Styline is a modest lifestyle marketplace headquartered in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Launched in April 2015, the company has experienced phenomenal growth in the past four years and has successfully positioned itself as a leading modest fashion online marketplace in Bangladesh. From a one-man show, it has grown to a 40+ people team. Expanded to multiple verticals. Built excellent brand awareness in the market. Partnered with top modest lifestyle brands across Dhaka to showcase its products in top Dhaka destinations. Opened 5 physical outlets across Bangladesh and it plans to offer more sales points to connect online and offline shopping experience in the coming years.
The company is working on its next level of growth and thus looking for talents who can lead it into the future. “Our goal,” says founder and CEO of Styline, Khobaib Chowdhury, “is to become the lifestyle platform of Bangladesh within the next 10 years. The task is huge and we are looking for people who could contribute to building that future.’ This is where Styline’s new young leadership program comes in.
We recently sat down with Styline founder and CEO Khobaib Chowdhury to discuss why Styline has created its young leadership program, how young leadership program is different from other similar recruitment programs, what type of people Styline is looking to recruit for the program, why Styline young leadership program is a great career opportunity for ambitious young people and much more.
You can learn more about the young leadership program and apply for open positions here.
What is Styline Young Leadership Program and why have you created such a program?
There are young people who possess immense potential, who are fast learners, who love to take challenges, work harder and smarter, who, given the opportunity, can make a difference. These are young people, probably fresh out of university, are relentless and hungry to do and achieve more. These people always look for opportunities to make their own stories. There is a pattern through which you could identify them. At universities, apart from academic activities, they are also into business competitions, sports, debate and into other co-curricular activities. When they enter the job market, if they are given a fast track career opportunity, they could make a huge difference for their organizations and their career.
At Styline, our ambition is higher. In order to achieve our potentials, we need people who are leaders, who can see beyond the surface and are willing to go the extra mile and contribute to achieving our goals. That’s why we have created the Young Leadership Program to nurture young people who are fresh but are driven, have potentials to become leaders.
What are the key components of your young leadership program?
This is a six months program which could lead to lead projects/teams after successful completion. Our onboarding starts with rigorous training on our mission, vision, and values. In the first three months, we send them to work with three different teams to understand the business process. They work for four weeks with each team.
At the end of four weeks with a department/team, they are required to prepare a report based on their experience with each of the department. They require to think from a perspective where they put themselves in the leadership position and try to come up with ideas for improvement. After the first three months, we send them to work with one of the teams from the three teams, the one they fit the best with. We then ask him/her implement the ideas that she recommended earlier.
After three months, if we see that someone is doing well in a particular role, we then let them continue in that role and eventually they get a managership. The people who come through the program moves fast on the organizational ladder. Most of them become a manager after 6 months which would have taken two years for someone who started in a regular track.
The program offers immense learning opportunities. Not only do they work directly with the leadership team, but we also nurture them closely. We ensure that they understand our expectation from them from day one. We train them on decision making. We give them projects that they lead and make decisions. They fail and sometimes they succeed and in the process, they learn. More importantly, when they work closely with the leadership team they could observe and learn the values and then apply them into their own lives.
The program offers a better package in terms of benefits and other career opportunities.
What type of people are you looking to recruit for the program? What is an ideal candidate for the program?
This is a program designed for freshers/recent graduates and graduates with a few months of experience. First, we look for people who are hungry to learn, ambitious, willing to go the extra mile, has the drive to take on big challenges, and endure difficulties and has the grit.
Now, how do we understand that someone is hungry? One way of understanding is that someone is asking a lot of questions. They are asking for help when they are stuck. They don’t sit quietly when they don’t understand something. They work proactively and take ownership of the tasks.
Two, people who are creative. Every one of us is creative in our own way. Someone probably is good at drawing, someone is at designing brilliant strategies and so on. To us, creativity is pretty broad. We are looking for people who can see things that many of us miss. Because after six months, these are the people who will make the call. We are here doing something different and disruptive and that has not been done before. If you are not putting extraordinary efforts, you would not be able to do it.
