Rida Designing

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, alhamdollillah.

How did you expand into the export business?

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.

Where do you hold rida exhibitions?

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.

Was it difficult to balance family and work?

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 them permanently..

What is the most challenging aspect of your business?

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.

What gives you most satisfaction?

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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