|Home | Issues | The Daily Star Home | Volume 2, Issue 45, Tuesday May 17, 2005|
Cat's Eye goes silver
A designer's job is to anticipate and successfully predict trends which are going to be winners the upcoming season, and also whether the styles envisage are going to be acceptable to general buyers or not. It's the basic of any designing lesson.
While it seems like an easy job, to keep the market always up to date and trendy can be taxing. However for Cat's Eye, Bangladesh's first brand name in men's wear, it has been a routine job for the last 25 years. Keeping the clientele happy with trendy styles that speak comfort has been Cat's Eye's key to triumph and culmination of their silver jubilee celebration this year.
"It suddenly dawned on me that we are on our 25th year of business. It is an overwhelming feeling, more so because we have been passionately involved in this one line of work only and all our expansion had been a chain of this business," says Sayeed Siddiqui CEO, Cat's Eye. Siddiqui more popularly known as Rumi, explains "It was a passion that my wife Dora and I shared, while I look after the feminine side of the business she works out the money matters."
With 27 outlets and four brands--Cat's eye, Monsoon Rain, Ruby Red and Unlimited-- across Bangladesh theirs are the only chain shops that are established as brands in outfits for men. "I am very proud of the fact that we were the pioneers in this business here. 25 years is just a chunk of time in a lifetime and it's nothing, and after summing it all up I feel content that even our next generation is equally passionate about the business. I would say that's an achievement," he continues.
Cat's Eye is a reflection of Rumi and he has never thought of hiring other designers; he clarifies the fact that he is not a designer, not in the complete sense since he is restricted to men's wardrobe exclusively. However, he is moulding his first born pegging on the fact that her personality and his way of thinking would be the beginning of a new era for Cat's Eye and a continuation of his creative self that is so visible in each of its designs.
"I am teaching her the grammar of making a shirt and soon she'll be ready with her first line," he points out proudly.
The reason why Cat's Eye shirts are so sought among the locals is mainly because each piece is a perfect fit, where trend and comfort has been incorporated almost flawlessly. Moreover the making of it also took thorough research and painstakingly hard work.
Despite the fact that the business has increased over the years and many brands have come up on their own right in Bangladesh, Rumi feels ever optimistic.
"When we first opened our doors to consumers in Dhaka way back in 1983 it would not have been possible to run chain stores because the first 20 years after liberation the middle class was suppressed. Business cannot run only on nouveau riche customers; it's the middle class that determines the growth of a business, and they are the real buyers. The recent emergence of this class of consumers have been reason for booming business in Bangladesh; however, with it the high real estate cost has become a hindrance," he methodically explains.
While the middle class is one of the key elements of market economy, it is people like Rumi and his dynamic wife Dora who introduce them to the flashy and trendy world of consumerism and thus paddles the cycle of demand-supply-growth.
All four brands that they run have similar themes but with subtle differences. While Cat's Eye is trendy, Monsoon Rain is for the fashionable dressy executive; Ruby Red is more suitable for the young executive and Unlimited experiments with sport casuals. Put together, that's the story of a passionate couple working hard for the last 25years.
By Raffat Binte Rashid
Stylish and useful, a wristwatch is one of the few accessories that have survived the fickle fancies of the fashionistas throughout history. Whether you're giving yourself a treat or trying to make that special someone smile, a good dress watch is a sound investment.
Here's where Time Zone comes into the picture. A venture by the Kallol Group, this store offers a wide selection of brand-name watches from Rado, Radisson, Citizen, Omega, Tissot, and more.
The outlet at Kemal Ataturk is a stylish one, with its subdued colour scheme, soft lighting and dark wood display cases create an ambience of quiet sophistication. With so many brands to choose from, the price range is a wide one, but since these are big brands that are on offer, be prepared to spend.
The best thing about the place though, is the customer service. In a place like Dhaka, where 'service with a smile' is an utterly alien concept, Time Zone actually has salespeople who are not only well-dressed, polite and efficient, but trained to provide on-the-spot maintenance service like cutting/changing the wristbands, etc. All the watches come with a two-year guarantee, and big buyers also leave with a special free gift.
So if a trendy timepiece figures in your shopping list, be sure to give Time Zone a try.
Time Zone is located at 105, Iqbal Centre, Kemal Ataturk Road.
By Sabrina F Ahmad
Aarong Neem soap
Funky glass bangles
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