Shipped Our First Shoe to India

I am sharing a glimpse of what is happening around HOMETOWN.

This is what’s keeping me away from blogging too.

HOMETOWN started without any formal office, we used KFC as workplace. As they had power all the day and let us sit.

Three days back, we shipped our first shoes to India. Randhir, our customer took the risk of ordering shoes from Pakistan. It is not conventional to ship something from Pakistan to India, because of the political tension between both Governments.

It was a moment of trust for him. I am proud and humbled to say the trust is well placed.

Customers Testimonials

Learning from Childhood

We often recall our childhood period as most beautiful days of life.

I recently learned a very powerful yet often unknown reason which makes being a child so cool. The acceptance of not knowing most of the things.

I am a child, I openly admit that I do not know it already mostly. So I would not hesitate to ask anyone. I wouldn’t be afraid to try. I would stay open to change my opinion, if I would learn something. I would be happy to tell other that this is what I recently learned. I wouldn’t feel bad, if I say, “I don’t know answer to this question.”

In short, realization of not knowing most of the thing. And then a confident mindset to learn, to change opinion, to change the way I see life, to change the way I treat my family, neighbor  pet, and especially myself. These are such awesome things.

When this thought came to mind, it put a question before me. Can I again accept the reality that I do not understand most of the things in life, so I should learn. It would made this time of life sweater. And very importantly it’ll help us grow up, which seems to become very difficult today.

Related Posts:
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– Did You Know? Why You Visit My Blog?

HOMETOWN is Growing Fast and Becoming Better Each Day

We can wait for few days, for big news to come and then we’ll share them with people we care, and who care back. This is what I have been thinking, and taking a little break from writing and then 3 solid months pass by.

Yesterday, I wrote this letter to the community around HOMETOWN.

Hey friend,

I believe life is treating you well, and you are doing good in health and happiness.

Here at HOMETOWN, we’re going through the most exciting time of our life. I mean it, please give 3-5 min to read this email. I’ve tried to make it worth.

1. WON Pakistan’s First Startup Incubation Program
Yes, next month we are shifting to our new office. Out of 500+ startups, HOMETOWN made it to the top position among 4 winners. We’re very thrilled about this opportunity.
2. Now Accepts PayPal and Major Credit Cards

I can not thank enough to our customers like yours, who took out the time and paid us through Western Union. That’s what makes you our friend. We’re improving how we sell, communicate and all. So it comes as a good news that we’ve setup PayPal & Credit Cards as our payments gateway.

3. HOMETOWN featured as “Innovation Hero”

Provincial Govt of Punjab, and Google Inc, launched Innovation Campaign in Punjab, Pakistan. In there, they featured inspiring businesses and individual as ‘Innovation Hero.’ We’re so  honored to be among the 5 heroes. Here is the complete story.

4. Customers’Stories
This is best. Every morning, we get up for two main reasons. 1) Are we establishing an honest and trustworthy connection with our customers? 2) Are we really growing?

Both of the reasons are equally important to us, let me tell you small stories.

Bill from Singapore, bought a Chappal from us to gift to his father-in-law. Now that is very exciting.

Tahreem from KSA, ordered for beSpoke shoes to wear on his wedding day. Later on, he asked that if we could add a different buckle with shoes. I said, why not! But then, I said, wait a little and we make another pair for you with different buckle and you keep both shoes with you. He asked, can I get brown colour instead of black, as I already have a black now. I said, all done!

You can read Tahreem’s comment on our customers’ testimonial page.

5. Borrow Books from HOMETOWN
I love books, and especially remarkable books. At HOMETOWN, we have initiated this activity, we let our friends in Lahore borrow books from us, read and then return back. More detail here.
6. Better Address
In addition to hometownshoes.com, you can now access us by any of the following URL

All this is made possible because you guys trust us, trust a lot. It encourages us to work more harder and in a smarter yet humble way.

Life is treating us better each day, now our parents ask about in which countries we’re shipping our shoes and who’s the customer. It is very beautiful, to be in all this.
Please tell me if there is any way, I and my team can interact with you in a better way. We are learning, and doing.
I appreciate your time to read this, and feel this. Thank you.

Sincerely yours,

HOMETOWN — Just Launched My Startup!

There comes a time in life, when you prepare yourself for a big day. You have thought about this time for years. And now you finally made it in a series of events.

For some it is getting admission at a remarkable college, or marrying with right person, for some it could be buying the first shoes for their parents.