How the program is different from other similar recruitment programs, for example, MTO programs?
Many organizations have MTO and next business leader programs that offer excellent career opportunities. We have studied some of these programs while designing our young leadership program. The most important distinction would be: most programs are seeking to create good managers whereas we are seeking to create leaders.
Now leaders are good managers as well, but our priority lies in leadership. Now, what is the difference between leader and manager? Leaders often make the decisions, take the first step, build the process - these are how a leader operates. On the other hand, managing is about following the steps, managing the process and so on. That’s one aspect.
While at Alibaba I was impressed with a similar program they started in their early days where they used to hire high caliber people and put them into a separate incubation program where they would get intense training on the vision and mission of the company. Understanding and owning the vision is the most important thing. People who are leaders must own the vision of the company otherwise you would be doing different things and would not be running towards the same goal.
When you join our young leadership program, we not only offer you an opportunity to become leaders, we also give you a vision which you would not find anywhere else. This is the most important difference between our Young Leadership Program and other programs. In many organizations, your maximum potential would be a manager and at Styline, your opportunity is endless. We simply offer a larger canvas and greater scope to our people.
Could you tell us about your values and how do you put them in practice?
At Styline, we have 8 values.
First, customers are a priority. We are a customer first company. We are here for and because of our customers. The way we operate establishes the fact that the reason for our being is our customers.
The next three important values deal with work, how we operate as an organization and how we ensure a better experience for our customers. These are 1) passion for work 2) integrity 3) commitment or honoring your work. These are interrelated. When we onboard someone we put a lot of importance on these values. We teach people that we don’t want you to work for money alone, we want you to work because you are passionate about the work.
Number two is integrity. Asking whether what you are doing is ethically right or not. Probably doing something would take us closer to our vision but also asking is it morally right or are you breaking other values of Styline.
Number three is honoring your work. When you commit something, you do it. Now, this is important because it propagates. When you, as a leader in a certain role, don’t honor your work, your subordinates would also get affected by it. When you break a commitment to your subordinates, they would do the same with their people. In the first phase of this program, we ensure that people feel these values.
The next value at this stage is teamwork. We don’t judge people based on their individual performance alone, we put equal importance on their contribution to the team.
Sixth value is integrating technology. There are a lot of companies like ours in the market, one of the things that make us different is that we are a highly technology-first company. We know how tech can create a huge difference in future digital space here and we are always investing in it.
The next two values are for our partners. The first one is meaningful partnerships. Our first priority when it comes to the partnership is a happy partnership. Then comes the win-win partnerships. Recently, we have updated our contract with our partners in light of these values. We tried to make our contract such that reading it would give you a happy and prosperous feeling. We have found that when our partners are happy, they give their best service possible.
The last one is giving back to society. We encourage our people to think about giving back to society and we already have taken initiatives to implement this value.
Could you tell us about the vision and mission of Styline? What are you trying to build? How is it connected to your young leadership program?
Our mission is simple, we want to utilize technology to offer our customers a shopping experience of a lifetime. We are utilizing technology in three ways:
We have a 10 years vision guideline. By 2021, we want to offer a seamless Shopping Experience to Modest Shoppers in Bangladesh. We have made some progress there. By 2024, we aim to support 1 million SMEs and build an e-commerce ecosystem. And by 2028, we want to become the search engine for lifestyle shopping in Bangladesh Market.
These are ambitious goals. We need people who can execute on a high level and have the drive and ambition and ability to make things happen. Our young leadership program is designed to recruit and nurture leaders who will be leading the company to achieve these ambitious goals.
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If you are a recent graduate or someone with a few months of experience and who finds meaning in creating and building things, who take ownership is work and always are hungry to learn new things, passionate about fashion and tech;want to build a meaningful career in the industry and be a leader at a fast-growing startup, this is your opportunity to make a dent in the universe. Learn more and explore opportunities.
(This story was developed by Storylab, Future Startup’s in-house branded content studio, in collaboration with Styline marketing team.)