Kozhikode: Roaming around the streets of the Pink city of Jaipur with her friends in 2018, Sajna did not think of starting a business.
She bought a layer of jasper beads from Jaipur: she loved the colour tones. Little did she know back then, these stones would become the seeds for a life changing business venture for herself and her sister.
From a bracelet made out of the blue toned Jasper to the fast growing online business of artificial jewellery, the two sisters tell the story of their venture - Kaya Online - now a symbol of hard work and professionalism of two youths.
Sajna P Nazer and Shabna P Nazer are from suburban Kozhikode's Mathottam, near Beypore. They live with their mother Beevi Jaan and grandma Pathai.
After their father passed away decades ago, the girls were supported by their mother and grandma.
Sajna graduated from Delhi as an aviation engineer and worked as a business development manager in a logistic firm in Kozhikode.
Shabna completed her post graduation in Mass Communication and Journalism from Thunchath Ezhuthachan Malayalam University at Tirur and worked at a prestigious media company.
Theirs was a ladies only family until Shabna got married to Shibily Hisham, a lawyer by profession, a couple of years ago.
Beevi Jaan used to make beaded jewellery occasionally as a leisure time activity. Inspired by their mother's craft, Sajna and Shabna created two bracelets with the jasper stones from Jaipur. The idea took shape just then; Sajna went back to Jaipur with a friend and purchased more stones and beads.
Then the duo crafted a few more bracelets and necklaces with the help of Youtube videos. These were displayed at exhibitions in Kozhikode; a few were sold among their friends.
Gradually the duo started to post product information in social media accounts; orders were delivered by post. Noticing the increasing demand for their jewellery, they created a page 'Kaya Online' and started product delivery by courier services.
Their online business flourished during COVID unlike many other ventures: "COVID was a breakthrough for us," explained Sajna.
"More and more people started purchasing the jewellery online, paying through digital mode during the pandemic...This was a blessing for us," she recalled.
Leaving day jobs for passion
The increasing demand and wide acceptance for their products among online customers, gave the sisters the confidence to leave their jobs in 2021, rent an office space in the city and appoint more staff. Now they have 11 staff members; they are outsourcing technical assistance engaging professionals outside Kerala for online business, marketing and advertising.
At present, Kaya is a well known online artificial jewellery outlet - www.kayaonline.in - with their own pages and stores in Amazon and Flipkart. There is an App too. They have pages in Facebook and Instagram. The firm hires popular TV/film artists and models to promote their products as well.
'We are steadily growing, from 'direct marketing' among our friends to a popular online business platform, thanks to our hard work and professional approach. We always seek support from professionals in each area, as we are experienced only in our craft," Shabna told Onmanorama.
Cautiously moving forward
'We are very cautious in each of our steps. Shabna left her job only after ensuring the venture could afford her wages. Two months later, I left my job, when a monthly payout was possible," said Sajna. In 2021 their venture was registered as per the company act.
Kaya makes a variety of artificial jewellery: bangles, long chains, studs, anklets, necklaces, bracelets and so forth in traditional and modern designs. Wedding collections are available as well. Most of them are custom-made by artisans in Rajasthan and Mumbai.
Shabna and Sajna are well researched in jewellery and market demand. "We are getting 150 to 200 orders daily. Earlier they sought the help of Kudumbasree members to meet the demand during a busy season. During Pongal, Onam and Deepavali, the demand rises. We would be quite busy during these festivals," added Shabna.
That said, Sajna did not remain an engineer nor Shabna a journalist. But they are proud to say, "we are successful entrepreneurs." Beevi and Pathai are relieved and proud to see their successful journey.