Srinagar, Sep 30: When 25-year-old Akhter Shoda visited Chandigarh to find a job, he realized that his destiny lies somewhere else. He came back to Kashmir and started his own venture.
The young entrepreneur from Shamsipora area of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district established ‘Star Homes’- an interior designing company.
It all started from an interior designing shop in Anantnag, which was later converted into a full-fledged company in the year 2019.
The founder of the company, Akhter Shoda, told Rising Kashmir that the crux of ‘Star Homes’ lies in creating something creative from an ordinary space with unique ideas.
He says that they are providing a complete solution to residential and corporate interior designing.
Over the past three years, the company has completed more than 60-65 projects mostly in south Kashmir, Akhtar says.
"We started initially with interior designing in a small shop and now it has been upgraded to a well-established company having franchises in several districts. Presently we are also managing the entire project of houses in various parts of the Valley," he adds.
Akhtar says that when he joined the business, people were very skeptical about him and his business project. The reason was the venture being unconventional in the entire valley, he recalls.
"But we are getting a good response. We are not catering to elite customers only but to common people as well. Every customer is welcomed here," he says.
He says from interior designing to building an entire house, they complete their projects under a team supervision to ensure smooth execution of works and better quality.
"The projects related to houses range from approximately Rs 10 lakh to 5-7 crores. While a normal house can be completed in between Rs 10-15 lakhs with a lifetime warranty over the material," the entrepreneur said.
The 25-year-old says the best thing they provide to their customers is a lifetime warranty on the material. “If there will be any problem with any material, we will replace that within no time without any extra charges.”
The young entrepreneur has completed his schooling at a local school. During the same time, both of his parents died. He was yet to come out of the grief when his family confronted a financial crunch.
"Our family went into complete distress. The death of the parents, financial crunch came at a time when all the siblings were still in school. This shook the family including me," he says.
Struggling to deal with the compulsions of his life, Akhter worked hard to make both ends meet. To make himself and the family financially secure, he went to work in different places and did odd jobs.
"In between, I also worked in Chandigarh, where my mental horizons widened. It was a turning point in my life. This is where I decided to start working on my own business and give practical shape to my aspirations, Akthar says.
Upon returning from Chandigarh, he established his venture at KP road Anantnag. Presently 18-20 persons work at the company's head office while nearly a dozen people work in each new franchise in Kokernag, Kulgam, and Srinagar.
Presently his siblings are the core team behind the success of the company- Mohammad Ashraf Shoda, Zahoor Ahmad Shoda, Zubair, and Akthar Shoda, who is looking after the company.
He says they have opened two more franchises, one at Kokernag and the other in Srinagar while work is under process in Kulgam. This all is the result of two years of aggressive and dedicated teamwork, he adds. "Our priority is customer satisfaction.”
He says for the past year, they are working hard. “We have covered entire housing projects in Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama, and Baramulla.”
"Around 50 percent of the projects were completed in south Kashmir and among them the biggest project in Khadi Banihal, which was approximately touching Rs 52 lakh. It was a successful project," he says.
The young entrepreneur says struggles are everywhere but it is a commitment that determines the work.
About his future plans, he says the company will be inaugurating its two new franchises in Kulgam and Srinagar by the end of October.