Innovators In Focus: Pinky Gul – The Co-Working Space Karachi Needed

We believe that businesses should be supported, encouraged and celebrated. That’s why every month, we are going to choose a business that we feel deserves the limelight. Keep reading to find out more about the startup for this month and the innovators behind it – let’s all lift each other up: 

What was your inspiration to start Pinky Gul?

My educational and professional background is in Development Economics, and I have worked on many women centric social development projects, particularly at the State Bank of Pakistan. While I was on a career break to raise my baby girl, I started an online community group called the Yummy Mummy Network for desi moms, which has become a strong support network for women. Instead of returning to SBP, I continued with my support group and increased the scope with workshops with other NGOs like Red Crescent. In 2019 I started a female centric co-working office, but quickly realized women need much more than a working environment; they needed a safe community space. I want to create a safe space for women (and like-minded men) to meet, learn and grow together. In Pakistan women tend to be competitive and at Pinky Gul we want to see women shine together. We are at the end of the platform of support. 

How did you come up with the name Pinky Gul? 

The name is inspired by my parents, whose nicknames are Pinky (Farzhana Naek) and Gul (Farooq Naek). I wanted to include my parents in some way since they strongly believe in women having financial independence. 

What is one thing you would say to women that effectively sums up the aim of this company/space?

At Pinky Gul we want you to live your best life and we want to create a platform to do so. Whether this means showcasing your business, networking, having a fun social event or just coming alone for a coffee, our aim is to provide a space for you to do so.

Are there personal connections between your experiences as a woman and your desire to create a space for women?

 I feel every woman, perhaps Pakistani women particularly; have felt unsafe or even uncomfortable in a public setting. It is the many many experiences that ALL women have had that made me want to create Pinky Gul. 

Can you tell us about some of your favourite projects that you’ve worked on till now, or maybe some hints about an upcoming project you’re excited for?

I have loved all of them! I really enjoyed our food pop up with The Curated Plate, hosting Zainab Zulfiqar’s first Karachi trunk show and of course engaging with our permanent retailers. We have some really exciting collaborations coming up! One of them is with University art students to showcase their work in a gallery style, since many artists are left unseen due to a lack of art world connections. The Curated Plate and Pinky Gul are cooking up something really amazing for December as well – fingers crossed!

Pinky Gul is a space that’s all about supporting and empowering women – when did you realise how important this is? And how do you see Pinky Gul contributing to this even more in the future?

I realized how important this is at a young age and growing up, I was lucky enough to meet incredible women at the all women’s college I went to (Bryn Mawr College). We had a social honor code at the school, which I’ve tried to continue to adhere to and have implemented at both Yummy Mummy, and Pinky Gul. I also am a single parent and have been really blessed with strong support, especially Samar Hussain the owner of Pinch & Co who I call my Wife. I really hope Pinky Gul becomes a platform where women from all generations see the power of us working together. 

Providing co-working environments for women is something you’ve outlined as being extremely important to you. Why do you think Pakistan is lacking in providing such spaces and how do you see Pinky Gul bridging this gap?

I actually ran a women centric co-working space called Tribe before this, and I realized women needed a much more flexible working environment. When so much of our day is on other people’s timetables (kids, husbands, parents etc), it’s hard to stick to a 9-5 schedule. I’m hoping we provide a fun place to work, network and grow without heavy financial and time commitments. All you need to do is buy a cup of coffee and use our space! 

How has covid-19 affected this operation? Are you using other means to accommodate for these changes?

Absolutely! I was poised to open in March! Right before lockdown! We strictly adhere to SOPs on a daily basis and of course we are slow because of Covid, however we’re also really lucky to be a popular pop up/exhibition and meeting space. 

Are you actively looking for collabs from women that can become involved with your work?

Yes please! Check out our website www.pinkygul.com and please reach out! 

How are some ways one can support this great initiative you’ve started? Spread the word! Like our Instagram (@pinkygul_pk) and come visit! I’m usually there post lunch and always enjoy meeting new people. I’m the girl upstairs with the topknot smiling at you and shouting “Welcome to Pinky Gul!”

Where do you hope to see Pinky Gul in the future?

I hope to see Pinky Gul all over the city, the country and then abroad. World domination right? 

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