trends and tradition
Pride Textiles has been a name synonymous with the production of quality and affordable saris for Bangladeshi women for about fifteen years now. Pride as we know it, began in earnest in the year of 1991, when it started with a shop at the TMC Shopping Complex in New Eskaton. It was an instant hit and captured the minds of most people across the country. And since then Pride has never looked back.
Producing quality but affordable garments has always been Pride's main aim. As one of the directors Abdul Momen puts it, "Prides strives to produce quality garments for the middle class of population." Momen believes that most large companies and industries always produce for either the lower ranges or highest ends of the population. The middle class is all but forgotten and it is here that Pride finds most of its customers. Almost all their saris are priced within a range that makes it affordable to the average Bangladeshi family.
Pride history: how it all began
This is what we know. What most people do not know is that Pride as a company has been in existence for nearly fifty years now. The seeds that ultimately bore fruit, to what is perhaps the oldest and most famous brand in Bangladesh were sown in the long ago year of 1958. It is a homage, to the far sighted vision of Mr. Halimur Rahman who established Dacca Textiles in that year and laid the foundation to what would in the future turn out to be Pride Textiles. At that time, Halimur Rahman was employed in EPSCIC and it is from there that he got the idea of establishing a garment factory that would supply saris to the middle class of the population.
Most people also reckon that the success that Pride achieved during the 90's was what propelled Pride into the limelight and subsequently huge success. But as Momen says it was nothing new to them, as they had seen it all before.
It was just after the War of Independence in 1971 that Pride first announced itself to the people of Bangladesh. As Momen explains, at that time the market was flooded with imported saris from neighbouring countries, most of all India. All the big firms there could afford to charge lower prices than the infant industries in Bangladesh. As a result most of the population were eager to buy from that market. However there existed within the people a feeling of patriotism, still strong soon after the war. Pride Textiles and its team managed to ingenuously tap into this. They produced quality garments and at rates almost on par with their Indian competition. The people eager to buy anything from their own independent nation lapped it up eagerly. Pride as an industry boomed and managed to find a way into the hearts of average Bangladeshis- a position they still retain even to this day.
Affordability& quality: the tom solution
"The sari is without doubt the most beautiful, artistic and sensuous piece of clothing available for women," says Momen. Most people, I have no doubt, would readily agree. Not only does the sari possess a high artistic and intrinsic value; it is also the piece of clothing that portrays almost perfectly the culture of our land. Finally and perhaps most importantly it is the one article of clothing that we (or our forefathers) can lay claim to have contributed to the world.
Pride has always wanted to be recognised chiefly for the production of saris and they have achieved that goal with huge success. The integral aspect of Pride and the saris that they produce is most obviously an affordable price but another aspect that is oft overlooked is that in spite of the price there is absolutely no compromise on quality.
As Momen puts it, Pride believes in TQM or Total Quality Management. While most business majors would be familiar with the term, for the benefit of those who are not I shall venture an explanation. In essence TQM is employed to eliminate any chances of error through stringent methods of checking at every aspect of the production rather than at the end. Having observed Pride's methods of Quality Control, I was left doubly impressed. Many would question the amount of quality control that goes into a sari of that price range. Visiting Pride's factories and looking through their regulations would leave doubters with a red face. There is a huge division of labour and every component of the production line has to finish its job perfectly. Work is carried out in two distinctive shifts and there are managers assigned at every level of the job and workers must report to their assigned manager at the day's end too and show that s/he has completed the required amount necessary for the day. The atmosphere is challenging and workers strive to produce their best since there are incentives if they perform above potential.
Pride is also a firm believer in the "empowerment of women," with a staggering 60 percent of the nearly 5000 workers of Pride Group being females. Momen explains this saying that not only does this give women more work and hence money, it also serves them well to learn a new skill that they can use for their benefit in the future.
Board of directors: themen behind pride
The saris that we see on display in Pride's many outlets in the city have been subject to some of the most serious testing both in terms of comfort derived from the garment and also in how they look. Momen Rahman puts the credit for this firmly on the lap of his brother and fellow Director, Dr. Abdul Moyeen, who when he is not thinking up new strategies for quality control, is a professor of Dhaka University. Momen himself finds time to teach a course at the Institute of Business Administration in Dhaka University. Pride is very much the family business as the Board of Directors is rounded off by Abdul Moyeed, the eldest of the trio of brothers, who have inherited it from their father Halimur Rahman.
Designers: Constant innovation
A lot of the credit for the success of Pride's work goes to its designers who are constantly thinking up diversified ranges of designs to use on garments. Pride is not content to rest on their considerable laurels and reckons setting challenges as a good way of staying a step ahead of the competition. They still use their tried and trusted methods of designing or screen printing but are eager to intermingle it with new fresh ideas that would pave the way for more success.
Momen puts this intense attitude towards quality into perspective. "Pride produces saris that are fit not only for the average Bangladeshi woman or mother but that can also be graced by the Prime Minister of the country." He stresses that the way a garment looks and the comfort you derive from it are the two most important variables in the sari's makeup. Once you get that formula correct-success is almost guaranteed.
Other intrests and the final word
Hard work leads to success and Pride Textiles epitomises that. The chain of production starting from the very first stage of weaving the yarn to the forced shrinking process of mercerising and finally on to the finished product that we buy from the outlets is a process that is little known but should be highly commended.
Pride is also involved in the export of garments although the Bangladeshi sari does not feature in the list of exported items. Most of what they export is children's clothing and almost all of it is exported to European countries and in particular the European retailer Zara. Amongst some of their lesser-known exploits is the production of towels and men's undergarments.
Pride has a number of outlets in numerous shopping centres in Dhaka city. While Pride outlets cater to the middle class, Amvaree is priced somewhat higher and caters to a more exclusive segment of the population.
All in all, Pride represents a Bangladeshi success story. It has survived the test of time and looks set for a wonderful future.
By Quazi Zulquarnain Islam
Models: Shormi and Rini
Makeup: Farzana Shakil
Photo: Zahedul I Khan