Afrin Anis Rahman is a woman entrepreneur who started her venture through Smart Shopping BD which was an online makeup shop in 2013. Later she expanded her business through her passion and love for makeup arts. One evening The Design Magazine team met her for an exclusive interview. The excerpt of the interview is as follows:
Tell us the beginning story of Smart Shopping Bd?
I initiated this business in 2013. Being a girl, I always had a passion for makeup. At that time, Facebook had few pages only where original products could get found. Original cosmetics products of good brands were rarely found at that time. Then I felt, as I have some strong sources, I should bring makeup products from good and original brands from abroad. So, utilizing the sources, from my love for and interest in makeup, I started the journey of my business ‘Smart Shopping BD’ in 2013.
What is your academic background?
I completed my graduation and post-graduation from Daffodil International University. I am one of the Gold Medalists in the department of English Literature and Language there. I started my business when I was a 3rd year student. Besides my study I gradually enlarged it and kept moving forward.
We have seen you promoting other’s business also. Why is that?
I said before that I started Smart Shopping BD in 2013 but it became popluar in 2015. Then I felt, as I am doing a make-up related business, so it needs a permanent store or shop. There were huge products I had to supply. Then I started to supply those products and thus initiated a delivery channel of my own. After that, I became associated with different types of businesses like various fashion accessories. I received a certificate from a workshop in Bangladesh organized by a UK certified makeup artist. Later I participated other courses of makeup in different organizations. When one of the oldest and world-famous brand Revlon was launched in Bangladesh, I was associated with it as a brand promoter. Gradually, my collaborations with various brands were developed besides my own business Smart Shopping BD. Currently I am involved with different clothing brands, shoes brands and food brands.
What does makeup mean to you?
To me, makeup doesn’t mean to make someone beautiful. I think we all have a natural beauty. I believe in inner beauty always. If my mind is not beautiful, I won’t be nice to see whatever I use outside. Most of us have some discoloration and imperfections on the skin or various types of skin problems. As my business is based on makeup art, so my objective is to make up in such a way as it enhances our natural beauty by hiding all of these problems and imperfections. Inner beauty is more important to me. Makeup is used for keeping someone better externally- I believe it.
Tell us about your daily schedule..
I maintain a very difficult schedule every day. I have two children. One of them is 4 years old and another is three years only. My younger child usually doesn’t sleep before than 3 am. So, I have to keep awake till the midnight and get up at eleven in the morning. Sometimes I have to awake all over the night and get out in the morning. I have my own business, own office, three showrooms and I am going to run two more businesses which are going to be started very soon. I work at my office from noon to 12 am, carry my children there and even take care of my households. I maintain all the works together. This is how, my schedule has been created.
Who are your clients?
Based on live, I can say that I have clients of almost all ages. Suppose, a 13 years old girl watches my live programs, again a 65 years old woman watches the program too. Once I heard that in a family from grandmother to grandchild along with Mr. & Mrs. watch my live broadcasts in their giant screen television. All of my clients watch my posts not only to purchase products from me or they are not biased on me rather they watch me to listen my words, to be motivated and influenced that I informed from different levels of my clients. Because I don’t just talk about my business or makeup related words, rather as much as social work can be done, as much as a person can be socially motivated, I talk in that way. Specially I believe in empowerment of women. I do a lot of work to highlight women’s empowerment.
What is your future plan regarding business and career?
I want to expand my business. I told before that I worked as brand ambassador at different reputed brands like Revlon, VLCC etc. I am the Brand Ambassador of VLCC, Bangladesh. Two of my brands are coming very soon. One is Clothing brand including western cloths, jewelry accessories Malaysian based and another is lingerie brand. I will work with these. I want to expand these businesses as much as possible. As I have a special interest in makeup and I have a certificate on it, so I want to establish myself as a makeup artist. I want to make my youtube channel stronger and I want to be emerged as a renowned youtuber. Very recently I have been involved with acting as I have interest in acting too. Basically, I want to establish myself as a social influencer and want to show people that a female can do business, manage his family, finish her studies, and she can equally keep pace with the various activities of society.
What suggestions would you like to give those people who want to become a successful makeup artist like you?
Firstly, I don’t consider myself a makeup artist only. First of all, I am a woman entrepreneur, makeup artist comes up more later. Not only through this business that I am doing, there are many other businesses, many types of jobs, through which women can be empowered. Women empowerment means making oneself as self-sufficient. If someone wants to build herself as a self-sufficient person, I would say, first of all, a desire is needed inside herself that she will do something. Then she must do a lot of struggle. She has to have the mindset to struggle. I can remember clearly when I started my business, it was initiated with Six Thousand taka only. Then I started to struggle a lot. There must have a lot of efforts, a lot of faith and a lot of patience. It has to be remembered that it is a very difficult journey. In this journey, we should not accept defeat at any point. We have to believe that we shall do, we shall overcome someday.
Among your various qualities which helped you most to bring success in business?
I believe that I have good inner strength and I improved my language skill through my inner strength or will power whatever you say. I developed my communication skills also. I would like to say that my skill of communication has worked the most for success in my business. Because I think, I can talk very nicely and always try to do.