Nida Ramzan Lone had wanted to be a businesswomen, even as a child growing up in Ashtingoo village in Bandipora district.
After completing her postgraduation in Information Technology, she did her year-long course in baking with the help of a non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Pune, Aseem Foundation, and returned to start her own bakery in Kashmir.
The 26-year old today runs ‘Kashir Mithas’, founded in 2017.
Lone’s cookies are unique in how it captures the valley’s unique flavours. Kashmir is famous for its apples, walnuts and other dry fruits, and those are what she uses to bake.
She always knew she would have to offer something unique to stand out in an already crowded market. So she took what was closest to home.
The cookies made in Kashmir are sold across India, in places such as Mumbai and Pune. “You get the essence of Kashmir while eating cookies,” she said.
One box of cookies contains 150 gram (10-12 Cookies) and costs Rs 65.
Everything was going good until the pandemic struck. Businesses across the world were affected and so was Lone’s fledgling one.
“But this didn’t stop me, I revived the business again after a year and everything is going fine,” said the young entrepreneur.
But why was she keen on starting something on her own? “A number of educated girls including boys in Kashmir get stuck at home, waiting for a government job,” she said, adding, “but there are a lot of opportunities to do business in Kashmir and people should explore it.”
She said that her husband and both their families are to be credited for her success. “When I shared my plans with them, they asked me once if I was sure that this is what I wanted to do. When I said yes, they supported me wholeheartedly,” she said.
Apart from them, she is grateful to Aseem Foundation, who helped Lone found her start-up. She is glad for the schemes the government has launched and plans to apply for assistance under Umeed soon, to expand her enterprise.