Leading an all-girls entrepreneurial team, which believes in women empowerment and a challenge to live as dreamers and doers in Naga society, Zuboni Humtsoe is best recognized as “The Modi Girl”. Flashback to The Hornbill Festival in 2014, after years of working tirelessly and days of anticipation to meet the Prime Minister of India, and hoping to show him the result of her small dream, this entrepreneur could not accept the fact that the Prime Minister was not going to visit all the stalls, hers amongst one, which were prepped and ready at Kisama. Making a brave decision in one split second, she ran after the big escort of VIPs and security personnel and simply called out loudly “Modi sir, Modi sir”. What followed went on record and was covered in the media, and more people saluting this all-girl entrepreneurial team and recognizing their work!
The story behind one of the fastest growing online fashion brands from Nagaland- Precious Melove or PML as it is popularly known is a beautiful one. Born out of a situation where right after graduation, she was suddenly faced with the immediate necessity to contribute to the livelihood of her family. Refusing to cater to the hankerings of a government job, she boldly decided to embark on setting up a small business on social networking site Facebook with a capital of Rupees 3500 saved from her college scholarship fund. This was in the year 2011.
Nurturing a common vision to create a fashion brand that would celebrate femininity, freedom, dreams, dreamers, creativity, and act as a platform to provide opportunities for everybody, PML is growing by leaps and bounds each day. Very recently, PML has launched its E-commerce Fashion Site. It has also ventured into making beautiful handmade Dolls of Nagaland under the name ‘Nungshiba Handicrafts’ which makes use of excess and leftover fabrics from their manufacturing unit, resulting in unique and creative dolls designed to resemble the beautiful tribal’s of North east India. Adding to this is a vision to build a brand which would provide job opportunities to local tribal women.
Presently, the team is led by Zuboni as Marketing and Creative Head, her sister Lozano- Creative Director, Alen Konyak- Logistics Manager, Wondeno Ezung- official photographer, Lothungbeni Humtsoe- Stylist and Sales Manager, Babita Singh-Handicrafts designer, Emilo Enny- Assistant Handicrafts Designer, Inali, Jule, Zuchan the Nungshiba doll-makers.
Zuboni described PML as, “an extension of my dreams, my personality and my ambition. More importantly, it’s not just about me but an extension of each of the girls’ dreams and personality as well.” She explained how proud and happy she is of her PML team and adds, “I still cannot pay my team as much as I like to but we are a happy and satisfied working team.”
She gets straight to the point and says that it is difficult for a poor entrepreneur like her to survive in Nagaland. “Trying my best to maintain and practice integrity is the most difficult as there are no equal opportunities and the basic infrastructure is so bad here. This is an important reason why people also choose Government jobs or else you can’t survive, don’t get respect, or even get support. So working conditions are very difficult and money is still an issue for us,” she said.
Right now she is living her dream, receiving invitations to present talks on her success story to inspire other entrepreneurs and young people, and strangers writing to her cheering from the U.S, Singapore, Delhi, Goa, Orissa, Bhutan and many more places. To this, she says, “Never in my wildest dream did I think that it would turn out to be a serious career path. Who would have thought that a simple business run through Facebook would reach this level! When I look back I feel like crying. I won’t lie, it’s been the most difficult but also the most rewarding and amazing experience.”
I want to encourage everyone by saying this, “It’s wonderful to follow your heart and passion. The challenges are endless but so are the rewards and joy. Also, when you work hard with integrity it helps you to be confident because you are not ashamed, because you have not done any business which is sinister or shady. This is so important because it gives you more strength and courage to continue dreaming.”
Zuboni Humtsoe is every inch the ‘real woman’ she keeps describing her PML clients to be. She has no qualms to admit that she knows what poverty feels like and would not want anyone else to face that circumstance in their life. She is proof that there is no limit to what you can do or achieve when you believe in yourself and your dreams. She finds the world beautiful and wishes to become a philanthropist one day. A dreamer like no other.