Shirin Akhter started the year 2020 feeling devastatingly helpless. After she separated from her husband, the responsibility for her two children fell solely upon her.
So, on 11 March, 2020, Akhter made a decision. After much speculation, she opened a Facebook page called Café Spice. And two days later, on 13 March, she received an order for chicken rolls and chicken samosas worth Tk1,000. Feeling both excited and nervous, she delivered the order with the ingredients available at her home.
Fast forward a year, Akhter's homemade food business is thriving and her self-confidence has received a much-needed boost.
Akhter's Café Spice has two specialities. There are the homemade snacks, with which she initially started the venture, and pithas which she makes from fresh date molasses that she collects from her village in Faridpur.
She has come a long way from the first order worth Tk1,000 which she delivered from her kitchen. Akhter now makes Tk1 lakh, on average, a month and has five staff members working for her regularly.
She now dreams of opening a restaurant.
Talking to The Business Standard, a confident Shirin Akhter said, "So many people have encouraged and supported my journey and I could not have come this far without them. My business started from my kitchen without any capital but now, I can bear the expenses of my children's education with it."
Sharing her experience about the online business, Akhter said, "Many underestimate the importance of product branding and customer satisfaction while running an online business but frankly, those are more important than profit when you are just starting out."
Farzana Harun, owner of S F Boutiques and an entrepreneur herself, guided Shirin Akhter throughout her journey. She said, "I asked Shirin to start with what she likes the most. We regularly share our experiences with online business with each other, which helps both of us grow."
"I am incredibly proud of Shirin for coming such a long way. Many struggle to survive when their backs are against the wall. It is safe to say that Shirin has won that battle and I hope her determination, hard work and patience – that brought her success – go on to inspire a hundred more women," Harun added.