Sahar illuminates us on fashion and creativity
Sahar Rahman is a Mompreneur who granted an interview with Urvi Shah of desigirlmagazine. She is a fashion designer by profession and a happy mother of two beautiful children. She was born in Saudi Arabia and raised in Pakistan. She currently resides in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Having traveled around so much, what were the challenges you faced in adapting to a new place?
We used to speak Urdu in Pakistan. People speak Bengali in Bangladesh. Adapting to a new language was the tricky part. Even today, I strive to perfect my Bengali. I do speak Bengali now, but with an Urdu accent. The attires and wedding proceedings are different too. But diversity is fun.
Is there a sizeable Urdu-speaking Community in Bangladesh, Sahar?
The Urdu-speaking community is comparatively more minor in Dhaka. But be it Pakistan or Bangladesh, Bollywood hugely influences the people. So, a majority of the Dhaka people can understand Urdu.
When did you decide to start a business, Sahar?
From the age of 16, I loved designing clothes. I was more into fashion than academics. Along with my little sister, who is also my best friend, I used to buy fabrics and try making attires. Then friends and neighbors started giving us good feedback. They said they would like to try our designed attires themselves. That was the first spark for my business. In the beginning, We just had a home exhibition. After marriage, my husband was very supportive and encouraged me to open my store. And I successfully did in 2014.
What motivates you, Sahar?
The appreciation and love from my clients and followers are my significant motivations. I have the responsibility never to let them down and stay deserving of their love.
What inspires your fashion designs, Sahar?
For my design, the latest trending designs that are buzzing are my inspiration. And the fashionable attires from the movies also influence my designs a lot.
How do you go about the fashion designing process?
The color palette is the first thing I decide. That’s where my personal taste comes in. Color is a powerful identification of an individual. I personally love working with pastels. I also love to mix and match the colors and designs. Playing with your creativity is fun. I’m blessed that it comes very naturally to me.
How do you balance your personal and professional life?
This is the question I get asked the most. The truth is, there is no balance. When you go to work, you need to give your 100%. Even your business is your baby.
And When home, it’s challenging to block out your work. But I try my best. With kids, I always find that quality time matters more than quantity. Playtime and reading stories together before bed is my favorite quality time with my kids. All you can do is try to give your best at both places.
How important is family support to you Sahar?
It’s the most important. Those with family support are the luckiest. Especially, the kids’ grandparents are a blessing when it comes to babysitting them. When my kids are with family, I can be at work without worry. Every working woman has Mom’s guilt constantly glued to her. But my mom and mom-in-law were working women themselves. And hence they always had motivating words for me. They always said, “You go work. Kids will grow and leave the nest. What will you do then? You should have your own life.”
What’s the secret of your productivity Sahar?
A lot of working hours. It’s been ten years since I’ve been in the business. I have got the ropes now. But I need to be both physically and mentally present in my work at all times. I need to be constantly alert and know what works for my company every day. My fantastic group of 200 artisans is a blessing. This well-trained and dependable team is another secret of my productivity.
Do taking vacations help improve your productivity?
I’m a workaholic. My brain keeps working even when I’m asleep. When you own a business, you can’t ever run away. Even during vacations, I can’t close my phone.
Did you ever suffer negative comments?
There will always be people who will try to bring you down. But there’s also a group of supporters. Focus on the positive. That’ll bring positivity to your life.
What’s your most significant achievement as a mother?
I made my daughter learn her letters during the lockdown! On a more serious note, I always try to inculcate my religion and faith in our kids. Seeing them following in my footsteps makes me a proud mother.
What was your biggest achievement as an entrepreneur?
Establishing a fashionable designer store in Dhaka. My husband, an interior designer, designed my store for me. I fall in love with my store every time I walk in.
What was your proudest moment Sahar?
I participated in a beautiful premium exhibition in Dhaka. Many other wonderful brands were there too. My mom, who was also there, got into conversation with one of the fellow designers. When she told him that she was my mom, his face lit up. “You are Sahar’s mom?” he asked, awestruck. And he began treating her like royalty. The joy on her face when she told me about it made me teary. Making my mom proud of me was my proudest moment.
Sahar, any tips for future entrepreneurs?
- Never think your dream is insignificant. Others’ opinion, validation, and approval of your dream isn’t required.
- A hundred percent dedication, hard work, and devotion towards work are very important.
- If you slack, so will your business. You need to keep working on it constantly try to improve it.
- Never giving up goes for all disciplines in life, more importantly, in business.
- Never let the mother’s guilt overpower you. Remind yourself how your kids themselves will be proud of a working mom in the future.