The streets of Dhaka always fascinated Moury Najnin. The people, the vehicles, the buildings – everything combined seemed like never-ending mazes to her.
On her way to work, or while returning home, she would paint whatever she would see on the streets.
Her corporate job did not allow her to spend more time on painting and it bothered her.
In 2015, she began her journey as an artist and entrepreneur and opened her brand 'Eeha'.
She began to sell hand-painted sharis, kameez and dupatta sets, dresses, ornaments and bags. "I worked on a small scale. I did not repeat designs because that would have made my work monotonous," she shared with us.
Although production was limited, the designs were unique and customers began to notice Eeha's products.
Eventually she quit her job and became fully involved with Eeha and she began to participate in different exhibitions and fairs.
"When Eeha achieved a good client base, I went into commercial production. I put some of my designs on screen and block and business began to grow," she said.
At the moment, Eeha is selling unstitched kameezes and sharis within the price range of Tk3,000 and Tk20,000.
If you want stitched clothes and readymade products like bags, you will find them under Eeha's sub-brand 'Noi'. The price begins from Tk1,800 and goes up to Tk2,500.
All the products are available on Eeha's Facebook page.
Moury opened her studio last year in December, during the Covid-19 pandemic. "I did not want to open a display centre. This is my work station and it is near my home. My staff lives nearby, so I can work very comfortably," she told us.
In a highly competitive market flooded with machine-loom products, how does Eeha survive? We asked Moury.
"High-quality work and nothing else really. Also, we use all local materials like Rajshahi silk, Cumilla endy and muslin, with silk being one of my favourite mediums to work on," she replied.
According to Moury, the market for hand-painted products is also quite competitive. A lot of people became unemployed due to the pandemic and many of them resorted to becoming entrepreneurs in this sector.
Her suggestion to new entrepreneurs who plan on entering this market is to strictly maintain high-quality if they want to survive and flourish for long.
She said, "Your work has to stand out amongst a crowd of other products," adding, "Moreover, retaining a good customer base is also important. The most important thing is to not give up."
Moury prefers to hand-paint on materials like soft Rajshahi silk and muslin because the colours and designs look best on them. However, her personal favourites also include cotton.
Hand-painted clothes cannot be put in washing machines or washed with harsh detergents. She cautioned against using water to wash muslin or silk.
"Use a bit of shampoo to wash the cotton items. In the case of silk or muslin, you could dry wash," she said.
'Eeha' means wish or desire in Bangla. We asked Moury what she wished for her brand in future.
She replied, "In future, we will have more products and have a bigger team. Maybe when things become completely normal, we will open a showroom in a prominent area."