|Home | Issues | The Daily Star Home | Volume 2, Issue 39, Tuesday April 5, 2005|
Sally Ann: A cozy corner for coffee and handicrafts
Tucked away in Banani, is Sally Ann. This relatively less known shop, a project of the UK-based Salvation Army, stocks great ideas for gifts or the home. Among the products on display, are an array of leaf baskets, cushion covers, bags, table cloths, silk and handloom fabric, bangles, necklaces wrought iron and wood work furniture and handmade paper boxes. What's more, there is a quiet corner where the visitor can stop by to have a cup of coffee and delicious waffles.
Describing its objectives, Lieutenant Colonel Ethne Flintoff, officer commanding of the Salvation Army and managing director of the shop says, "The mission of Sally Ann is to pay fair wages for fair work, provide safe and clean places of work, promote gender equality, give dignity to the workers and develop their self-esteem."
Sally Ann and the Salvation Army have changed the lives of the deprived sections of Bangladesh. Take the case of Sajjadul Sajjat, a handloom operator who comes from a family of two brothers and five sisters. His father was a handloom operator and taught his trade to the young Sajjat. Despite his lifelong operation of looms, Sajjat could not make a decent living. All that changed when the Salvation Army's Community Health and Development Project in Jessore was scouting for handloom operators. Since his selection, he receives a regular and fair wage because of the demand for his products. Now he is married and shoulders the monetary needs of his family. He also contributes his share to the joint expenses of his extended family.
Sally Ann, and the Salvation Army, has transformed many poor people into wage earners. Workers report that they have been able to better feed, clothe and house their children, thereby coming out of the vicious cycle of poverty.
Sally Ann Bangladesh is the first of its kind. The shop began as one room in 1997. It grew until finally in 2002, the Sally Ann personnel took on the whole ground floor for the shop. "It has been a very gradual expansion," says Lieutentant Colonel Ethne Flintoff.
Sally Ann became a separate company at the end of December 2003.It was registered as a company. Now there is another Sally Ann outlet in Oslo, Norway and business is growing between the shop in Bangladesh and Norway.
The senior managers of Sally Ann and the Salvation Army are now looking outwards. Their aim is to have a global Sally Ann. As Lieutenant Flintoff says, "Currently, it is mostly Bangladesh trading with Norway. However, we feel there are other developing countries which can produce quality goods. So there is the strong possibility of launching a Sally Ann International group of companies. This is our vision for the future."
By Kavita Charanji.
Silk is the royalty of dress materials. There was a time when only a few could purchase it because of its high price. Post liberation war saw a lot of entrepreneurs creating or bringing in and incorporating silk into the fashion. Rajshahi silk, one of the prime examples of this material, gradually started to gain wide acceptance in the market. In the 80's, local producers went head to head against foreign manufacturers by creating items for both men and women at an affordable price. Silk came within the grasp of the regular people.
One such pioneer is Doyel Silk. They take a lot of the credit for producing delicate local silk saris made in unusual and interesting combinations of colour and texture. They started by opening a silk sari showroom in Rajshahi in the 80's. Chemical and vegetable dyes were used to create block and batik designs. The designs were made using power looms by designers Nilufar Jahan Baabli who presently lives in Paris and Mira Karim who used to do the block work. Besides them also many enthusiastic students form the Rajshahi University and Medical colleges would drop by to try their hand at designing.
The fame reached Dhaka as well and a showroom was opened at the Mamtaj Plaza. The weekly Bichitra organized an Eid fashion contest where it has been awarded the best quality and achievement through 1991 to 1999. They have not only remained in saris but also covered other areas namely men's clothing. Doyel Silk has been primarily focusing on each Bengali festival for their design inspirations.
In their collection you will find regular silk, raw silk, muslin, garod and ND silk. Designs are made using blocks, screen, hand paint and jacquard to create floral or geometric patterns. These saris are exclusive because each has a unique design, colour or a combination of these. Doyel Silk has been successful in trying to present silk differently and uniquely in a way that the common people can also afford it. At present, they have opened another showroom at the Genetic Plaza.
Adroit Collection inaugurated their third outlet in Banani on March 25, 2005. Adroit is essentially a clothing store. This small yet tastefully decorated store on Road # 10, Banani upholds quite a large collection of salwar kameez, sari, punjabi, fatua, kids wear and shirts. The shop has a really good collection of cotton saris. Their kota saris especially are eye-catching and display neat embroidery and work in sequins. The hand painted and block printed saris are trendy too and the light shaded saris are ideal for summer. The prices of their saris will vary from tk.795 to around tk.2575.
The store also has a good collection of punjabi and fatua for men, and prices for these will vary from tk.495 to tk.2475, and tk.350 to tk.550 respectively. You can purchase cotton shalwaar kameez sets from Adroit at affordable prices. The price of their shalwaar kameez will be between tk.695 and tk.1775. Adroit also stitches shirts from quality imported fabric, and prices will vary between tk.425 and tk.775. The store also has a stock of very reasonably priced ties for men; the price of these imported ties is within tk.295 to tk.350. Their kids wear collection is characterised by cosy cotton frocks and fatua.
At Adroit, you will also come across a limited yet fashionable collection of costume jewellery. Perfumes and deodorants are also available at this well-decorated outlet. The interior decor is attractive with the ceiling done wonderfully in red and black. With two branches already operating in Rangs Anam Plaza in Dhanmondi, the third store has been opened up to serve the people living in this part of the capital. You too can visit Adroit Collection to purchase quality cotton dresses at very reasonable prices, especially their saris which can be a good addition to your summer wardrobe. Address: House# 66, Road# 1, Block# D, Banani, Dhaka
By Wara Karim
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