rs 200, several products of varying costs are available with us," says Nazia. They stock up on pattachitra and dhokra art, terracotta or ceramic pots and so much more. They even offer t-shirt and mug painting and are going to offer homemade cakes and chocolates soon. "Plans are also to launch an e-commerce website," she says. They want to even offer their products as souvenirs at tourist shops, set-up more stores and expand to more states beyond Odisha — sky is the limit.
Some of the products on display | (Pic: Lovely ObsessionZ)
But success did not come easy for this women entrepreneur. "When I used to approach offices, they weren't even ready to listen to me. We had to prove it to them with our work that we are capable," says Nazia who won the Best Women Entrepreneur Award from the Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) department in January this year. "The market here is still not aware of corporate gifting culture and we are grappling with challenges like these. But we are holding on to our positive outlook. We have a goal and we are going to chase it," she shares.
They got their first break in the year 2017 and currently, they have about four clients
So when you are in need of a customised gift or a gift that might even help artisans, drop by Lovely Obsessionz situated right beside BOCCA Cafe and take your pick. You might even bump into the phenomenal woman herself.