Speaking of TigerBow, they curate bowties with fabric sourced from our land, and hands that have been celebrating our culture for years. We spoke to Wahid Hossain, the Founder and CEO of TigerBow and learned about his entrepreneurial journey.
Tell us something about TigerBow?
TigerBow is an ethical fashion company and our main product is a bow tie. We make bow tie using our traditional Katan and Jamdani fabric, we work with individual women artisans for their sustainability on craftsmanship and protecting our cultural fabric. Besides bowties, we also make pocket squares with our traditional fabric and earrings that are inspired by the Banaresee Saree’s motif.
How does TigerBow contribute to employ local artisans?
Artisans who are working with us are currently making $6.00 per hour which is 1100% more than the current market rate in Bangladesh. Till now we have impacted 113 lives altogether and increased artisans’ monthly income by average 50%. We also helped to uplift their social status through various international representations. They have been featured in TEDx Colorado University, in Resolve Gala in Harvard Club and in many more places.
What kind of challenges have you encountered in your entrepreneurial journey?
It is not easy to start any social venture in Bangladesh. Educational knowledge was a major barrier along with social support. I was struggling to convince my family as well as myself to take the leap of faith. In fact, I still am struggling to make my family believe in the mission of my life. I was lucky enough to be part of ‘The Resolution Project’. Resolution is a New York-based Incubation center who are giving me all kinds of support since 2014.
What are your dreams and aspirations with TigerBow?
TigerBow was not a planned business. I encountered a female artisan named Sabina Chowdhury in 2013 and I was fascinated by her beautiful creations. As an individual, she’s giving her everything to represent Bangladesh and contributing towards the local community. I just wanted to help her to continue her craftsmanship so that we can celebrate our culture.
25 years ago Sabina used to make USD 250 a month but then she hardly could make USD 100. She is an artisan and knows only how to make beautifully crafted outfits that represent our culture and identity. But she was struggling to sell her products. it’s not the story of Sabina alone but it is a story of 100,000 Bangladeshi women artisans.
This is where TigerBow’s network comes in. We source traditional fabrics and women artisans, those who have been carrying the tradition of making clothes for generations and connect their products to the first world luxury markets.
What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs?
For young entrepreneurs, I always say dream big and start with small steps. Try to find out what makes you happy and thrive out of it. Nothing comes overnight so you have to keep working till you achieve success.