The story of an unconventional startup.
Two years ago, we saw something we didn’t like. We decided to change it. We tried. We stumbled. We tried again. What happened next?!? First, a quick recap.
About two years ago, we saw incredibly skilled artisans, practicing an 1800 years old art and craft, being exploited by manufacturers and producers in a small town called Okara in Punjab, Pakistan. They were daily wagers who were producing hand made shoes being sold at above market prices but the artisans weren’t taken care of, financially. They weren’t compensated according to their skill and hard work. Somedays their pay depended on how well their products did in the local market while some days they didn’t get paid at all. Many craftsmen left the handcrafted and handmade shoes business and joined local shoe factories producing lower quality shoes, thousands/day in search for better livelihood and compensation. The hand-skilled workforce slowly started to diminish. An 1800 year old art started to die. We saw that and decided to change it. “Hometown” was born.
First website of Hometown made using Google Sites.
We started with the vision of connecting our craftsmen and their products directly with their customers, you. Instead of making it for middlemen (sourcing agents), who profited heavily while paying the craftsmen only a few rupees/shoes, they’d be making it directly for…you. We started from a Facebook page, moved on to Google Sites and then made our own website. We hit a few roadblocks and made many mistakes.
We tried. We stumbled.
We learned from those mistakes and came back with a stronger conviction of going all the way this time, no matter what.
We tried again. “Markhor” was born.
What happened next?
Well, it’s September 24, 12:00am. It’s been almost 40 hours since we launched our campaign. We met our goal in less than 22 hours, met our first stretch goal of $25,000 in another 12 hours and as I’m typing this, the current number on my screen is $28,001. So I think I can say that things are going pretty good so far.
Once we met our goals, we published our stretch goals of $25K, $50K, $100K and $200K and what these goals will help us achieve. Details here.
We aren’t done yet. We’ll keep going till the end and raise as much as we can and help bring back a dying tradition, craft and art as much as we can. We’ve tried our best to set up the foundation and now we need your help. If you like what you see, back us. If not (we’ll try better next time, we promise), share the campaign, spread the word and help us save an 1800 years old craft.