Since 2000’s as soon as I gained a little sense, all I could remember was skins of animals coming to my house by our employees who were more like family to us. My father and uncles chatting about how to make the next product and debating endlessly on designs.
I grew up in a family where leather was not only made, but worshipped. It had more impact on me and my sisters life than our barbies at that time. My father even used to stitch leather toys for us. If I say he was obsessed with leather, that wouldn’t be wrong.
My name is Afsha, I am a Pharmacist by profession, I have studied medicine all my life and literally dedicated my life to my passion. I had a corporate job here in US. A corporate job gives sense of security and direction. It gives you luxuries like mobile phones, parking spaces, business trips and cards. But to some people, like me, it means endless hours standing and trying to memorize how the drug worked, what did I read back in that 10kg book, going over articles every single day to keep my knowledge updated, taking CME’s and then getting frustrated for not remembering anything the very next day. So it wouldn’t be wrong to say that I was following my passion, but I wasn’t happy. This life sure had its own charm, but there was something missing. Something that I had a hunger for ever since I grew up. Entrepreneurship. On the other hand in Pakistan, things started to change. While I was busy trying to make things happen in my life here, my Father was struggling.
This day I was speaking to my dad and asking him about how business is going, he never told me anything. And If I be honest enough, I never even paid attention. I was too busy to make my dream come true I completely forgot everything else. This day, my father mentioned how everything is collapsing in his business, how the ban on breeding of wildlife is affecting iguana and how he has lost hope in what was his life once, LEATHER. Days passed and Iguana vanished. Factories locked down, employees short and logistics literally fell apart. The main line of business was gone. There were no reptiles to breed, which means no leather, and hence no business. My father tried to hold himself, I know he couldn’t but he managed to mask a smile and started a medicine import export business. WOW! He was finally coming to cross paths with me. He finally understood how much future medicine holds, and I was right.
I was happy, but I found my dad depressed, I often found him sitting there in silence going over iguana look books. I found his eyes glowing with shine when he told stories to friends of how he has been making leather since he was a child. This day, I was randomly sitting and going over my pharmacology book , when I noticed something. Papa, what is with your legs? My wrist is thicker than that. It looks like a stick. Are you okay? I starred at him blankly. He smiled, I used to jump in drums as a kid when leather was tanned at our factory. You know Afsha, your grandfather used to pay me pennies for jumping in those drums at Iguana, tears in his eyes. I froze. Everything that I remembered as a child started to play in my subconscious. How selfish had I been all this time. The man who invested in my dreams and then changed his path to catch up with me when he had lost everything he knew, his passion. This was the time, I decided I will bring it back to life one day. After years of research and chasing craftsmen and suppliers. Now in 2020, Here I am writing this as a co-founder of Iguana. Not to mention I kept this all secret from him. I travelled to Pakistan to find people who worked with him to get insights, learned how they did business etc. I swear I haven’t seen my dad as excited as I saw him on the day iguana logo was made. To many of my friends and family I’ve gone crazy — they’re convinced I have lost my mind. I am here trying to fix the pieces of puzzle in a slightly different way this time. Same Founders, Same Techniques, Same Passion, Same Iguana, Just a different generation.