Founder Portraits: Farrukh Lalani
Our Founder Portraits series will introduce an SVZ entrepreneur each week and share their founding story and learnings from their incubation period at The SVZ. Get to know the faces behind our innovators each week and explore the local and global impact led by members at The Social Ventures Zone.
Farrukh Lalani is the founder of Daria Day, an ethical jewelry line that works with women artisans in remote communities at the foothills of the K2 Mountains in Northern Pakistan. Daria Day provides artisans with a sustainable livelihood and path to prosperity by selling their jewelry creations online. Farrukh joined the Fall 2017 cohort at The Social Ventures Zone and has since then rebranded her business and scaled her impact. Learn more about Farrukh and her social enterprise in this week’s blog post, just in time for Women’s Equality Day!
How did you realize there was a problem faced by women in these communities of Northern Pakistan and why did you decide to help them?
F: I was working with NGOs in Pakistan when I got to meet the people in these communities and identify their need for financial and creative empowerment. The women had the jewelry training but there was no market access available for their goods at the time. So, I decided to start my venture and create this market for these artisans so they can make a living and benefit their community.
What's the significance behind the name of your business?
F: ‘Daria’ is the female variant of Darius in Old Persian, meaning prosperity. “Daria Day” is really meant as an exclamation: Prosperous day! Prosperity for the makers and the wearers of our jewelry!
"I believe that being part of the Social Ventures Zone is crucial to Daria Day’s success and will ultimately enable us to reach our goal of creating sustainable livelihoods for all our artisans."
Why did you decide to apply to The Social Ventures Zone?
F: I applied to the SVZ to benefit from the mentorship opportunities and learn how to develop and scale a sustainable brand. The coaching I received has guided Daria Day’s business model, vision, and strategy. I also get to learn from fellow sustainable fashion and artisan companies that are at The SVZ. I believe that being part of the Social Ventures Zone is crucial to Daria Day’s success and will ultimately enable us to reach our goal of creating sustainable livelihoods for all our artisans.
Since starting Daria Day, how has the artisan team grown and what were some of the highlights for these women?
F: When we started in 2017, we were working with ten artisans. Since then, we have grown to work with 60 artisans and provide them with opportunities to become entrepreneurs and lead their own jewelry making workshops in the community. Just recently, one of the artisans set up a bank account for the first time in her life with savings from her jewelry making. Another woman who was a climate refugee in 2010 is now able to care for her family and provide them with quality healthcare from her Daria Day earnings. Our impact with these women, external link has been both heartening and humbling.
Daria Day started out as Zendagi. Tell us the biggest learnings you had after a rebrand.
F: The rebranding process actually gave us the opportunity to revisit our messaging and our value proposition. We used the opportunity to engage in further customer discovery and hone in on our target customer. So, we have refined our messaging and our go-to-market strategy for Daria Day. Sometimes, it’s good to take a step back and re-evaluate, and the rebranding process allowed us to do that!
What are your plans for Daria Day?
F: Big plans! Take-over-the-world kind of plans! We are now looking at processes to make the jewelry making more green; like water recycling, reusing waste and upcycling silver, to name a few. We are also working with other women groups in the region to upcycle fabric for our jewelry packaging. Our vision is to become a leading sustainable and ethical jewelry brand and to show a kinder and more beautiful side of Pakistan.