My name is Saklain Kawos and I am a Commerce pass out from Islamia College of Science & Commerce. With lack of avenues in Kashmir, I moved to Delhi after my graduation for work. I started my career with few call centers and later did my MBA from Symbiosis in HR stream, post which I started working in Bharti Airtel in Gurgaon. It was at this time that my father,after his retirement from Police Services, started growing lavender as a hobby. As I was out, I had no idea what this was, but started learning about it through the Internet. In Summer 2011, I had to move back to Kashmir because of some personal reasons.
When I came back, I searched for jobs in Kashmir which I never got. At that time I got an order for Lavender dry flower through a Facebook Page which I had created to promote my dad’s hobby. That was the start of my career. At that time, I managed to send Lavender dry flower to one my clients outside Kashmir and while sending it I realized there is something called TIN number ( sales tax registration ) which you need to export & import products to Kashmir. For that, you need to have an office. Our building in Polo view was closed for around 45 years. I started a small portion of it in April 2012 by the name Saklain’s Coterie. The only reason at that time was to have an office for Sales Tax Registration. I started keeping few sample bottles of lavender at Coterie but no one used to step in and people around mostly used to discourage and demotivate me by saying that it was kept in urine testing bottles (& I am being honest about it!). Then few of my friends suggested me to keep dry fruit so that people can step in and then I can convince them to buy the oil. It was all destined and I followed what they said.
It worked for me and I started educating people about it through banners at my store and distributing pamphlets. Initially, I was all motivated with the idea of lavender but in a few months I realized that I am not earning much out of it as people in Kashmir are not aware of essential oils. It was on my mind either to change the business or go back to Delhi for a job but exactly after completing a year, my name featured in BBC GoodFood for the best oils in Kashmir. This motivated and encouraged me a lot and I multiplied since then. Since I was in the best market of Kashmir, I started getting well educated and elite customers to my store. They taught me a lot as in adding more oils like rosemary, almond, walnut and cosmetics from essential oils. And since then, I am learning and implementing it.
I had always wanted to get into my own business. But my father is a Retired Police Officer & Mom a Retired Teacher, so there was no guidance or experience from my family about business. But as I mentioned it was destined so here I am into my own work. My family was and is all supportive in whatever I did. Initially, they were the ones who always motivated me to stick to my dream and slowly it is working for me. In a span of 4 years our brand has featured in BBC GoodFood, Conde Nast traveller, Jet Wings, The Tribune,Business Standard, The Indian Express & few dailies like Greater Kashmir,Rising Kashmir, Kashmir Times and few online papers. So I would say it is a proud moment for me and my family.
I firmly believe that Saklain’s Coterie does not have any magic wand. We believe in quality & customer service. Our strength is in the standard of our quality and commitment. Now people in Kashmir are also getting aware & educated about essential oils and it is working for us. We are happy & satisfied with what we are doing and everyday we are trying to multiply it. Right now, we have one store in Kashmir and we are supplying our stuff to few major retail outlets in Kashmir itself. Our clientele includes hotels, guest houses and house boats. We wish to tap outside market majorly and create employment for more than 2000 people in Kashmir. Wish to see our name and brand on every nook & corner in the country.
To all the young Kashmiri people out there who want to follow their dreams but are unable to pursue them, I would like to say that the rarest thing these days in Honesty. If someone really wants to pursue this work and with honesty, I am sure no one can stop them. I have full faith in Allah and my parents. If you really want to do something with good intentions people do support you. Especially parents are always supportive if you convince them with good work and good examples. THE KEY IS TO BE HONEST & HAVE GOOD INTENTIONS IN WHATEVER YOU DO. Rest everything falls in place.
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