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Mahbina Waheed (left) of Clayworks

Mahbina Waheed
Lahore, Pakistan

Setting out to revolutionise a traditional industry is a big ambition, and this is a vision that defines Mahbina Waheed as an entrepreneur who really means business.

Mahbina left her job with a microfinance company, because she wanted to produce hand painted modern ceramics. Despite having no experience, she teamed up with her friend Zainab, found a factory they could work from, and produced a few hundred mugs which quickly sold out. Inspired by this initial success, the duo started their business, Clayworks, in 1999 to manufacture hand painted ceramic tableware and accessories. A ceramics specialist was employed to provide the technical expertise required to complement the owners’ design skills, and the business took off.

With an ethos that her products should be practical yet creative, and durable but fun, Mahbina has created a stunning range, from cups and plates to serving dishes and tea sets. The Clayworks product range is constantly expanding, and the business also supplies crockery to hotels and restaurants, as well as a range of customised corporate gifts.

The incredible popularity of Clayworks ceramics has attracted a growing number of customers, including long-term contracts with the wholesaler Metro, and the Carrefour retail chain. Clayworks also sells direct to the public through its two stores in Lahore and Islamabad.

Following the unfortunate death of her ceramics expert, and the decision by her partner to leave the company in order to bring up her family, Mahbina took control to drive the business forward.

Since then Mahbina has transformed herself into a ceramics expert, and has introduced state of the art production technology. This has led to a doubling of production, and the business now provides employment for 50 people.

As well as being the only female run ceramics factory in the country, Clayworks has become a well known designer brand in Pakistan. Mahbina’s aim of revolutionising the country’s ceramics industry is being realised, and her ultimate ambition is to play a part in the industrialisation of Pakistan.


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