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6 YEARS ON...
9th September 2016, first exhibition. The beginning of a brand and a business, something we understood much later. What started as a ‘what if we try this?’ launched into an accidental entrepreneurial journey. And quite a journey it has been.
In August 2016, Kiran Babar (also my sister-in-law) came to me with a question, “Have you noticed there are no comfortable and fun kurta shalwars for boys in the market?” I have 2 boys and so does she. We became our first target customer profiles. With our own savings invested we started scouting for fabrics and a team that could realize our product concept.
In the following 1 month we made 20 pieces of kurta sets of different designs, created a Facebook page, clicked pictures from our phones, and uploaded these unedited product images for the world to view. There was no formal business or marketing plan. We had thrust ourselves into completely new territory of design, production, social media marketing, sales and client servicing- things neither Kiran or I had formally been educated on, or frankly even realized we would need.
Our first exhibition was held at home. 20 pieces on a rack, a Facebook campaign and some nail biting wait to see if anyone would show up (this was the time when e-commerce was new, Daraz.pk was just 4 years old, cash on delivery was not the norm, and Facebook marketing was somewhat akin to todays kids trying to turn on an antenna TV). Yet, an hour later we were left with 5 pieces on the rack!
That day something unimaginable and magical had happened. That day TLM (then called The Little Man) was born.
We started with 3 people (Kiran, myself and 1 tailor) in 2016 and 6 years on, today we have a team of 8 split across 3 departments, and we are displaying products on 4-5 platforms (online and in shop). But the true measure of growth of our business is and will always be the clients and their children who we have over the years connected with. Till this day if I see a preschooler wearing a TLM kurta while doing groceries with his Mama, I want to leap up in joy. And our biggest worry every year remains timely delivery of outfits on Eid!
My fondest memory of TLM is sitting with my laptop at home, being surrounded by family while designing our first logo and everyone eagerly giving recommendations and sharing opinions on what the logo should look like. And that is just what TLM is for Kiran and myself: its family, its happy moments and its love. We have been blessed in countless ways by Allah in this journey and by His will we hope we can deliver the same happiness and love to the families of our clients.
Happy Birthday TLM.
May you grow to new heights.
Writer: Selina Hasan (Co-Founder, TLM)
Pictured are Founders of TLM Kiran Babar (R) and Selina Hasan (R)