The mission was to help mothers make informed decisions as caregivers.
orn in Dera Ismail Khan, Bushra Latif grew up noticing how difficult motherhood was for women among her acquaintances. Given the conspicuous absence of shops selling baby food, children’s apparel and childcare products in her area, most women had to depend on male family members to travel to bigger cities for the products they needed for their children. It was more than a minor hassle for young mothers.
“I remember my sister raising two toddlers and a newborn. It was hard for her to get some time for herself since she was always anxious about things the children needed on a daily basis,” says Latif.
The young entrepreneur knew she had to do something for the women in her district. In 2021, after months of mulling over a plausible business model, Latif launched Nani. The idea, she says, had begun germinating with the beginning of the coronavirus lockdowns.
While the Nani platform appears mainly to be an online marketplace listing several child-centric brands for clothing, footwear, feeding gear, bath accessories, bedding and more, it also focuses on bringing content and workshops for mothers and children on childcare, learning and storytelling.
“I researched my idea for months. I couldn’t think about anything else. After some preliminary research, I realised that there was a pressing need for a dedicated digital space for mothers from across the country,” says the entrepreneur. “It was a simple idea and a necessary one; so I decided to run with it,” says Latif.
“Any business idea has to have a sharp profits focus. This doesn’t take away from the fact that behind it, there is a vision and a resolve to make an impact and change things for the better,” Latif asserts.
“While in Dera Ismail Khan I noticed that motherhood, an already backbreaking job, was made even more difficult by the absence of support systems. This observation drove me to come up with a workable solution for all the women in the country,” she says.
Latif says that she was soon inundated with orders and feedback, from not just big cities like Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi but also from Gilgit, Azad Kashmir and her very own hometown, within a few weeks of the beta testing phase.
“I remember reading messages from women thanking us after receiving their orders. Some of them said they had spent days looking for a particular baby formula or an item for their children that they could not get their hands on. Often, their orders would get cancelled by other providers as they could not be deliver in remote areas,” she recalls.
Latif says the main mission behind Nani was to help mothers make informed decisions as caregivers and to also provide them with knowledge about childcare that they may lack. “Nani encompasses a modern, evolved and empathetic grandmother figure who stands as a guide for new mothers. Instead of judging or criticising, Nani gently informs her ‘daughters’ how they can become mindful, loving and confident parents. Parenthood isn’t easy and the last thing a young couple needs is nagging by family members. They need a safe space. Through Nani, I want to provide that,” she says.
Having launched Nani kay Totkay, Shagufta kay Masayl and Nani ki Kahaniyan, Latif is looking forward to the new year. Nani kay Totkay covers local, homegrown remedies. Nani ki Kahaniyan are stories parents can use for their children as they are tucking them in bed and Shagufta kay Masayl is a dialogue where Nani gives Shagufta advice on her problems.
With a soft launch behind them, the entrepreneur is consulting her team to build and develop the platform. “I started from zero,” Latif says. “Now I have a team of eight dedicated and hardworking employees. This is only the beginning, though. I feel we’ve only just scratched the surface,” she adds.