HOME WORK – Working Women’s Inspiring Stories
Muneera Currim’s rida’s are almost a fashion statement – unusual fabrics, different kinds of mix and match and smart cuts make her ridas stand out in a crowd. Muneera’s business in Kolkata, however, encompasses more than designing ridas - she also has a garment export business and is constantly looking for new opportunities to grow. Here’s an insight into an inspiring journey by an enterprising business woman.
How did you start your business?
It all started because I could not find good dresses for my little daughter to wear when she was just a year old. I had always enjoyed designing so I got down to creating little frocks for my baby. I would sew them and embroider them myself. Friends loved them and wanted me to make dresses for their children. It was not possible for me to do this on my own, so I found an excellent tailor who could execute my designs and a girl who would do the embroidery. This was way back in l982. My advantage was that I had done a two year course in dress designing and pattern making and an intensive course in machine embroidery.
How did your business grow?
With Maula's doa my tiny little business grew and I graduated to
salwaar suits. I had been doing this for about a year, when
Sh.Malekul-Ashtar Bhaisaheb bestowed upon us the honour of gracing our
humble house with his presence. He told me to start making ridas.
Immediately we did araz to Mola for his blessings in this venture and thus
started M.A.CURRIM as a proprietorship company with the brand name Muneera.
Very soon I found a workshop very close to where live. I installed one
sewing machine and employed one tailor on a permanent basis. I took on all
types of tailoring and embroidery jobs for women along with my ridas . I now
started holding rida exhibitions annually in Mumbai which did well,
A few years later, one of my clients wanted me to make a few
dresses as export samples. I got my first export order for 1,000 pieces of
girls frocks. So alongwith my ridas, the export business grew. From one
machine, I graduated to 20 machines; had to hire another place which became
the tailoring unit. By this time my son had graduated and he decided to join
me. We now export our dresses to the Middle East and far east directly. All
the manufacturing, be it ridas or dresses, is all done inhouse with the
strictest quality control.
I hold rida exhibitions every 3 months in Mumbai, twice annually
in Hong Kong, once a year in Singapore. I have a ready stock for my clients
here and also take on orders specially bridal clothes. My daughter who
worked with me before she got married, handles the Hong Kong and
Singapore exhibitions and clients there.
It was of course difficult when I began since I had two small children and a house to run but as I am fortunate in having an understanding husband, I could manage the juggling act.
What do you enjoy best about your work?
I love creating an ensemble and what gives me the utmost
satisfaction is the joy on the wearer' face. As ridas is basically a couture
range, price is not a factor. I design ridas keeping in mind the age and
personality of my client. For the young ones, I try to incorporate some
international cuts. It gave me great pleasure once to hear a young client of
mine tell me - aunty if I can wear ridas like these, I don’t mind wearing
Exports is very challenging as we are competing with the might of
China; but with the doa of Aqa Maula (TUS)
we have carved a small niche for our product and we hope to grow in this
field as there are very few manufacturing exporters.
People sometimes ask me what is the best thing that I have
created - my instant reply is my two children - my daughter who is a
talented designer and my son who is a strong pillar in my export business.
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