Ali Wood is owned and run by 28 year old Shaukat Ali who has already faced more hardships than most people do in their lifetime. Although he was born into a well-to-do family in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, his father left the family when Shaukat was just a child and re-married. Shaukat’s mother was given shelter by his uncle and she worked as a labourer to provide for her son.
Shaukat learned the art of wood carving from his uncle, who was himself a wood worker. Shaukat studied till the 12th grade, attending school by day and carving wood by night. At the age of 22, he set up Ali Wood with his brother, plunging himself into the world of business and cut-throat competition. It took him four years of working on his samples before his products started being purchased by Asha Handicrafts Association in 2006.
He lives with his mother in the same house in which he works and has about 10-11 artisans working for him at any given point. With Asha’s help, he has been able to understand market trends and improve on his product designs accordingly. When asked where he sees himself in the future, this enterprising young man is quick to respond, “I want to export to the international market.”