Online platforms are playing a big role in the growth of women entrepreneurs in the country. Women have made substantial gains along with shifts in social attitudes towards empowerment.
Salina Iqbal Popy, owner of Dress Up limited, made this view in an exclusive interview with Bangladesh Post (BP).
BP: What is the story behind your successful entrepreneur today?
Popy: My father was a police officer, in that respect, everyone in my family prefers job. I never thought of doing business when everyone in my family was in job.
I had different thoughts at different time. Sometimes I thought I would be an airhostess, sometimes I thought I would be a doctor. At that time I got married and had children, then the idea of doing job in a bank had to be gradually eliminated.
In fact, I couldn't go to work after thinking about my baby’s growth and care. Then I saw a lot of women doing business online. They are posting a lot on Facebook groups. I also started a little bit in 2015. In fact, I thought to myself, I have to do something in my life besides giving time to the child. In that case, I thought online seemed preferable to me.
Then I slowly moved forward. It will not be possible to describe those steps in that way. At first I was alone in the business. As the business moved forward I saw that it was a very responsive business, I could no longer handle the business on my own. Then I asked my husband (Asif Iqbal) to be with me. Although, my husband had a different business, he helped me. It became a big problem to handle two businesses together, when we are spending more time on one side, the other business is slowing down.
I told Asif to drop one business and we started the business (dress business) together again. This is how we started.
BP: Today you have become a very big entrepreneur. There are very few female entrepreneurs in our country. In that case, what is your future plan?
Popy: I had no plans for the future when I started the business. The online platform that will come to such a position in Bangladesh today, we never really thought of it.
Actually, this platform (online) is helping to make more women entrepreneurs.
Even five years ago, we never thought anyone could go so far with an online business. Due to online, I have been able to move forward so quickly.
Today I have two outlets, one in Kalyanpur and the other in Dhanmondi (Plaza AR).
My handicap plan was long overdue. We still have the most handicraft dresses, with many more Indian and Pakistani dresses.
In fact, we want to keep everything under one roof of our showrooms.
BP: You have already made Dress up as a good brand. Customers are accepting the products from you very well. Most of the time, it is heard online that your dresses are sold out. Or how are you taking this challenge?
Popy: I don’t want to take any challenge, it just comes to the fore. In fact, I want everything to continue as it is. But, if you do nothing or not modify your product, you will not be able to survive for long.
When we started the business there was only cotton dress. After that, we added some dresses made of silk.
Now, again we have brought many variations of sarees and dresses in silk. This is how, we are changing.
BP: There are many women who want to do business but cannot do for many problems and cannot move forward. In that case, what would you say?
Popy: I will say one thing that the girl was born in your house or has been your life partner, you support her and you help her to move forward. Because one day it may be, you will feel very proud of her.
On the other hand, I want to tell the girls, everyone should build their own identity with different professions as like a businessperson, a teacher or an actor, it will help reduce dependency on their family to meet their needs.
BP: What do you think the government should do to take the businesses forward or what do you want from the government?
Popy: The government has taken many steps for the betterment of women entrepreneurs.
The government has already taken up a project on handicraft business. Handicrafts have occupied a lot of space now on online platforms.
If we could get more help from the government, we could move forward. We need cooperation for the expansion of our business outside the country.
Although there is a good demand for handicraft products outside the country, we could not easily send products outside the country.
The government should come forward in this regard.