Tasneem is eager to bring together the cultures of East and West and her cookbook is only a start. With her creative touch, she looks forward to realizing ideas ranging from textile design to jewelry. She also wants to source spices, discussed in her cookbook, in a sustainable manner to benefit those who produce them.
Tell us about the business, what it does, and who the key people in the company are?
I am the sole owner of a business that is based around an Indian-Pakistani cookbook I wrote and designed. I saw that the market predominantly had books written in English and not in German; at the same time I would speak to people and the feedback I would often receive was that they were not fully satisfied with the complexity of the recipes and / or the layout of the books they bought. That’s when I started to realize that I was destined to write a book. The book is meant to ultimately be a connection between the East and the West. The food is meant to be a form of healing and
What were the main challenges you faced early on? – In the business and also as a woman?
Resilience. Determination. The staying power to get the book completed - always reminding yourself why you were doing this. I also wanted to design the book so communicating this to the designer was also challenging, as that person needs to understand your idea and how to take it into reality. Otherwise you will feel like you’re losing what it is you’re trying to do.What ever you create needs to have your touch.
In addition, when pitching to bookstores in Switzerland, I found that both males and female support was enthusiastic.
Have you had any failures along the way and what you have you learned from them?
I was not aware of the method of mass distribution. Switzerland is an expensive place to distribute from so I have had to consider options in other countries. However I have maintained to stay positive.
Have you always had the entrepreneurial spirit? When (in childhood) and with what did your entrepreneurial journey start?
Always. Since I was 18 I thought it wouldn’t it be cool start something by myself! I have always been interested in textiles, food and connecting cultures.
Who is your role model/mentor?
My grandmother – she is my biggest mentor and friend. She was so inspiring and helped me to become who I am. She always told me “you can become what you dream of”. I have never forgotten those words. She also taught me to be strong as a woman.
Describe/Outline your typical day
I wrote the book during my sabbatical. There was never a typical day as sometimes it would flow and other days I hot roadblocks.
If one day you could write your autobiography, how would be the title of it and why?
Going Against The Tide – It would be about going against unspoken family rules and traditions. I would talk about how I had to be true to myself and how decisions have to come from the heart. Be honest with yourself.
What three pieces of advice would you offer entrepreneurs starting out today?
To really feel that you’re adding value and passionate about sharing that
Its about reliance – still come up.
Believe in yourself.
What is your favourite book?
Autobiography of a Yogi - by Yoga Nunda.