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Road to retail

  • Published at 08:16 pm March 8th, 2020
Photos: Courtesy

In conversation with Rabita Rashid Majumdar – owner of RR

Most of the fashion enthusiasts know Rabita Rashid Majumdar for her recent successful venture RR (Rabita Rashid). Being the mother of two sons at a very young age, Rabita has managed to balance her work life, along with her personal life, quite well. “ I know as a mother I have responsibilities towards my sons and I don’t forget to perform them, but also as an independent woman, I have responsibilities towards my work which I try to manage my level best,” said Rabita while discussing  her journey.

After studying a few semesters at North South University, Rabita decided to apply for a degree in  international business at Brunel University of London,  and went there to complete her bachelor’s degree. After finishing the degree, she came back to Bangladesh for a while. “Even though I did my bachelor’s in international business, from my childhood, I was very enthusiastic about fashion. And one of the reasons is because I grew up seeing my family business.  And that’s how I decided to come up with this venture,” said Rabita. Her father and uncles used to take her to their factory to give her an idea about how the garment business runs, and every time the entire process of making a piece of clothing used to excite her.  “In our country, all the designers or whoever works in the fashion industry is born as a tailor, and I think this is a luxury,” she added.

“From the beginning, I was interested in fabrics, trends, different cuts, and most importantly local motifs and crafts. After some time, I felt like taking a risk to pursue my career in this line,” informed Rabita.  She never really wanted to pursue a degree in fashion designing, since she never wanted to be labelled as a “fashion designer”.  For Rabita, what’s more important is to be able to mix fashion and business, rather than being  tagged as a designer. The process of it all is what she finds more fascinating.

When she told her father that she wants to pursue her career in fashion and garments, the only thing her father suggested was to get a professional degree first, and to know more about the sector  academically. So before going for her masters, Rabita went for a short course on fashion in Manhattan for four months. “And it was during that time  when my fashion sense evolved greatly. I got the chance to meet professional people, as well as people who observe businesses differently and learn from them. Then I applied for my master's in fashion merchandising at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and got selected for that,” said Rabita.

Right after she started pursuing her master’s degree, Rabita got married, and by the time she had finished her degree, she became the mother of her first child. Throughout the time, Rabita knew she had to work with confidence, and create her own identity. She wanted to break the taboo that a woman can’t do everything at the same time, which she did, and wants more women to do the same.

After her master's she came back to Bangladesh and joined her family business. And besides that, she used to organize private and corporate events with her elder brother. “That was the time when I was exploring  what the possibilities were, and did not want to limit my work,” she said.

When Rabita had finished her bachelor’s and came back to Dhaka, one of her friends approached her to do an exhibition with a few of her creations,  and Rabita grabbed the opportunity. And without having an established line, she successfully sold all of her designs in that first exhibition. With that idea and confidence, RR was born.  After finishing her masters and gathering so many experiences, she finally decided to call RR a ‘retailer shop’. Being a part of the family garment business, she started producing a small chunk of clothing designed and developed by her for RR. And within a very short time, she did create a space in the market by herself.  She wanted her pieces to be different, simple but modified. 

Rabita uses local fabrics, with a mixture of fusion cuts and motifs. And she has successfully established her trend. “We do our research, we try to know the market and recent changes in trend and then develop our products. So for me, it’s very important to know the ins and outs before jumping into anything.”

She wanted to establish a structured business rather than having just a boutique. And after a while, she started sending her designs to Unimart. Rabita always felt like it’s very important to be observant and to take the opportunities. It’s always good to take the risk. But before that, it’s always good to research the market as well. Even if you fail, you will learn something from it.

Besides maintaining RR, and organizing corporate, as well as private events, she has another venture of her own which is a flower shop -- Fleur-De-Lis by Icreation. Rabita came up with this idea while organizing  the events.  For her, it’s always necessary to leave a fresh and positive impression wherever you go and in whatever you do. With flowers, it can be done quite easily.

Running  multiple businesses and  her family, while raising two sons, Rabita is managing everything gracefully. Whenever she feels like she can’t do it anymore, Rabita pushes herself up, stands strong and tells herself that the sky is the limit. In the future, she plans to do something for the women who feel like giving up and tell them that there is nothing they can’t do and how they should never limit themselves.

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