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Founder@Work: Zeeshan Khurshed Mazumder, Founder, BeshiDeshi

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Zeeshan Khurshed Mazumder is the Founder And CEO of BeshiDeshi, a digital marketplace for made in Bangladesh products that helps artisans, craftsmen, and companies that make local products with customers both in Bangladesh and abroad. Founded in 2018 as a small project, Beshi Deshi has grown meaningful over the past year into a leading platform for Bangladeshi products. The company says it has over 12,000 products of 200 different categories, 350+ Partners on its platform.

We recently caught up with Mr. Zeeshan, to learn about his path to entrepreneurship (cue: Mr. Zeeshan has been a company builder. Prior to BeshiDeshi, he has co-founded and built successful businesses in the hospitality sector), how BeshiDeshi came into being, what is Beshi Deshi and what it does, how BeshiDeshi operates, the state of BeshiDeshi’s business today, its ambition going forward, lessons he has learned from his journey so far and much more.

Future Startup

Could you please tell us about your background and your path to entrepreneurship?

Zeeshan Khurshed Mazumder

Soon after my graduation, I started my career as a banker in a renowned multinational bank. For the next 8 years, I worked in different banks and financial institutions.

While working full-time in the financial sector, I started trying a few ventures in the hotel and hospitality sector on the side. Soon those ventures became quite popular and needed my fulltime attention which is when I left my career in finance and became a full-time entrepreneur.

I started ideating on BeshiDeshi with the vision to promote local artisans, craftsmen, and Bangladeshi products both locally and internationally. After much work on the background, www.beshideshi.com was soft-launched in November 2018 and we have been receiving good responses among the local and international customers.

Future Startup

How did you get started with BeshiDeshi? What motivated you to start BeshiDeshi?

Zeeshan Khurshed Mazumder

I always had an inclination towards locally made products over foreign alternatives. I believe Bangladesh has a lot of potential in terms of artistry, craftsmanship. However, due to insufficient promotion and encouragement, we often hear news about local craftsmen and businesses opting for different careers or shutting down their businesses.

Over the last few years I have also noticed an influx of foreign products coming into our market which is very encouraging for the economy for sure but at the same time, a concern for the local producers. Foreign alternatives are often relatively cheaper and available everywhere.

On the other hand, only a few handful entities have been promoting the local products. On top of that, the countrywide availability of these local products was a major problem.

To address this problem I started developing the idea of Beshi Deshi. Our ambition is to create a strong link between the supply of locally made products and the interested local and international customers.

Future Startup

What went into building the initial operation of BeshiDeshi? How did you put together initial investment and other things to get started? Please walk us through what the first few months of your journey were like and the challenges you faced. What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced? What are the challenges now?

Zeeshan Khurshed Mazumder

I and my co-founder have made the initial investment into the project from our savings. We started with pretty limited resources. Since the money was limited, every penny was important. We have been frugal in our operation and been thoughtful in making any investment decisions.

The initial few years were very challenging. Though the idea of creating a virtual shop of Made in Bangladesh products from every corner of the country sounds unique, exciting and easy I and my team faced a lot of impediments in finally achieving it.

The first major challenge that we faced was to source the local suppliers scattered all over the country. We did not want the intermediaries selling us products as our main aim was to directly benefit the local producers with a fair price and all that.

My team went to different parts of the country to source these local products from these craftsmen and producers. Physical visits, ensuring proper quality, a diverse range of products and finding out the right price which will benefit both parties took up a lot of time and resources.

Training the local producers on the knowhow of product photography and digital sharing of the photos was another major challenge. My team relentlessly put their efforts towards sourcing only the best quality products from reliable producers and training them on using technology. Over the past years, through relentless hard work, we have been able to make some progress.

Beshi Deshi Web Screenshot
Beshi Deshi Web Screenshot

Future Startup

Could you please give us an overview of BeshiDeshi in terms of services you offer, how many users you have, the size of your business, etc?

Zeeshan Khurshed Mazumder

BeshiDeshi is a unique all-inclusive e-commerce platform for made in Bangladesh products. Currently, our platform displays more than 12,000 products of 350+ Product Partners in more than 200 Product Category starting from jute, leather, cotton to groceries, wholesale, building materials, etc.

Our priority has been to provide quality products to the customers at an affordable price.

BeshiDeshi is a great support system for local producers. We have been providing end to end support to a producer ensuring their products are displayed to the right audience at the right prices.

We provide full-spectrum support to our enlisted producers such as training, working capital loans, delivery and packaging to name a few.

Currently, we have more than 30 thousand retail and few corporate customers and the number is growing every day.

Future Startup

How big is your team? Could you tell us about your culture at BeshiDeshi?

Zeeshan Khurshed Mazumder

Currently, we are a team of 15 people including full and part-time employees. We have a very friendly and flexible work culture at Beshideshi where flexible working hours, working from home are encouraged.

This has helped us to accommodate students especially females to join our team as product managers, customer service managers, and content creators.

Future Startup

How have you attracted customers and grown BeshiDeshi? Could you tell us about the strategies and activities that you carried out to achieve the growth? What are the lessons you’ve learned in terms of growing a business? What other entrepreneurs can learn from your growth journey?

Zeeshan Khurshed Mazumder

Back in our university days, we have learned in all our marketing books that” the customer is the King”. My experience as an entrepreneur has helped me understand the true value of this approach.

The foundation of all my ventures including BeshiDeshi has always been customer-centricity. Customer insight, satisfaction, and preferences are always given utmost importance in everything we do.

Future Startup

What are the goals for the future?

Zeeshan Khurshed Mazumder

We over this short period, have experienced an overwhelming response not only among the local customers but also among international buyers. BeshiDeshi has gone international already by delivering products to customers in the US, and the UK. We plan to increase our footprints to other countries with a growing appreciation for Bangladeshi culture and products.

We are also working towards launching a more advanced website and mobile application of BeshiDeshi soon.

My vision is to turn Beshideshi into a sustainable, ecosystem for the local producers providing them with full 360-degree support to grow their business model into sustainable, profit-making entities with special focus on women entrepreneurs.

Future Startup

Have you found anything particularly helpful or advantageous in the process of building Beshi Deshi? What is your advice for founders who are just starting out?

Zeeshan Khurshed Mazumder

In my journey as a founder of several ventures, one key lesson that I have learned is to always have a positive mindset and a can-do attitude.

The journey of an entrepreneur is never easy. You do not have a guarantee of fixed monthly income, security, comfort zone that a job provides. Moreover, you are responsible for ensuring fixed income for your employees. This comes with a lot of stress and impediments which need to be dealt with meticulous planning, a solution-oriented approach and a great team with a never give up attitude.

Finally, you have to know where your money is going and what return it will bring for the business. A founder also needs to be a good CFO always striving to bring a positive rate of return on every investment made in the business.

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