As we make our way inside TCF’s Cowasjee Campus, we spot Fizza Naz sharing a lighthearted moment with her ex-Principal in her office. Once engaged in conversation, Fizza portrays the sort of youthful exuberance one would expect from a young girl. However, as she recounts her stories from school and shares ideas for her small business, the eighteen year old instantly bowls you over with her maturity and clarity of purpose.
Fizza completed her Matriculation from TCF’s Cowasjee Campus in 2015 and is now pursuing her Intermediate from the Government College of Commerce & Economics. She lives with her parents and four siblings in Nayabad, Lyari, close to the school she once attended. Walking down the dusty, winding lanes from Cowasjee Campus to Fizza’s home, one soon encounters the area’s main marketplace, with vendors displaying their wares on push carts and makeshift stalls on either side of the road. Fizza’s father, the 38 year old Muhammad Saleem, works as a butcher in the same market every day.
Quite unlike her peers, Fizza always demonstrated a keen inclination towards charting her own course. Growing up in an entreprenerial family, she had closely observed her aunts operate their beauty salons, which in turn spiked her interest in the trade. Her story of enterprise begins at home, where she first started her services as the neighbourhood beautician, five years ago, and started seeing ladies from the neighbourhood every day after coming back from school. She set up an area within her living room with an elaborate dressing table and two hairdresser’s chairs. Speaking about her journey so far, she first acknowledges her father: ‘My father is truly a role model for me. He has never held me back just because I’m a girl. In fact, he has always encouraged me to excel and pursue my goals,’ informs Fizza, as she serves us tea and biscuits. Indeed, her father along with her supportive teachers and Principal at school have been instrumental in encouraging and empowering her to initiate and gradually expand her venture. Receiving an excellent response from the community, Fizza was now eager to further grow her business. Almost on cue, earlier this year, Muhammad Saleem surprised his daughter with the best gift she could ask for: a shop, which Fizza could now use to expand her salon.
Accompanied by Fizza and her father, we now make our way to her new shop. Upon entering one immediately notices that it’s a labour of love. The attention to detail and focus on customer experience are clearly visible through the design and layout of the space. Fizza herself assumes a different character inside here: she walks in with a sense of pride, confidently showing us around and excusing herself when a customer walks in.
Fizza has now trained and hired two other girls to assist her at the salon while she attends college in the morning, returning to take charge in the afternoon. All daily transactions are meticulously recorded and accounted for each day before closing. At the end of every month, Fizza hands over the monthly earnings to her mother who then combines it with her husband’s earnings and prepares the household budget. She strongly holds that she has managed to come this far only because of her education and the support she received from her mentors. Always remaining top of her class, she was a star student for her teachers and principals, who were always willing to guide and give direction. ‘Running a business is obviously not easy, especially when you are going to college too. Managing customers, employees and finances takes knowledge and skills which I would not have acquired without my education. I now intend to grow my venture over the next few years and also do my Chartered Accountants (CA) course’, says Fizza.