While some people wait for their fate to interfere and make things happen, others make their fate submit to their dreams. Fariha Rashed, CEO of Ink Magazine and Pitch Media Inc. is one such example that shows that we can choose what we want to be. With a diverse educational background including Masters in Mass Communication from Kinnaird College and Bachelors, from the Pakistan Institute of Fashion Design (PIFD), Fariha has found her passion in fashion journalism and Public Relations.
Ms. Rashed started Ink Magazine in 2008, which is a quarterly entertainment magazine and is available as both a print and online publication. As a freelance writer, Fariha has over the years written on a diverse array of topics, ranging from theater, fashion, advertising to social issues which drove her towards starting an entertainment publication. She feels that under the umbrella of entertainment, there is a lot of room for diversity of topics and content.
While talking to MORE, she described that entertainment is not just about fashion; it’s the culture, music, theater, and much more and she strives to include all of these components in her magazine. Through Ink, Fariha also tries to highlight the different achievements of people not just of Pakistan, but of South Asia.
Talking about the challenges she faced in her entrepreneurial ventures, Fariha revealed that starting a magazine tested her as an entrepreneur because while starting Ink she was a one women army. She has never done such a thing before in her life and starting a magazine from scratch required her to do a lot of research and seek help from her friends who knew how to run a publication. Initiating the primary processes like registration, building a team, collaborating with the right printers and distributors were some basic challenges that she felt defined the direction for Ink. As for Pitch Media, a PR consultancy company, Fariha due to her experience in advertising and communications felt quite at ease.
Print media in Pakistan is facing a tough time right now
Fariha believes that print media in Pakistan is facing a tough time right now. Due to the fast-paced lives of people, they don’t have much time to grab a copy and read through the pages of a magazine in leisure and thus they prefer doing much of their reading on their electronic devices such as smartphones, computers or tablets, etc. She doesn’t think that all is lost for print magazines as with social media and digital presence she thinks both of these mediums can go hand in hand.
Looking at the current dynamics of the publication industry, Fariha is planning to focus on creating a strong digital presence through her Ink’s online publication. She feels that only sticking to the print media would limit the audience that has evolved with time and go through life with a much faster stride than before. Fariha describes that by default with online and print media working side by side, they would be able to reach a much broader audience but the content on the digital medium will be aligned with the philosophy that they have developed over the years for Ink magazine.
Talking about her passion for entrepreneurship, Fariha relays that she’s always been a creative person and for that reason, she never did well with jobs. The idea to be your own boss tempted her towards starting her own company. She always found it difficult to take directions from a boss sitting above her, which was her biggest weakness. But instead of considering it as a weakness, she thought why not turn it into an opportunity so she could get the creative freedom that she desired but could never achieve in a regular job.
Fariha had all the means and capacity to start her own business and thus, came the publication that we all know and love today. After looking at the growing business, she realized that with her experience in communications, she could create a public relations consulting company which proved to be another successful venture.
Fariha as a women entrepreneur doesn’t feel that there is much difference in challenges based on gender while starting a new business. She explains that women of course, not just in Pakistan but all over the world, are mostly treated differently in the industry as compared to men, but here in her experience, she felt that with her “she means business” attitude; she was able to get the right treatment that she deserved.
She further added that the right educational experience and family upbringing helps a lot in overcoming many challenges thrown at women in the entrepreneurial world. Fariha feels that the key thing to remember is that you’re just a human being and if you believe in yourself, are confident, and show that you’re here to work then, people will also respond to you in a positive way.
The biggest challenge for a print magazine is that making sure everyone adheres to their assigned timelines
Comparing the print and online magazines, Fariha described that the biggest challenge for a print magazine is that making sure everyone adheres to their assigned timelines which include constantly being in contact with the printers, distributors, and writers, etc. For an online magazine, she believes that being up to date with the latest happenings and being the first one to report a story is a target that they have to accomplish. Between the two, Fariha finds the print publication more challenging as it requires dealing with a lot of people to create an end product.
Publishing a good story requires good content. Fariha reveals that while starting Ink in 2008, she was not sure about the kind of content needed for the website, and thus the magazine content has evolved over the years. She learned that to distinguish herself from other magazines in the market she needed good content which doesn’t comprise of recycled PR. Also, with the change in time and the dynamic of the reader, she believes that one always has to strive for creating something new for the magazine.
Comparing the content of the magazine over the years, she describes that the current editions are far better than the first one as Ink has grown into a much professional publication now. Previously, they focused on the South Asian industry but now they have directed their efforts to highlight Pakistani entertainment.
Immersing into the entertainment content can make people feel good
The current situation of the country is enough to frustrate any citizen, and Fariha believes that entertainment provides the people with a little bit of happiness, where they can escape their worries. Immersing in the entertainment content can make people feel good, and with Ink, Fariha is providing us the means to relax and forget our problems, even for a little while.