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Sunday, October 2, 2022

‘Jermatz’ Grapples to become a jute-products haven

In conversation with Ismat Jerin Khan, Founder and Managing Director of ‘Jermatz Limited’ ‘Jermatz Limited’ has received an award as “Certified Women’s Business Enterprise” from WEConnect International which is a global network that connects women-owned businesses to qualified buyers around the world.

In conversation with Ismat Jerin Khan, Founder and Managing Director of ‘Jermatz Limited’ ‘Jermatz Limited’ has received an award as “Certified Women’s Business Enterprise” from WEConnect International which is a global network that connects women-owned businesses to qualified buyers around the world.

Ismat Jerin Khan, a journalist turned entrepreneur, never imagined in her wildest dreams that she would one day make jute items. However, she has had a natural talent for becoming an entrepreneur from childhood.

She decided to pursue her passion after obtaining her MBA, so she commenced ‘Jermatz,’ an export-oriented jute-based company, to pursue her dream a reality.

Pursuing a dream is only the tip of the iceberg; to make the dream a reality, the trip has been hardship, struggle and cumbersome.

“To start a new company, you’ll need a smart business strategy, enough finance, and qualified people resources to run it efficiently. There are no shortcuts to business success; an entrepreneur must be perseverant, patient, hardworking, and creative,” Khan emphasized.

“When I originally launched my company back in 2014, I only had a modest investment, which was an obstacle for me to overcome,” Ismat reflected on an early business setback. Finding new consumers, accessing local and worldwide markets, building the brand’s image, and finding the right staffs to run the company were all obstacles in addition to money.”

“At the moment, we have received a land allocation from Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) Dhamrai, Savar where we have a plan to start our project in future. Because all of our products are handmade, when the volume of work orders increases, we also increase the number of artisans,” she explained.

Jermatz Limited maintains a showroom in Hatirpool’s Eastern Plaza, where it sells a wide range of products including bags, purses, folders, table mats, prayer mats, doormats, carpets, and room dividers, among other things.

“It takes time, hard effort, devotion, and focus to achieve success. So I focus and dedicate myself to my business activities, and that,” according to Ismat, is the mantra of success.

Aside from ‘Jermatz,’ Ismat served as a director at the SME Foundation for 4 years, which helps SMEs develop strategies and flourish.

Policy advocacy and intervention for the growth of SMEs, facilitating financial supports for SMEs, providing skill development and capacity building training, facilitating adaptation with appropriate technologies and access to ICT, providing business support services, and so on are some of the major activities of the SME foundation, according to Ismat.

Ismat Jerin Khan, president of the Patuakhali Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PWCCI), helps young and aspiring entrepreneurs start companies and develop business plans.

“I have been an active member and president of (PWCCI) since its inception, and we have taken many initiatives to improve the business of young entrepreneurs as such—organizing numerous training programs, arranging loans from banks, formulating business ideas, creating a successful business plan, and forming a business, among other things,” she stated.

Khan mentioned that jute yarn is spun and prepared for use in weaving, knitting, and producing sewing threads, which presents certain obstacles. She believes that this raw resource should be more widely available in our country.

She proposed that designing labs to make novel jute-based products in line with current international trends might broaden the trade’s reach.

Jermatz Limited recently showcased jute-made goods and presented a varied assortment of products with vivid designs at the recently concluded month-long DITF-2022 fair. Since 2015, Jermatz has been addressing the local need for jute products.

Ismat Jerin Khan, the company’s managing director, said they brought about thirty jute products to the exhibition, including runners, circular floor mats, oval mats, fruit baskets, square baskets, dinner mats, table mats, handbags, and ladies purses.

“We received orders from overseas buyers as Floormat and table mat of 1,000 pieces have already been placed by a foreign buyer,” Ismat Jerin Khan stated. Another international buyer expressed an interest in purchasing plate mats or purchasing samples from us,”

“We included a couple of goods at this fair, such as home decor items like rugs, baskets, bedsheets, and shoes, all of which are made of jute,” Ismat Jerin Khan explained.

Baskets and floor mats were the most popular items at last year’s event, with prices ranging from Tk 80 to Tk 1,000. This year, ten percent discounts were available on a variety of jute products.

“For those who are ready to place an order,” she added, “we also took corporate orders.”

When queried about the price, she responded that all of the things are available for between Tk 50 and Tk 5,000.

“We already sell jute products to countries such as Germany and Austria,” she stated when asked about exporting jute items.

During the Pandemic, demand for sustainable and environmentally friendly goods skyrockets. So Jermatz is taking a giant leap in the right direction by producing jute items made from sustainable fibers.

Sharif Ahmed

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