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Waqas Ali and Sidra Qasim are family friends from Okara. Today, they run a company known as Markhor, which produces handmade shoes and has a high end clientele in many parts of the world. The brand is named after an endangered animal, Markhor, which is Pakistan’s national emblem. The owners believe they are protecting a craft that is both iconic and endangered.

The idea of setting up this company came to Ali’s mind when he met Muhammad Hussain, a shoemaker in Okara. The shoemaker complained that they could hardly make both ends meet despite producing products of unmatchable quality.

Ali who was inspired by the power of the internet and social media thought that these mediums could be used to connect master artisans with those in the world who could really value their craft. So, he set up this platform and tried to minus the middlemen and reach the potential clients directly.

It took a few failed attempts to get the company orders from abroad, including from a top executive at Google. Ali was so determined and confident that he discontinued his studies and focused on this project. He would spend his college fees on establishing the brand, something that disturbed his parents who finally stopped funding him.

Ali shared the idea with Sidra and got her support. The brand, previously known as Hometown Shoes, manufactures customised leather shoes and sells them online at a premium price.

The craftsmen are also earning amounts many times more than they would earn earlier. These shoes are being sold for as high as Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 per pair. “The best part is that the owner tries to deliver them at the doorstep of the buyers,” says Uzair Shahid, Project Manager at Plan 9. “Ali has been the most enterprising individual that we have come across so far,” he says.

Markhor products are valued as all products and process involved are traceable. The CEO reaches the buyer with a personal note and the latter’s name inscribed on the product.
timberland boots brown leather Iconic and endangered