Founded in 2018, BeshiDeshi is the biggest digital platform for Made in Bangladesh products where Bangladeshi artisans, craftsmen, manufacturers can promote and sell their products, and customers from all over the world can buy Bangladeshi products.
Over the past years, BeshiDeshi has evolved significantly. Today, BeshiDeshi not only helps these artisans and creative professionals to sell their products, but also provides skill development training, sourcing, packaging, photography, promotion, finance, and legal support to entrepreneurs and manufacturers. In an interview with Future Startup BeshiDeshi Founder and CEO Zeeshan Khurshed Mazumder shares the founding story of BeshiDeshi and the evolution of the company. From 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 full-time 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.
The early days of BeshiDeshi
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 BeshiDeshi. Our ambition is to create a strong link between the supply of locally made products and the interested local and international customers.
Building the initial operation and getting started
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.
This story is an excerpt from our interview with Mr. Zeeshan published here.