Hanium Maria Chowdhury talks about the making of Tahoor and her journey of transformation
Hanium Maria Chowdhury is the founder and the beautiful face behind Tahoor - the fashion brand that makes ethically hand crafted modest wear. She graduated from North South University in Applied Linguistics and started off her career as a teacher. After a while, she joined Asiatic, where she worked for nearly three and a half years, and headed the PR team. This time, Hanium sat down with Avenue T to talk about her journey of self discovery.
As the head of PR at Asiatic, she worked with several big brands such as Airtel, Robi, Marico, Lafarge, CEMEX, and Kaya Skin Clinic. For Hanium, the turning point in her career came about when she had her twins in 2011. She realized that she was falling short to give her new born kids the time and attention they needed and the fear of having to lose the experience of her kids’ childhoods, was the thing that made Hanium take a life-changing decision. With the birth of her kids, Hanium started to perceive the world around her quite differently, and she was not only thinking about herself, but also of her family. She realized that change was inevitable, and that change required a transformation of her current lifestyle, practices, and friends.
Her own struggles led Hanium to recognize that she needed to start the process of mending herself, along with the grooming and nurturing of her children so that they are well equipped to face the world outside. “There’s no need to be a ‘super mom’ to your kids, when one is dealing with a business or a glamorous job as well as a family,” says Hanium. “I realized that as a woman, I have the capacity to change the world inside my home where my children will grow up. My children were the first changing factors in my life. I began to enlighten herself spiritually by reading and studying of Quran, attending lectures and found myself more in peace with who I am, the more I practiced and understood Islam.”
And that is when Tahoor happened. Tahoor is one of the few brands that offers modest clothing options with a sense of style and the brand came to existence as an important part of Hanium’s own transformation.
When Hanium decided to take up the hijab, she gradually embarked upon a journey of change that began with herself. People would notice the way she carried herself, and be curious to know how she designed her clothes. Inspired from the interest of others in her attire, Hanium decided to help the urban young women of Dhaka, who wear hijabs or abayas, find a part of their identity by designing modest and elegant clothing for them.
“Tahoor is my way of helping the women in the city, who are going through the same struggles as I did, find a way of presenting themselves gracefully while maintaining their faith and identity,” informed Hanium.“Tahoor has a beautiful meaning that underpins the vision of the startup – purity, completing the incomplete, and quenching the thirst,” she explains, when asked about the story behind the name.
Since its inception in 2012, Tahoor has been grabbing the attention of people with its wide array of products, ranging from casual, formal and party wear to semi formal, fit for festivals and much more. They are customized according to the needs of customers, and there are also ready-made attires available in the store where one can choose from.
From January 2013 to March 2014, Hanium ran her store in a room from her home, but eventually moved to her own store at a convenient place in Panthapath, from where she is able to take care of her home and children. This year, Tahoor also launched a store in Banani. Tahoor has its own factory and workers who design the clothes, and has gained a considerable amount of attention even from international consumers within a very short time of its existence. “I think Tahoor is here because of its branding. My experience and learning in advertising and PR has helped me immensely. I have helped make such big brands, why couldn’t I make my own?” said Hanium.
The product line of Tahoor includes abayas, cloaks, shrugs, scarves, inner caps, hand sleeves, pull-over hijabs, kurtas, kaftans, party wear, anarkalis, and lehengas. Tahoor has their own Facebook page which is the primary medium of promotion, communication, and advertisement currently. They also host events and fairs. They are looking forward to launching their own website, and diversify the product line with more apparels and outfits that addresses a wide range of consumer needs.