Women owned businesses overcoming COVID-19 challenges – Kashmira Edirisinghe

Women owned businesses are overcoming COVID-19 challenges.

Robed Gift Works was initiated by Kashmira, her mother and sister – where they initially did satin robes, hence the name Robed.

Later, they realized there was a demand for purposeful and presentable gift boxes that went beyond the typical gift basket or hamper that was available in the market.

Kashmira graduated in Malaysia with a degree in International Hospitality Management and worked full time in the Hospitality industry. Once the business started to grow, she resigned to focus on her business.

“I’ve always wanted to have something of my own, where I can implement my ideas and be my own boss. I was lucky to have support from my family to quit my job and take on my business full time.”

“We hand select items and source them from small local businesses on Instagram and artisan crafters around Sri Lanka, most of whom are women. This was a great way of introducing our client base to new innovative products that the local market has to offer.”

Kashmira mentions that they focus on value for money.

“All our gifts come in keepsake hard board boxes and wooden boxes with a complimentary gold foiled card.”

“We undertake gift boxes for any and all occasions, be it a birthday, anniversary, retinue gifts, corporate giveaways or just a box to make someone feel special.”

How did Covid-19 affect your business?

Kashmira mentions that sourcing materials and delivery was a challenge but after some time as everyone started to adhere to the new normal, business went on as usual.

“Lots of new logistics companies opened up and offered island wide deliveries even to lockdown areas which made it easier for us to take on and fulfill new orders.”

How have you overcome Covid-19 impact?

Kashmira says that due to lockdown, people were unable to shop for gift items.

As a result, customers including international clients would confirm their orders immediately since they were uncertain as to when they would see their loved ones again.

“We saw a large influx of clients who placed orders for doorstep delivery.”

What advice can you give other women owned businesses?

Kashmira mentions that she saw a huge increase in the number of new online businesses during lockdown.

“It was evident that most people were looking to start new business ventures or even part time businesses to help stay afloat during these difficult times.”

“My advice is to just start, even if you think it’s not good enough or you are not sure where to start from.”

Kashmira mentions that you can use the internet to find out and learn anything in order to get started.

“Have a unique business idea, and know what kind of product the market is lacking. I have taught myself so much during these years and learning is a lifelong process.”

“Make sure you have the support you need and just get going.”

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