Friday, July 31, 2009

Interview of Sufia Sattar: A Female Entrepreneur from Bangladesh

Sufia Sattar is a female entrepreneur in Dhaka and she is the proprietor of Auditi Crafts. She has a dress shop on the ground floor of her Dhanmondi house. It was her mother who inspired her to come to this field. She has been working day and night to grow her business. What she does basically is that she collects the products from weavers and then sells them. It is good for the weavers because in Bangladesh, handloom products change many hands through middle-men before reaching the hand of the consumers. Thus, in most of the cases, the weavers do not get good price for their products. So, because of Sufia Sattar’s efforts, some weavers can directly supply their products to a shop in Dhaka.

Today, from South Asia Blog, Razib Ahmed, Animesh Bain and Abdul Aziz Liton visited a Jamdani show of Sufia Sattar in Drik gallery, Dhanmondi. Animesh Bain carried out an interview of Sufia Sattar while Abdul Aziz took the pictures. Here is the interview for the readers:

South Asia Blog: Tell us something about you.

Sufia Sattar: I started this business as my personal hobby. After one year, I realized that I could do this work in a larger scale. I had a confidence that people would like my work. Last year I organized a show and before that I had arranged a Jamdani Show in small scale. In fact, this is my third show.

South Asia Blog: Tell us a bit about your company.

Sufia Sattar: I have a small company. I am the proprietor and manage all the things myself. The name of my company is Auditi Crafts. It is situated on the ground floor of my house in Dhanmondi (Road no. 28). There are other kinds of fabrics except Jamdani.

South Asia Blog: You have presented a very beautiful collection of Jamdani Sarres and other dress materials. From where have you collected them?

Sufia Sattar: I collected them from Rupgonj area of Narayanganj. As far as I know, all the Jamdani materials come from some villages of that area. I always want to promote the works of the weavers in that area. They make very beautiful dresses. Even the designs that you can see here have been made by them. I am not the designer. I just sometimes give them some suggestions about color combination. Thus, we try to work together.

While doing business, I try to follow one rule. Whatever products I see among the wearers, first I get satisfaction and then bring them for my customers. I started this business more than 10 years ago and I am the owner, employee and worker of this company. When I need help then I request my daughter-in-law and sisters. It is the result of my personal passion and dedication.

South Asia Blog: How do you carry out your marketing for your business?

Sufia Sattar: I depend on the reputation of my products and this is my main strategy for marketing. Satisfied customers come again and again and they spread the good word about my business. Because of their kind support my company could survive more than 10 years. I have a Facebook account. I have uploaded some of the pictures of my products. I get regular customers through Facebook. My son opened the account and is managing it for me. He did it six months ago and I have been getting very good response. I have got quite a few customers from USA and other countries who saw the pictures of the products in Facebook and then sent their relatives to my shop in Dhaka to buy the products they liked. I am very happy to see that Bangladeshi people living in other countries are interested about Jamdani. This is a good sign and it can help our weavers.

At this moment I have no plan to export, but if anyone is interested then I may do it. In fact, I am happy to see that the number of interested people outside of Bangladesh is growing. Now, I have a plan to launch a website about my products so that potential customers can get all the information.

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