Self aware and unafraid of making difficult decisions, Saher Qadir is a strong and determined young woman. She enrolled in Rhode Island School of Design as an architecture major however, she soon realised it was thwarting her creativity. “I found myself more attracted to designing furniture. There was something amazing about the creativity of that department and about the materials you can use to make things that were mind boggling. I wanted to get my hands dirty,” se explains. She ended up switching her major, which led her to starting her own furniture and interiors label, Esque, after graduating. “I make people’s dreams come true in terms of the interiors of their homes and so far it has been a very exciting ride.”
Yielding to her inspirations and making fabulous furniture pieces is a source of creative gratification for Saher but there are various challenges attached to this profession. “The people that I deal with are very skilful, but lack an educational background, which means they have no concept of time or deadlines, no sense of loyalty and sometimes are dishonest as well. She’s had people steal from her, trainees have disappeared on her, workers have run off with advances and polishers have mixed water with paints. Saher has to encounter these petty issues on a day to day basis, and their severity increases because she’s a woman. “I think male workers find it hard dealing with female bosses in our country and seriously lack work ethic. I was young and all my workers much older and it has taken me a couple of years to adjust the way I work with them. Now I know how to hire and when to fire. I only have one goal and that is to maintain exceptional quality of my products,” she says as a matter of fact.
The weakest moment for Saher came by when she lost her father, who was her pillar of strength. “For the first time I saw my mother worry about finances. Thankfully my brother and sister jumped in to help with the family business. That’s when I realised that I don’t want to be in a situation like that. I have seen women in amazing marriages getting divorced and picking themselves up from scratch. I would want to be able to support my children if and when I have any. I think the first and foremost thing for any woman to have is financial independence.” However, Saher has never felt the need to be emotionally independent. “The Pakistani society is great when it comes to emotional support. We have close knit families, cousins, siblings, parents and friends, someone or the other is always there to provide support,” she reaffirms.
As far as her advice for other young women like her who want to make something out of their lives she says “This society has set lots of boundaries and limitations for women. It’s hard for women to venture out and people try to stop you, but if you have a dream just make it a reality. Don’t let anything hold you back.” In today’s world, anything is possible. Technology has advanced, industries are booming, it sure seems like the best time to invest in your dreams, according to her. However, this young woman does know how to take her time off from the frenzy of work - whether it’s getting a massage, going on a spontaneous vacation or simply cake binging, once in a while she will switch off and unwind.
Miracle Woman, Saher has been running her company for about years now and has had 3 completely sold-out exhibitions. “The one I had last month, it was a sell out and I didn’t recognise a single person who bought my items. They had seen my stuff on internet or my Instagram page. The feeling of selling your idea to someone who doesn’t know and isn’t buying your products just to support you but because he/she loves your product, it made me feel like I’d conquered something.” During the exhibition came a downpour of rain, her house was flooded but women kept coming and were even fighting over her products. Amidst this chaos Saher took a moment to stand back and watch what was going on – she felt she had finally made a name for herself and this was her Miracle Moment. She diverged from her original path, carved another one out for herself and now sees herself moving fast towards her destination. Her journey, though short as of now, shows that sometimes, a difficult decision is in fact, the right decision.