Early in her career, Shafia Shama started a business with her own financing. Being determined and hardworking from the beginning, she gradually climbed up the ladder of success and founded two brands, namely M/S Shama and Uran.
M/S Shama, known for its diversified jute items such as corporate gift products, bags and decorative items, is a recognized international brand. Her clothing line, Uran, has been greatly appreciated throughout the country since 2003.
After having success in her clothing business, Shafia wanted to focus on a product for export. “I decided to work with customized jute products for their eco-friendly and profit-driven nature and began selling products in the global supply chain in 2013,” says Shafia.
At first it was challenging to counter the stereotypes that family, friends and colleagues had regarding the usage of jute, which has traditionally been limited to sacks. With custom-tailored designs, she worked diligently with her team and produced corporate gift items, such as fashion bags, laptop bags etc. from jute with internationally approved quality. “Doing business with jute gave me an identity,” quotes Shafia.
But it wasn’t always easy, and she struggled a great deal. First, she had to overcome the challenges from the family because she chose to be a businesswoman. Regarding trade, she faced obstacles due to unavailability of certain raw materials, access to finance, and lack of account management and networking skills.
In order to overcome her lack of key business skills, in 2019 she attended trainings organized by Corporate Connect, a World Bank project in Bangladesh. She shares, “Among many things I learned how to maintain accounts efficiently and develop short, mid and long-term business plans by participating in the trainings. By joining matchmaking sessions offered by Corporate Connect, I got business leads, which were effective in expanding my business.”
Shafia believes that the uniqueness of her brand has led to the growth of the business. She remains committed to keep her business environment-friendly and sustainable.