Here at Hometown I and my team are in the middle of such moment right now.

Launching HOMETOWN! Oh WOW! Our first collection includes, ready to wear men shoes, wallets and belts and a special Pakistani footwear, called Chappal.

So no matter who you are, what you wear (canvas trouser, jeans, kurta or anything in between), and in which part of the world you live. You can surely shop one thing or two, or just come over, see what we have been doing, tell us what we should. More, you can also get custom shoes just made for you.

HOMETOWN came into exist for two main reasons, I and my team wanted to play our best shot so far, and to make use of exceptional skills of our craftsmen.

We short-listed several products, tried to find what can be done, and what will work best. For example, we failed 24 times, to make one of our Chappal. And now when we see it, we feel like, you know how it feels.
They say, journey of one thousand miles start with one step, it can be short, or slow, but it is probablly the most important. We have taken it, you’ve taken it, if you are reading this post and I so believe together, we’ll learn how to live a better life and celebrate all what it has to offer.There is so much more to say, but I’ll let our products and service communicate that with you. Thank you so much for being with all the time, and if you have any thing to say, I force you to write in comments on Hometown Blog or here.

A plain wrong advice: Do What You Love

Do what you love. <= This is probably one of the most common advice entreprenuers give to one another. Like many others, I loved it too, and try to followed many times.

But now my point is changed over the time and after going through many experiences. I was wrong and so was this advice.

To get over to one’s favourite place/situation, we have to do many things which we would not prefer to do other way.

For example, if I have to travel from Basirpur to Lahore to do my favourite thing. But I can’t find a direct bus which normally takes 4 hours to reach there. So I would first go to any other place, from where I can find the bus for Lahore and it can take up to 10 hours. I shall hate to be in bus for 10 hours for a 4 hour travel. But I know it is worth doing, so I shall bear no matter what.

Entrepreneurs are easy to target for anything, mostly because they are always listening and noticing. And ‘Do What You Love’ comes as a fool’s paradise for beginners like me.

I have come to a result that, one should not be as much focused on doing what one always love or preffer. Instead, the destination should control your action.

If you want to build YOUR FAVORITE THING, you shall might have to do one or two or many THINGS YOU HATE.

And if you are someone who wants to make remarkable difference, you’ll surely have to face/do many things which you’ll hate doing otherwise. Makes sense?

PS. Earlier at the start of this year, I promised to myself that I shall not be fooled again by Gurus, so this post is part of the plan.

Related Post:

– What popular startup advice is plain wrong? (Quora.com)

What Makes Anyone A Hero (story)

This Monday afternoon, I was walking back from a bank where I had some work. On my way back, there were few cars parked on the service road (frontage road) when I heard the sound of breaking glass.

It was a guy, who broke the door glass of a parked car to get the laptop + bag out. While his friend was on motorcycle ready to leave any second. When the guy near car saw me turning back, he signaled me to go back. But I kept advancing carefully.

The guy felt nervous, left the laptop bag in the car, and escaped on the bike with his friend.

Now I had no idea, where is the car owner. As there were couple of big buildings around and he could be in any of them. I thought to wait and guard his valuable bag and other stuff in the car. Actually I was afraid those guys can come back to take the bag. I waited for 30 min till the owner came.

When I was waiting, the idea of stealing came into my mind too. One of the major reasons was, I badly want and need a laptop.

I have no laptop of my own, this one which I am using now is of my friend Sidra and she is so nice to give it to me. But yes she needs it back too.

It was not just the thought of stealing came into my mind. Then I said to myself, “This laptop is very valuable to the owner as well, and he needs it to work on it too. So honestly return this property back to whoever is the owner.”

It is so nice now to think about what I decided, I felt like a hero after this. In fact some of my friends said this too. But believe me, it is ain’t so easy. And at the same time, it ain’t so difficult.

Later that evening, I got many good words from my friend and a very encouraging phone call from mom. That is the best reward.

Here is the response to my Facebook status update:

Click on the screenshot to friend me on Facebook.

Let’s close it, so what makes us a hero.

1. I and you are always surrounded with the thoughts of being selfish and taking share of someone’ else. What matter is the patience, believing that earned is always better than the given.

2. If someone asks me, who is the most special person in the world. I would say that is me. Everyday I go against myself, to go with myself.

I am a hero!

Did you know you are a hero too?

 

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Want to Fix Problems? Learn or Find Learner

Making something from scratch ain’t easy, but it is never boring. I love working on Hometown.

