The story originally appeared at Markhor Journal on Medium.
2 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 2 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 somedays 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.
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.
Markhor, the mountain goat (Capra Falconeri), is an iconic and endangered specie that lives in northern Pakistan and Afghanistan. We named our company after it because, like markhor, our iconic craftsmen are on the verge of going extinct and we’ve decided to save them both. Yes, both. The craftsmen and the animal.
First, the craftsmen.
We’ve been working on our signature, inaugural collection for the last 8 months and it’s finally here. We launched it on Kickstarter on Sep 22nd with a goal of raising $15,000. We had a feeling we’ll achieve it in 10–14 days and eventually raise about $30,000 in 45 days (kickstarter campaign total time).
What happened next?
Well, it’s Sep 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.
Back us on Kickstarter
PS. A special shout out to Seth Godin for plugging this campaign in his post, Jacqueline Novogratz for her constant support and of course, all of you.