I’ve witnessed poverty very early in my childhood. I was the youngest of three siblings. So, you can guess how difficult it gets to finance the education of the younger ones in a family. While I did not get to study much, I had the determination to do something. With that self-accountability, I joined a shoe manufacturing factory in 2001. That’s how I was exposed to the magnificent world of leather and shoes. As I was a quick learner, I understood the process and business manners within a few years. So, in 2006, in just 5 years, I established my Shumon Shoes and Sandel Factory.
My business was built on just 35,000 Tk, which was a loan from my older brother. In the first year of the business, I operated from Dhaka and built my connections. I focused on the Gulisthan bongo market and made affordable shoes for the customers. In 2007, I decided to shift my factory to Bhairab as I felt that it was a better option. I opened my factory within a short period and started manufacturing again. Obviously, it takes some to adjust to a new place. That’s why the first few months were a bit slow, but later on, I picked up the pace.
I never thought that my business would go off the roof so quickly! From 2007 to 2012, my business was booming without any issues. The retailers were more than satisfied with my products, and the orders were coming nonstop. In addition to that, I was supplying leather goods to Noakhali, Laxmipur, Chandpur as well. It truly was one of the best moments for my business. However, the following years were not too kind to me.
From 2013 to 2017, my business fell because of price hikes, country-wide embargos, and other reasons. However, that does not mean I was bankrupt or broke. It’s just the market was going through some changes, and I had to adjust to it for a while. Fortunately, from 2018 to mid-2020, I was again making tons of profits, and my goods were going to 9-10 retailers at once. It was a good thing that I could save some capital from those years. Because when the Covid-19 hit our nation, my business was on the brink of extinction. SMEs like mine were going through a rough patch without having any support or orders. In such disastrous times, we factory and shop owners held onto ourselves. The Bhairab Karkhana Malik Samity & the Dokan Samity helped each other so that we could survive. It was an amazing experience that a worldwide pandemic made our bonds stronger than ever.
Now that the market is again filled with customers, my eyes are full of hope. Also, the support I got from LightCastle Partners with their B-SkillFUL project was reliving. I was searching for such an opportunity that would allow me to understand more about the Covid-19 recovery process, and they provided just what I wanted. While I lost too much capital during the last two years, I won’t lose hope. As the Almighty says, “With Every Difficulty, There is Relief”, I am looking forward to the blessing.