But here is a problem/opportunity I am encountering every single day.

For the past 4 years I have been learning about internet tools, doing business and what not. Yes I was taking help from all the gurus, resources and my experience. So what is the problem?

Problem is very simple. All the problems I am facing are totally new for me, I have never encountered anything like that. I have never talked with VCs or worked on business plan.

And when I look back at what I learned. It doesn’t help very much, so every time to fix a problem I have to learn the solution. Thankfully I am proudly one of the best known learner I have ever met.

This girl is learning and solving a problem at the same time.

Got the point?

Time has been changing all the time, this time changes are faster. Everything has changed, and it’ll keep changing. So who can help you to address changes.

As we have talked earlier, a person with ‘15 years of experience‘ is not gonna help. Instead we need a learner, who can learn faster. Who is eager to learn from success, average results and from failure the most.

Take a deep breath. <– Please do it.

Give some thoughts to whom you are hiring, or going to work with. Is she a good learner.

Same idea applies in relationships. Thankfully no one is perfect, in the life, everyone of us faces new problems and challenges. For example, I shall have a a wife, and some kids. Some in-laws too. <– Every problem shall be new. I am ready. 😉

Best is the one who keeps learning. Rather than living life based on past experience.

I recently learned from Robin Dickinson, who said this:

The past is not the future.

OMG! It is not. It is not at all.

It is all good to live in present and more importantly looking into future.

I love being learner, and working with great learners.

Be a learner! Surround yourself with learners!

Why ’15 Years of Experience’ is a Big Scam

‘I applied at 18 different jobs in banks, but they all ask for 2+ years of experience. How the hell I can assure them that I have all what it takes to be for what I am applying for.’ <– Told a friend of mine, who was seeking for a job without any prior experience in bank industry.

What I want to say is this:

Many many times young people do not do something because they assume that, this work can only done by people with ‘15 years of experience‘ and newbie like us are not able to do it at all.

They unfollow their heart because of the initial hurdles which come in their way. Worse is that, we keep doing this. Even in our 70s.

I can not do this. <– Please make sure to say this after trying at least for 3 times with 3 different approaches.

15 Years of Experience is a tag, to keep creative people away and they do this to protect their jobs.

I think I have made my point, and it doesn’t need more words.

The idea of the post came into my mind, when I learned that my 24 old friend Bilal wants to design cars in next few years. He has no experience in designing cars, but he surely knows his passion “design.” Thankfully he is also helping us with the logo of Hometown, and I am amazed at what he has done so far.

This is probably the first time, he is doing and getting on his way to design cars. Incredible.

In the picture below is Max Wolff, the head designer for (Ford’s car) Lincoln, said, “Our goal is to make Lincoln look like nothing else that’s out there.”

The Ford guys knew that this 38 years guy will bring something which 58 can not.

I wish the very very best luck to my friend Bilal, who wants to do this before his 30 and to everyone of you who is not afraid of the tag ’15 years of experience’

Very related post:
Gen-Y Can Help You Re-invent Your Business

Your Mother is Teacher, Not Mine (True Story)

2003, I was invited to the home of my class fellow. I went to help him with exams, and during at his home.

To tell you the truth, people in my part of the world. Keep women covered and let them meet only with close relatives.

I somehow saw his mother. I excitingly asked him, “If your mother is teacher too.” (I was excited because my mother is a teacher and I’m very proud of her.)

He replied, “No, not at all. We do not let women do such (shameful) jobs.

28 years ago, when my mother was applying for her teaching job. Her younger brother complained to their mother, “So now Razia is going to be a teacher. People would say, look his sister is a teacher.”

Job of mother changed everything for our entire family. Also know, if she would not be teacher, I would be working at a factory or workshop without any formal education etc.

But instead, she changed my life. It changed everything.

Someone said it very truly:

If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a family (nation).

I promise to educate a nation (even if it would be small, it’s ok).

All this might come to you as surprise. But this is the real story of a real women.

Would you keep doing the good work, despite what other people say?

It is also true:

People don’t say very much, but we intentionally hear a lot about our fears.

Would you still be teacher no matter how many people discourage you? Would you still be changing lives? If you are afraid of doing something, please write your fears. Then see what happens.

My mom and my brother, at an event I organized. She doesn't understand English as much, but she came to encouraged me. Isn't she amazing person?

She is truly the first one in our family to cross the river. Now gladly, I’m crossing many too.

Rest is said in this video, It Only Takes A Girl, watch it.

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