What started off as a small shop in Green Super Market has now become a leading fashion brand in Bangladesh. Founder of Cats Eye Ashrafun Siddiqui Dora walks us through this journey
Photographs from Cats Eye
n 1980, when the idea of cotemporary fashion was just teething, Cats Eye began their journey to entice customers with cool, comfy and trendy designs. The overwhelming response they received led them to open the store, initially offering designer clothes for men only.
Founders of Cats Eye, Sayeed Siddiqui Rumi and Ashrafun Siddiqui Dora have built a brand that has thrived over the years, sprawling in 24 stores around the city for the avid shoppers.
“In 1979, I received a beautiful cats’ eye locket, a gemstone which has intense planetary energies, from my husband which I treasured. Hence, the name Cats Eye came to me instantly,” shares Dora. And the rest as they say is history.
Cats Eye has always excelled at creating styles and designs that were global yet local. “Our mission is to create a style statement that suits the discerning individual, while keeping a stringent eye on quality and yet being affordable.
“The unique styles are created based on years of experience and keeping up with global trends that have placed our brands as the leader in the market,” shares Dora. She administers the distribution and merchandising whereas her daughters Raffaella and Rummaella now look after the designs. “Every design is very close to our heart and the final product is always a result of great teamwork, says Dora. For the longest time, the creative designs were taken care of by Rumi.
Foresight and catching the right trends is essential for the success of a business. Be it going digital or choosing the right ambassador, Cats Eye played to their strengths. Taking the vocalist of Nemesis, Zohad Reza Chowdhury as their brand ambassador has helped the brand reach the youth as well. “Zohad is a favourite among the youth and we thought he would be just the right fit for our brand,” Keeping up with the pace of the digital world, they ran a unique digital campaign with Zohad for their Facebook page.
Dora juggles her roles between being an entrepreneur, a mother and a wife beautifully. With a big smile she says, “I am done with juggling three roles. My children have grown up now and are handling our business wonderfully. So that makes me a happy grandmother now enjoying my time with my grand children.”
Cats Eye is chic, trendy and comfortable, and Dora’s style too is on the same boat. “I follow my own rules when it comes to fashion; I keep a balance between bold and simple. I am careful when choosing a specific colour or material for an occasion,” she elaborates.
With Eid around the bend, Cats Eye is planning to bring out a colourful and vibrant Eid collection. Lots of bold and pastel colours will rule this season. Keeping tradition in mind, new cuts, fusion with prints and floral designs will also be available.
In spite of being on the pinnacle of success, Dora tries to stay grounded and follows her father’s advice. Dora shares her father’s words saying, “My father always told me to dream big but to achieve it slowly. He said that when one enjoys success, they should still be mindful of those who have helped in making this possible.”
Lastly, she doles out advice for the emerging fashion entrepreneurs. “Keep working hard; while you’re at it stay true and focused to your passions. Be informed about what others are doing but maintain your own signature style. Uniqueness always stands out.”