Hi! Tell us about yourself.
I am Anum Zehra M. Merchant, MBA Gold Medalist from SZABIST, working as an HR Professional at an Oil and Gas company.
In addition to my full time job, I also run a Facebook Group “SheViews”, which was founded in December 2016 with the motive to encourage, support, help, educate, promote and empower women to reach their potential and achieve their goals and dreams.
How did you come up with the idea of SheViews?
Initially, when this whole buying and selling groups began, I also jumped on the bandwagon and used to order online a lot. To my disappointment, majority of the products were not what it appeared to be on the screen/advertisement.
Then I realized there was not a single platform where reliable products were getting endorsed for authenticity.
I deeply felt this vacuum and formed SheViews where I started to pen down my own experiences, through product reviews.
Later as we grew, I also noticed that we need to support women empowerment, providing them with a platform, where they can seek help to grow and get the support they need to establish a business from home as an entrepreneur, to acknowledge and appreciate their work.
What was your motivation behind this venture?
I wanted to share my first hand experiences with people so that they don’t go through the same hassle as I had been.
We provide opinions and ideas that are cent percent honest. We believe in constructive critisicm. Sugar coating is totally not our thing- I don’t want to put forward any product review that isn’t true.
If I don’t like something for myself, how can I recommend it to my SheViews Family?
“SheViews was born with a motto of “Lets collaborate and not compete with each other, to achieve our dreams”
Also, I had always felt that women need support, especially of other women, may it be moral, emotional or any sort of help which may push them to overcome the hurdles and move forward to achieve their goals.
It’s sad to see women letting other women down and doesn’t want to see them succeed.
Any challenges that you faced that proved to be an obstacle?
When you are a new entrant, people don’t take you seriously. They have all sorts of doubts and are hesitant. However with time, I have proved myself. Product review is something I do with passion.
Tell us about your Shepreneur awards
Shepreneur Awards, is the first of its kind in Pakistan for women entrepreneurs where women entrepreneurs’ work is celebrated.
We held an event, where the winners were given shields and an opportunity to have a talk with Sidra Iqbal (Broadcast Journalist and Life & Business Strategist). Moreover, our guest of Honor was Madiha Siddiqui, who is a Disability Movement Activist.
It was through a competition on our page, where all the women entrepreneurs were encouraged to participate. The response was overwhelming and all the group members were blown away by the stories of the participants. We had to choose one winner, through voting in our group, but ended up with three of them because they all were neck to neck.
Is it hard being a woman with an idea to accomplish?
Not really. If your intentions are pure and you have the urge to do something, you really can push the boundaries.
Nonetheless, you need to have the right kind of support – if your family and friends are your pillar of strength, there is no looking back and you can achieve the impossible.
Any advice for those who have ideas as great as yours?
Believe in yourself and buckle down to achieve your wildest dreams. SheViews is always there to help you explore all avenues.
How do you manage work life balance?
Honestly, It’s a tough job to work 9 to 5 , run a Facebook group with long term motives and to give time to your family. I’m trying my best to dedicate my time reasonably for each of these segments of my life. Work life balance is important to be productive and loyal towards your responsibilities, but then there are days when you are struggling and one of these take charge over the other.