A society can never truly flourish until both women and men contribute equally to the country for its development and economy. Yet, it is very unfortunate for us that even now such a patriarchal stereotype exists in our society that believes in the phenomenon that businesses should only be run and managed by men; women leaders or accomplished businesswomen are considered as something strange here. Despite this, many female entrepreneurs have risen above such stereotypes, crossed multiple obstacles and proven that a woman, on her own, can achieve a lot in business and become financially solvent. Many women have also chosen the path of e-commerce. Lina, owner of the clothing brand ‘Lina’s Thousand Things’, is such a successful female entrepreneur. In 2012, she got involved with online fashion brands and since then she has come a long way. Nusrat Jahan Pritom recently caught up with this phenomenal lady to know more about her business, what she is doing right now and what she has planned for the future.
You have successfully introduced the popular clothing brand ‘Lina’s Thousand Things’. We would like to know more about your journey and how did all these begin?“I had always wanted to do something different. When I got involved in online business back in 2012, it was more out of passion and the determination to do something diverse. In 2016, I began my very own clothing store. I used to operate it by a different name at that time. In its nascent stages, the shop was limited to only its online dealings. There were no shops. From its earliest stage, I had received a really good response from the customers that encouraged me to go on further and further. Passion turned into profession. In 2018, I realized that I really needed a shop not just online but also outside in the physical realm. That year, I opened our first outlet in Police Plaza. In the next year, I opened two more branches.”
You could have easily become a job-holder? Why did you choose otherwise and become an entrepreneur? In other words, why did you take business as your profession?
“Yes, it is true that I could easily get any jobs. My first job was in a multi-national company. I was also engaged in the banking sector for quite a while. I enjoyed many facilities there because of my job and I could easily live in prosperity for a long time had I chosen to stay there. However, I needed to take a risk. You can call it an adventure or a thrill or simply passion. As I mentioned earlier, I always wanted to do something exceptional.”
“It has always been my dream to establish a brand of my own. With this ambition in mind, in 2012 I got connected to the world of online fashion shops. I have seen many of my friends running after golden job opportunities around me. Yet I was firm about my dreams and my passion. I wanted to do something on my own.”
Have you ever faced any difficulties or challenges while pursuing your dream?
“Our society is yet fully not ready to properly cultivate or appreciate female entrepreneurs. For this reason, women in this sector often have to face a multitude of problems. When I started to set out my own business, many people warned me. I was told that I was making a big mistake. They further told me that I was stepping into the wrong path (entrepreneurship) by forsaking my secured job. In fact, they believed women should not do business. According to them, people will say bad things about a woman if she owns a business of some sort! These words did not discourage me at all. I did not stop because of their words rather listened to my heart and concentrated on the path ahead of me.”Is your focus on women’s attires only?
“Yes. Currently we are only having dresses for women in our shops. In every outlet, you will find clothes and three-pieces from well-known brands in Pakistan and India of premium quality and trendy designs. Besides these, you will also find exquisite collection of dresses from our own country.”
What do you think is necessary for a woman to become a successful entrepreneur in our society?
“Times have changed. People are more supportive now. As a result more and more women are doing jobs or establishing their own business now. Even then, a section of our society still tries to discourage women so that they do not work in this sector. They will never be able to have an impact in your work or your life if you are surrounded by people who support you- your family, friends and well wishers. These are the people who shall keep you motivated and help you move forward despite every obstacle. The second thing that I want to mention is security. In our society, there is a huge lack of security for women. If a woman is ensured of her safety, I believe she will be able to accomplish a lot as an entrepreneur. Nothing can stop her then.”
What is your future plan with ‘Lina’s Thousand Things?’
“Every entrepreneur wants to expand his/her business. I also long for this. I hope someday ‘Lina’s Thousand Things’ will be known as a popular premium clothing brand of Bangladesh that will cater to every fashion need of women. In the future, I hope to create our clothes with our own designs from our own production house. Please keep me in your prayer so that my dream comes true.”