Mumu Tabassum is currently studying Bachelors in Business Administration at Bangladesh University of Professionals. She, along with her partners, is currently running three different startups in three different markets, while the fourth is in its introductory phase. She remains grateful for every opportunity that life offered her and aims to help anyone who asks for it as much as possible (she even helped me).
I did get lucky when it came to opportunities, but I am glad I haven’t given up on the toughest of nights.
Tell us a little about yourself.
Despite being someone who can ramble a lot on paper, this question throws me off every damn time. I’m doing my Undergrad in BBA at Bangladesh University of Professionals, and my academics are as poor as Charlie Bucket’s house(for those who don’t get it, you have our condolences). I’m also the founder/co-owner of three different online businesses, namely, In My Room, Tattire, and Ray by Laiju.
When did you start being involved in startups, and why?
I don’t have an inspiring story where I can explain how I got involved with startups. I found something I was good at and kept at it through the highs and lows. A few months into our Undergrad, we noticed a monopolistic trend in this certain themed based merchandise market. We researched the market and weighed our possibilities there for about a month and ultimately came up with In My Room. We had four partners initially, and now we have 2. In My Room paved the way for my other ventures.
How many individual startups are you involved with currently?
Firstly, there’s In My Room, the theme-based merchandise business. Then there’s Tattire and Ray by Laiju. I am involved in another called Casethetic, which just started.
What was the response of your ventures initially?
The business reveal of In My Room was very interesting, and I guess the suspense of what we were selling under this business name fueled a lot of suspense initially. With In My Room, surprisingly enough we hit break-even in only two months. I was lucky enough to be in an environment where the word of mouth branding worked wonders.
It’ll be very unfair, though if I don’t mention the influencer community, as well as the bookstagrammers community (Thank you very much) as they helped a lot in pushing the venture. Within eight months of In My Room, I launched Tattire, and Ray by Laiju followed soon after. Ray, by Laiju, is my mom’s with me as a partner.
I assume you faced some struggles as most people do?
Yes, I indeed did. However, it was much less than most people have to. Initially, as most parents do, my parents were sceptical of me working late nights, letting my academics go down the drain. Also investing so much time in something that has uncertain outcomes (at least at that time) is worrying for many. Other than that, as for the ventures, we faced problems initially for maintaining a stable flow of supply for the products. As most of our products are international and for me, it was the first time working on things like this. The pandemic isn’t helping much either as things are more uncertain than ever. But that’s something everyone is facing.
Do you think the environment around you influenced you in any way to take that initial leap?
Yes, but not in the way you may think. You see, for anything productive I do my greatest supporter, the one who influences me to do it the most happens to be my partner and best friend, Rahitul Al Nahiyan. He has always been very supportive of me and is a big contributor in motivating me to do new things.
Another great influence was my University, the environment there to be exact. In BUP (Bangladesh University of Professionals) from the moment you step foot there, there is a rush among people to do something. Everyone is doing something or another to progress in life. There is that constant fear of lagging behind. This fear is nerve-wracking, to be honest. This has pushed me to take the initiative more times than I can count.
Onward to a question I hate to ask, do you think things would have been different in the patriarchal society based on your gender?
As long as we don’t acknowledge what’s wrong with society, there is no fixing it. So I think it’s still necessary to ask these questions.
On a personal level, I have not faced biased outlooks of people I have dealt with as an entrepreneur. But would things be different? Sure. I wouldn’t have to worry about my security as much as girls typically have to. My parents would be more lenient about my impromptu outings regarding work. You know, the usuals. But these things didn’t hold me back, to be honest.
If I’m honest, in reality, I come from the point of privilege, where I have rarely been held back due to my gender. I hope I can extend that privilege to other women who need this in the future.
So what’s the plan for the future? More ventures?
Well, the plan is subject to change. Only time will tell. But for now, I plan to improve and expand the currently existing ones. Hopefully, I can reach my target for the next five years. Besides that, after graduation, if I get a good enough job that is worth delegating my time away from the ventures, I might indulge there too. Until then, As a proud entrepreneur, I’ll continue to take everything life offers and work on myself in the best possible way.