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Small steps to becoming a retail brand owner

Sayed Murtuza, owner, of recently opened Buqay store in Panaji, is a shopkeeper with a difference thanks to a MBA degree in his resumé finds out Shoma Patnaik

There are not many MBA’s who decide on ownership of a store as a career choice after passing from B-school.  Most go in for a company job where the ambience is all very upscale and businesslike. So it is surprising to come across Sayed Murtuza, graduate of Goa Institute of Management (GIM), as the owner of Buqay, a newly opened garment store located near the Don Bosco High School, Panaji.

  The modest showroom spread over 24 sq. mtr., is conceptualised on Arabic lifestyle. It mainly caters to residents of the Muslim community and retails garments and accessories such as kaftan, burqa, maxi dress, scarfs, kurta pyjamas, attar, bakhoor, etc. The showroom is receiving a good response from shoppers because it caters to a niche clientele, claims Murtuza.

  He says that, he did not think twice about ditching his professional life and taking on the role of a shopkeeper. “It was now or never. I thought if not today it will be too late to realize my dream of starting a business and becoming an entrepreneur.”

After passing out from GIM, Murtuza joined Italian retail brand, Benetton where he steadily climbed the corporate ladder to become the area manager. “As an area manager I was in charge of the territory in states such as Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh among others where I was responsible for the business development, recruitment of employees in the outlets and expanding the chain. When you reach a certain level in a company you tend have a bit of a self-image. It is very difficult to come down the staff level and take on the persona of a shopkeeper. I decided to put aside my ego when I opened Buqay and got down to the job of selling and dealing with customers.”

  Murtuza adds that, he has no hesitation in picking up the broom or duster to clean his show room if necessary. He explains that, the capital for starting came through his own savings and some from his family. “The bigger picture I see is of me as the owner of a retail brand because in future I am sure that Buqay will become a brand and I will franchise the name,” he says confidently.

  Murtuza’s family is in business and he reveals that, the business itch was always in him. “Thanks to my years with Benetton I learnt a lot about the clothing industry. I felt I had the capability of doing well in retail and it would be better to invest the same time and energy in running my own business than doing it for someone else.”  

  He adds that, there is synergy between his current role as owner of a garment store and his former background of working with a major retail brand. “My experience taught me the nitty-gritty of retail and I can handle all the functions, viz. sourcing goods, managing inventory and dealing with suppliers,” he says.

In the course of his work Murtuza travelled to several places within India. “I realized that people belonging to my community hardly have a choice in selection of clothes. While men find it easy to shop things are different for women who need various designs and styles to make the shopping experience pleasant.”

Murtuza adds that attire trend in his community is changing. While elders are traditional in their choice of clothes the millennial are open for fashion and lifestyle changes. He says that, the garments he merchandises are stylish yet respectable and cater to the sensibilities of present day customer. “I would not say we are restricted to a particular community or religion though the product range mostly attracts the Muslim community. We also have non- Muslim consumers who have been regular with us and appreciate the product offered,” he points out.

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