The pair-fect idea
The undergrads are an overwhelming time for most students – between learning to be responsible for their own schedules for the first time, to juggling classes, grades and having a social life, merely keeping one’s head above water is a challenge. There are a few students, however, who also recognize this as a time to prepare for the world beyond the degree, and these are the ones who are able to get a head start while their peers are floundering.
Dhaka entered the start-up boom a little under a decade ago, and the combination of the rapid economic growth and a young population has seen some truly dynamic businesses making their debut. The enterprising youth are braving uncertainty and taking a plunge into the exciting process of turning their passions into businesses.
Khan Jamshed, a student of Independent University, Bangladesh is one of those early birds who saw an opportunity and seized it. When he was younger, he used to design simple, comfortable sandals and loafers for himself and his family members. When his creations started gaining positive feedback, he realized there was business potential here, and got right down to setting it up. Months of research, testing, trial and error led to KJ, an online store for handmade everyday shoes for both men and women.
The road to launch
The design and production turned out to be the easy part, as Jamshed already had a clear idea about the product he was making. He raised funds for four years from tutoring, and used that as seed money to get KJ going. Taking a small amount of floor space from his family’s factory in Chattogram, he converted into a workshop and hired four workers to help produce the shoes. The biggest challenge for Jamshed, a student of Electrical & Electronics Engineering, was to learn the ropes of e-commerce and to set up shop. “Every day I learn something new, and find new ways to redesign my business strategy” he admits.
Foot loose and fancy free
KJ’s strengths lie in comfort and practicality. The designs are simple and minimalistic, yet chic. Jamshed designs the shoes and chooses the material himself to ensure comfort. Currently, the label offers loafers for men at Tk1,499 to 1,999, and sandals for women at Tk799 to 849. The versatility of the sandals have made them his best-selling products. “The response has been impressive” says Jamshed, adding that the increasing demands have compelled him to consider increasing the manpower at his factory. He has worked with bloggers and influencers to promote his products, and the feedback has been positive.
The comfort and practicality of the products, coupled with attractive pricing have made KJ shoes a big hit. Jamshed hopes to expand his portfolio to include casual wear for young people someday, but for now, his focus is on footwear.
To avail of the KJ goodies, place an order through their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/KJClothing/