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After my marriage in April, 1996, I came to Dallas, USA, to join my husband who was struggling to get into the computer world of software engineering. After being blessed with three kids (a daughter and two sons), I had plenty of time to think and plan about my future life path. It was a testing time for me as for the first time I was away from my parents and sisters and brother with whom I had grown up in a rather protected environment.

I had earlier earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Home Economics from my hometown, Islamabad (Pakistan). All kinds of jewelry had fascinated me right from my childhood. I often found myself looking into the mirror and trying my mother’s earrings and other pieces of jewelry. While one of my sisters wanted me to play cricket with her, I preferred to beautify my dolls and adorn them with pretty ornaments. My studies in Home Economics, I think, also provided me with a sound foundation to venture in this new field. This lurking wish was transformed into an enterprise when one fine morning I decided to launch an online platform ZHAKS for selling Indian, Turkish, African and Native ornamental pieces of jewelry procured with a lot of care from all over the world. During this period, I also explored different markets and trends from where jewelry could be procured with ease. It also involved knowing in detail import/export regulations, freight cost and host of other details concerning this business. Never once I got discouraged and my family was always there to support me. My religious leanings also helped me because in all religions including Islam, there is lot of emphasis on trading as a noble profession. In fact, Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him), was also married to a noble lady Khadija who had flourishing trade in Mecca. In fact, the Prophet was fair in his trade dealings so much so that the people had bestowed the title of Amin (one who can be trusted) on him. So in my business venture I always try to get inspiration from this illustrious role model of mankind.   

Back home in the Indian subcontinent jewelry had always occupied a very important place in the lives of women, be they be from the royal families with aristocratic backgrounds or from the commoners. I was specially intrigued to see the photographs of Mughal princesses bedecked with fine jewelry of dazzling craftsmanship. The greater the position in the society of the times, the more ornaments were attributed to the women of royal household. History is replete with many scandals and even stories of bloodshed for the custody of precious ornaments. Top of all is the fascinating story of glittering and precious stone Kohinoor, one of its kind in the world, which by deception and fraud was taken from India and now adorns the crown of the Queen of England!

I had read with fascination that from times immemorial people have exhibited limitless energy and creativity in the invention of ornaments that celebrate the human body. In ancient history there is mention of Nathe (Nose Ring), Haar (Necklace), Bangles (Wrist Ornaments) and so on. It is said that Cleopatra never parted with her ornaments. She even took a bath in jewelry! It is also stated that Queen Noor Jehan invented a bracelet and named it Jehangiri. This rich heritage inspired me further to initiate and concretize my romance with the glittering world of ornaments. I wanted from the beginning to share my love for ornaments with my sisters and friends in school and college. This is in keeping with my character and upbringing.

 During my frequent travels to Pakistan and other places I had instinctively explored the markets from where one could buy the finest pieces of jewelry; bracelets, necklaces, earrings, rings and a wide range of other ornamental products. For example, I always wanted a stay over in Istanbul as Turkish jewelry fascinated me. I find that Oriental jewelry is much more intricate and elaborate as compared to the Western patterns. Presumably it has something to do with religious and cultural background. My main concern has been to go for quality and affordability so that the jewelry which I sell is within the reach of average women. Decidedly it is not meant for the aristocratic and rich sections of the society who can afford to shop around for the most expensive pieces of fine jewelry. I also make it a point to introduce new products frequently so as to keep pace with the latest changes in fashion. At the same time, I would not like to ignore the traditional designs which have captivated the hearts of women for many years and which enrich our cultural heritage.

When Covid epidemic came with its devastating effects the world over, it also had a redeeming feature. It became a necessity and later even a fashion to work online from home. It saved lot of capital from investing in expensive display center and in a way boosted new struggling entrepreneurs to start their business ventures from their homes. I grabbed this opportunity with both hands.

While forming the company I had full support of my family and as such the initials of their names rightly constitute ZHAKS (Zain, Hana, Ahmed, Khalid and Saira) and is a tribute to a collective family effort. I must acknowledge that my husband and sons who are always in love with the wonderful world of computers helped me a lot in designing my web site and upgrading it.

I have dedicated one room in my house for displaying my products so that discerning clients who wish to come over, can select the items personally. Otherwise the products are shown on my website which is updated frequently. 

My suggestion to the upcoming entrepreneurs in this field would be to explore the possibility of introducing jewelry which is extraordinary, reliable and affordable. It should also be in keeping with the latest trends in fashion. With experience one can branch out in jewelry designing which is a fascinating and vast field with lot of potential. This is exactly what I would like to do in future. And it is achievable if one has passion and dedication. 

While in this business I often find myself asking as to the precise reason for which women all over the world simply love ornaments. This is an acknowledged fact that jewelry has always played an important role in human life for thousands of years. It has been said that jewelry provides security, wisdom, elegance and prosperity to women who wear it. Some women wear it as a symbol of feminity or to show case social status. But I think above all women wear their ornaments to look confident and beautiful.

Women also wear their fine jewelry while attending social functions such as weddings. Without their choicest ornaments, they would feel embarrassed. Come to think of inflationary trend these days, expensive jewelry can be a hedge against these inflationary trends and thus a good investment.

I know that women buy jewelry to look unique and different and to draw attention to their features. This obsession with jewelry is not new, it is ancient and has always remained trendy for ages. And I also know that women being romantic creatures, they love to have ornaments as a gift from their husbands and loved ones for sentimental reasons.  

Traditional fine jewelry, mostly of gold and silver, is an expensive affair for majority of people but women world over still like to look glamorous in resplendent jewelry. My products cater to a vast majority of this segment of customers. I am confident that in not too distant a future, ZHAKS will flourish and become a real jewel in the crown.

Nutritionist, Cornell University, MS I believe that nutrition science is a wonderful helper both for the preventive improvement of health and adjunctive therapy in treatment. My goal is to help people improve their health and well-being without torturing themselves with unnecessary dietary restrictions. I am a supporter of a healthy lifestyle – I play sports, cycle, and swim in the lake all year round. With my work, I have been featured in Vice, Country Living, Harrods magazine, Daily Telegraph, Grazia, Women's Health, and other media outlets.

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