Our mission at Knotty Gal is…
Nur-E Farhana: Help make a small difference in the lives of the girls enrolled at my great-grandfather’s school!
Nur-E Gulshan: And also to make women feel good about themselves, not just with nice jewelry, but with the thought that their purchase is having an impact on so many girls halfway across the world.
Our “aha” moment for starting our business…
Nur-E Farhana: For me, the “aha” moment came during a trip to my great-grandfather’s school back in 2011. The school needed a lot of help, and I came back from that trip feeling inspired to take some sort of immediate action. That’s when I started talking to my mom, who graduated from that school herself, about ways we could more seriously get involved.
Nur-E Gulshan: My daughter and I have always wanted to do something with the school. She spent time talking to the teachers at the school and learned that the girls really needed a working computer lab. The process of raising the money to set up a computer lab helped us think about how we could continue to bring in money for the school without having to fundraise each time. That was the inspiration for starting Knotty Gal.
How our strengths differ and complement each other…
Nur-E Farhana: Even though my mom is the sweetest and cutest little lady alive, she also has this sense of authority, which might partially come down to the fact that she’s been a mom for so long! Her no-nonsense attitude is crucial when we’re dealing with partners on the ground in Bangladesh because it can sometimes be difficult to move things forward. My mom has an air of don’t-mess-with-me that just helps get things done. I’m so grateful for that, because sometimes it’s harder for me to put my foot down.
Nur-E Gulshan: My daughter is definitely super detail-oriented, more than I am. It’s great because she’ll double, sometimes triple check things, and she’ll always catch the tiniest detail that may be off or not quite right.
Lessons we’ve learned about working with family…
Nur-E Farhana: First, that it’s not for everyone. I have a big sister who is basically the third original Knotty Gal because of how supportive she’s been since day one. But she always jokes that if she had to work with either one of us she’d go crazy. I totally get that! The other lesson I’ve learned from my mother is to be more compassionate and forgiving. I’ve made so many mistakes throughout this entrepreneurial journey, and my mother has been nothing short of gracious and encouraging.
Nur-E Gulshan: Like my daughter said, it’s not for everyone, but if it works for you and your family, then it’s a blessing. Nobody will have your back like your family will, and having that level of trust in your business partner is such a gift. You never have to question their motives or intentions, and you know that at the end of the day, you’re going to get through whatever challenges together as one team.
Our proudest moment since launching Knotty Gal…
Nur-E Farhana: Being with the Tory Burch Foundation during the ringing of the NYSE Opening Bell was amazing! I’ll never forget that moment. That and also receiving pictures of the first computer class our partners at BRAC implemented at the school was incredibly moving.
Nur-E Gulshan: That’s exactly my answer, too! It was so exciting to see her on TV for the NYSE Opening Bell, and it was also special to begin our work with BRAC at the school.
How have you inspired each other to embrace ambition?
Nur-E Farhana: My mom is fearless. Entrepreneurship at its early stage involves a lot of rejection, and it can become discouraging. My mother is always there for me to remind me that this is par for the course and that if I’m not failing regularly, then I’m not dreaming big enough. She encourages me to be brave and to keep pursuing my goals, and she’s the reason I have the ambitions I do today. Without her, I would not have made it this far, and I would certainly not have the guts to keep going.
My mom is the reason I have the ambitions I do today.
Nur-E Gulshan: My daughter is my confidence boost. When it comes to her, I feel she can do anything, and I remind her of that, but for myself, sometimes I have doubt. She is always there to remind me of all the battles I’ve already fought and won, and that inspires me to embrace my ambitions. I may no longer be in my 20’s, but I’ve still got so much more that I want to do. In some ways, I feel like I’m just getting started!