FASHION OPTICS LTD IS THE MOST POPULAR OPTICIAN BRAND IN BANGLADESH. WHAT ARE THE STRENGTHS OF THE COMPANY THAT ALLOWED IT TO ENJOY CONTINUED SUCCESS?
Over the journey of nearly five decades, Fashion Optics Limited has established itself as the most trusted optician brand in the country. Our unrelenting pursuit of delivering the best products and services has been the core strength of the company. People do not want to take any chances when it comes to eye care, therefore, it is pivotal for such services to be competent and trustworthy. Fashion Optics has been able to gain the trust of the customers through paralleled quality and good practice. Being identified as a symbol of confidence for hundreds of thousands of people across the country is perhaps our greatest achievement. Success might come at some point, but being able to retain it and keep progressing is much more challenging.
Currently, we operate 12 optical showrooms at the heart of the capital city. There are some sister concerns of Fashion Group – Fashion Optical showroom was established in 1978,Medical equipment department in 1988, CR 39 Lab and Ego vision in 1990, Fashion Eye Hospital and Hira Panna Foundation in 1999, Eyetech Ltd in 2014, Shades in 2016. At present, Fashion Group has around 500 employees working for it.
CAN YOU PLEASE SHARE SOME DETAILS ABOUT YOUR PERSONAL LIFE?
I was born at Sirajdikhan Upazila of Munshiganj and brought up in Agrabad, Chattogram due to my father’s posting at the time. It was where I completed both my secondary and higher secondary education from Chattogram Agrabad School and Chattogram Commerce College respectively. Later, I was married to Freedom Fighter Nazrul Islam, Sector Commander, Sector 11 on 12 December 1976.
I am a proud mother of three established children, excelling at their professions at different corners of the world. My eldest daughter Farzana Islam completed her studies in England and is currently the lecturer of a university in London. Her younger sister Farhana Islam is also working as a lecturer at the University of Long Island after having completed her PhD in the USA.
My youngest child, Fahimul Islam has joined as the director of Fashion Group after graduating from City University of New York, USA. He has been successfully operating the business and also completed an MBA from BRAC University recently.
PLEASE TELL US ABOUT THE EARLY DAYS OF FASHION OPTICS LIMITED. WERE YOU INVOLVED WITH THE BUSINESS FROM THE START?
After independence, my husband, Freedom Fighter Nazrul Islam took on business as a profession and started a wholesale shop of eyecare products named Fashion Optics in 1975 at Patuatuli (Sadarghat). That was the start of our story which has now become the biggest optician brand in Bangladesh. I used to support my husband from time to time to run the business. Unfortunately, he passed away after suffering a heart attack in 2010. It was perhaps the most painfully difficult time of my life.
Consequently, it was on me to lead the business and take care of my three children. Regardless, I was determined to fulfil both. I joined as the Chairman of Fashion Group and focused completely on the business after ensuring all my children were able to go study abroad. It was challenging for me to succeed in an environment dominated by males, however, I was focused on succeeding for the sake of my children, the company and its employees. In the end, I am proud to realise that all the hard work and sacrifices have paid off.
WHAT IS YOUR LEADERSHIP STYLE? WHAT QUALITIES MUST A PERSON POSSESS TO BECOME A SUCCESSFUL LEADER?
Confidence is the key to success. Adaptability is a trait, try to adapt to your environment. Learning to adapt to all changes in life especially in business will only lead you towards success. When you learn, you utilise the learnings for the growth of your organisation and yourself. The leader and the employees of the organisation also need to evolve with the changing dynamics. It might involve adapting to new technologies or changing the way the company operates. Therefore, innovation is pivotal for growth.
You have to focus on innovative approaches for the betterment. Investing time and resources will help in the growth of the business. Clear and effective communication in both directions is key to peak performance.
Gratitude makes you a better leader. Courage is a key skill for good leaders – It helps me to do things in the right direction. Try to be honest to yourself and open to others even if you feel unwilling or reluctant. This will add value to your profile when done at the right moment. Being honest adds up to your reputation. People tend to follow an honest leader. When you have a true confident mindset, it allows you to take risks.
Increase your visibility, put out your offers continuously without worrying about judgement or rejections. A great leader possesses a clear vision. You have to be goal-oriented. Always focus on your goals. Keep in mind that you have to reach your goal. Always keep learning, build consistency in your way of life. I have always been willing to go the extra mile and do whatever it takes.
I have never seen any other option than succeeding – taking failures as learnings and picking myself back up to keep going. It is about strength, both mental and physical, continuing to push through even when it feels impossible is indeed the leader’s way of dealing with things.
DO YOU HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS FOR THE ASPIRING WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS IN THE COUNTRY?
I am proud to identify myself as a woman entrepreneur. It is extremely challenging for female entrepreneurs to establish themselves in the country because of various socio-economic obstacles. Their opinions are taken lightly and often face unfair scrutiny over mistakes. However, aspiring entrepreneurs should face challenges and learn from their mistakes.
Do not let fear keep you from dreaming big. Every day you have to face new challenges and grow stronger. Whatever you do, do not give up and move forward to your destination. Success will reach you.
PLEASE TELL US MORE ABOUT SOME CSR ACTIVITIES OF FASHION OPTICS LTD.
Fashion Optics Limited is aware and keen to fulfil its responsibilities toward society. It has regularly hosted free eye checkup camps in Dhaka city at different locations. Recently a successful free eye camp was held at Mohakhali DOHS and we got a huge response from it. We aim to create awareness about eye care through our camps and increase its access.
We have also been providing free services for eye diseases, different types of eye operations and optical instruments to the insolvent freedom fighters with the recommendation of the central command council of freedom fighters since 1999. Hira Panna Hospital was established at Vaggokul of Sreenagar Upazilla under Munshiganj District in 2005 as a permanent project of the Hira Panna foundation.
The foundation has continued to serve medicines, operations and spectacles facilities for making preventable blind free Munshiganj District. Fashion Optics values its customers and recognises their loyalty through special gifts every year. This year we made a list of top hundred customers and sent them our token of appreciation.