Making her Mark as a Businesswoman

  • Sabiya Hamid
  • Publish Date: Dec 6 2017 10:29PM
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  • Updated Date: Dec 6 2017 10:29PM
Making her Mark as a Businesswoman

After her father’s death, Syhat Ashraf Shah took over the reins of her family business. Today she successfully runs a Kashmir art showroom


Syhat Ashraf Shah, 29, is enthusiastic and proud owner of a flourishing business of Kashmir art which is mostly male-dominated in Kashmir.

 Hailing from Ahmed Nagar area of Srinagar, Syhat is the third child among her five younger siblings. She supported her mother and took over the reins of business at a young age. She showed interest in the business even before her father’s untimely death. Her father always supported her to venture in the field.

“The decision was not supported by our near ones and any of my relatives as they thought that the girls cannot do with this business as they have to deal mostly with males,” she says. "But I wanted to prove them wrong."

Her father, Muhammad Ashraf Shah, despite his disabilities and poor health, had set up the Kashmir art showroom, M A Shah, but it was little known then.

Today, with the efforts put in by Syhat, M A Shah showroom is one of the well known showrooms in the Cheshma Shahi area. It mostly remains packed with tourists.

When her father died in 2015, and her brother was too young to look after the family and his father’s business, she took over the responsibility of running the showroom. Initially Syhat had to face a lot of difficulties but she endured throughout and today she is a successful entrepreneur.

“We used to face huge financial problems in the past,” recalls Syhat, dressed in a simple Shawlar Kameez and Hijab as she attends to her customers in the showroom.

“The Kashmir art business is mostly run here by males but I got a good response when I interacted with customers,” says Syhat who is well qualified, having done her M.Sc. and M.Ed.

She started her business by targeting local customers. “My showroom is frequented by many customers as our products are prepared with dedication and honesty,” says Syhat, adding that the business flourished with time and her clientele grew. Customers from outside the state and abroad also showed interest.

“Customers who come to my showroom are impressed with my art of business. This is the reason of my wide customer base,” she says. “I deal mostly with females as they feel more comfortable with me and I have a quick face-reading art of customers which my father used to teach me.”  

The customers who frequent the showroom are all praise for her. “Syhat made us realize how it feels to be independent woman and we want every girl from our society to follow her footsteps,” says a lady customer in her showroom.

Syhat believes everyone has a right to be independent. She always encourages younger girls to pursue their dreams. She is also guiding her younger brother in the business.

Apart from having many customers from outside the state, she also has customers abroad, including the gulf where she takes part in exhibitions.

“We have marketed our products within the State and already made business market in Rajasthan where Director Tourism Rajasthan also appreciated me,” she says.

She says they export their products to reputed stores in Dubai, Malaysia, London, and also to many other countries in Asia via internet. “My clients now place orders through emails from different parts of the world,” she says.

 “One can be successful when family support is there,” she says, adding that she always feels the absence of her father. “I want to carry forward the dreams of my father.”