Thirteen countries and two continents later we crossed Bangladesh border into Jessore district where we came across the "Nokshi Khatha" (blanket) which kept us warm in the Winter reminding me of my childhood. So many changes took place in Bangladesh and yet nothing had changed with "Nokshi Khatha" and I felt a sense of purpose to do something to preserve it for future generations. My travels took me to villages where, in a typical house, three generations of women stitching at the same time. They are experts in this field and I started to formulate the idea of utilizing these skills to create contemporary fusion fashions for the international fashion scene.
An entrepreneurship story from Bangladesh has its share of hard knocks even in the local market let alone internationally. I suppose I was lucky to have business education in Sydney University, to have had some start-up capital and to have been born in Bangladesh. We overcame the initial difficulties and began to employ skilled women. More money goes to the people who produced our fashion products rather than to a host of middlemen.
in Japanese
“IIMON” is a small, home-grown, entrepreneurial aspiration which aims to make a social contribution through business. Our products portray the Bangladeshi way of life, reflecting the folklore of our ancestors in the artwork. Examples are the lovingly hand stitched and hand loomed "Nokshi Khatha" and "Gamsa", which have their equivalents in the Japanese culture of"Sashiko" and "Tenugui", both still part of our daily life. Our "Nokshi" work for Japanese and European women's fashion accessories is crafted from pure silk; "Gamsa" hand loomed pure cotton towels and identified in Japan as "Tenugui".
...WHY iimon?
OUR fair-trade POLICY
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The story of "llMON" began in 2008, on a three month journey from Sydney to Dhaka, by land and sea, during a summer vacation from University. We were searching for ideas for our assignments, part of the International Entrepreneur subject of our MIB programme. It was a 27,400km journey with six students at the outset, from different countries and different walks of life. Four were to drop out along the way and only two of us continued the whole way to Dhaka.
All our exclusive products have the signature of the worker, therefore can be easily recognised. With the encouragement of the Embassy in Tokyo we participated at the International Fashion Fair on 17-19 July this year at Tokyo Big Sight, as a result potential Business communication has begun. My wife Mrs. Yoriko Shah who also travelled from Australia to Bangladesh while studying, is a constant source of inspiration for me and supports me with ideas and promotional work.
We built a system with online ordering which allowed the end user to specify “Nokshi stitching”. We work to match world quality products and to process the delivery to end users in Japan, as a result workers get a fair share from direct sales abroad. At present we have eighteen staff, fifteen of them female, one driver and two directors.