Good food is a blessing, that’s a universal fun fact. University food is usually super boring, that’s a universal not-so-fun fact. But things at IBA are a little different thanks to this AMAZING girl who is nothing but a superhero.
Say hi to Maryam Altaf. She’s a Social Sciences and Liberal Arts junior at IBA, who also happens to be an absolute foodie.
She loves to cook and bake, and it’s something that has been passed down the family from both of her parents’ side:
“My grandmothers were amazing cooks, so is my mom, dad, my (maternal) uncle, and many others in the family. Brownies were the first thing I ever baked probably when I was 11 or 12, been cooking and baking ever since. “
She took a gap year before university during which she co-founded her start-up, The H&M Cuisine. Regarding the entire idea, she told us:
“It initially started off as a very small business that catered to immediate friends and family only, as time went by, it started gaining momentum. With the help of social media and word of mouth our dream business started to grow and flourish.”
Bringing homemade food to IBA was something that was never in the cards for her, and all of it began when she started bringing it for her friends, who later suggested that she should start selling it to other students on campus. And voila!
Maryam’s venture has been a big hit, and her customers are growing. Talking about how she handles cooking with her academics she said:
“Since the very beginning I have loved challenging myself so I take this on as one too. The key is to be able to give almost equal time to both, if I work on H&M early morning, the rest of the day is spent in university, the evening is reserved for some family time and H&M work, while I burn the midnight oil to catch up on course readings and assignments. One thing I do during hourly weeks and a little before the finals is stop operations at IBA as I cannot afford to neglect my studies at all.”
Every business though, of course, has a lot of hurdles in the way, and Maryam told us:
“The fact that I have to distribute time equally among the business, academics, family and social life to name a few things can get a bit tricky at times, but neglecting one because of the other is not something that I like. There were initially no problems on campus but when the number of orders started growing there were problems like that of the storage on campus considering the weather in Karachi and such factors, but eventually things worked out as I got associated with the Center for Entrepreneurship Development at IBA.”
Personally, H&M helped Maryam to grow a lot and discover new opportunities, and learnt how to take her business to a bigger level thanks to all the love and support she’s gotten from the students on campus.
In the end, Maryam had some amazing advice for people who are struggling with new ideas and want to do something big in the world:
For everyone out there with a dream I urge you to follow it. Yes, there will be difficulties and problems that come your way in the beginning, but you can not construct a building without a strong foundation. In order to run a successful business you have to take the first step no matter how risky it is. You may fail but do not lose hope because of one downfall. Picking yourself up after falling down and coming back stronger is what really matters. We definitely do learn from our mistakes, failing is something that should be seen as something positive to learn from and not something shameful. Because at the end of the day practice makes perfect! Just have complete faith in yourself and your ideas, do not lose hope no matter what! A positive attitude towards life can take you places!”
Thank you Maryam for bringing absolutely amazing food to campus, and for making all of the students’ worries of the day go away. You rock!