Peshawar has been hit hard in recent years by violent acts of terrorism. It was when residents were leaving the city in hordes and the business sector was at a standstill that Syedo Neelma Shah and her friend cum business partner Rabbiya Riaz decided to do something. “We had no idea this would be successful, we just wanted to divert our focus from the pain around us,” says Nee!ma.
Echo, a symbol of beauty and feminism in Greek mythology, was launched to engage women and merge their skills with creativity. Unveiled at a university exhibition, Echo offers handmade jewellery, handbags, ready to wear clothing, customised casual and formal dresses. Using social media marketing, the women started Echo online before opening in a mall or shopping centre. It has done well because of their use of creative embellishment and competitive prices.
“To meet our deadlines we have to go out and work on days when there are blasts in the city and businesses are shut. It can be frightening, but meeting our commitments is important and so far our customers are happy with us,” says NeeImo.
“Our emphasis is on making our clients look and feel good. Good apparel is one thing that gives a person confidence in themselves and Echo works to transform styles with new looks.”