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A new life with his own fabric shop

A man is standing in front of fabrics displayed in his shop.
Adnan has opened his own fabric shop in Pakistan.

A new life with his own fabric shop

My name is Adnan and I’m 36 years old. I come from Gujrat, a city in the province of Punjab in Pakistan. I used to work in a clothing store. But I decided to travel to Greece in 2010 to look for better opportunities. I had to take out a loan to finance my trip. I did find some casual work in Greece, but I was hardly earning enough money to repay my loan. 

I went to Germany at the end of 2014 to try and start again there. Then in 2019 I decided to come back to Pakistan to be with my wife. The Immigration Office in Germany referred me to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The IOM took care of my travel arrangements, and provided me with financial assistance via REAG/GARP (the Reintegration and Emigration Program for Asylum-Seekers in Germany / Government Assisted Repatriation Program).

Back in Pakistan, I invested all my savings in a shop where I planned to sell fabric for women's dresses. Rental prices in Gujrat are very high, so I decided on a shop in Jalalpur Jattan, the neighbouring city. My previous experiences came in useful to me when I was fitting out the shop. 

Training with lots of practical tips

Things were going quite well at first, but then along came the COVID-19 pandemic. The Pakistani government had to impose a lockdown, as well as other measures. That had a huge impact on the turnover in my shop. Luckily, a friend told me about the Pakistani-German Facilitation and Reintegration Centre (PGFRC) in Lahore. 
 

My wife and I met an advisor in the centre of Lahore. He took our details and signed us up for a business development training course. This training course was very informative, and my wife now helps me with our marketing. I could put what I learnt to good use in my business. Most importantly, I stopped giving credit to my customers. 

The training course also taught me the importance of bookkeeping – ever since I did the training course I've kept very precise business records. We also learnt that good customer care is crucial. I started to try even harder to build a relationship based on mutual trust. I even introduced a delivery service to improve our customer service. These innovations also had a positive impact on our turnover. 

A man is sitting behind the counter in his fabric shop.
The manager has extended his business to include fabrics without embroidery.

Renting a second shop

The training course also gave me some other ideas on how to develop my business. By chance the shop across the street became vacant, so I rented it. I had learnt how to assess the competition in my sector and recognise a gap in the market. I found out that in my area you could only get clothes which were ready made. So I extended our product range to include fabrics for men without any embroidery. Ours is now the only shop in the area to sell uncut fabrics without the embroidery needed for traditional clothing in Pakistan. 

After our training course, my wife began marketing our products on WhatsApp. We decided to focus on different things: my wife keeps in touch with our female customers, while I promote our fabrics to male customers. We’re also developing other plans, like a TV commercial and marketing on other social media platforms. 

Help from the Mojaz Foundation

During one of the other consultations in the PGFRC someone told me about the Mojaz Foundation, a partner organisation. A Mojaz representative got in touch with me and arranged a 4-day online training course in business development. In April 2021 he helped us to produce an investment plan. The training course taught me how to prepare a needs analysis for our business. This helped me to find new opportunities. The foundation also helped me with contributions in kind for our business. It also provided me with fabrics, because I had no funds due to the corona pandemic.

The ongoing advice and help that we get from the PGFRC is enabling me and my wife to successfully carry on and expand our business, even during the pandemic. I’m confident that this ongoing support will mean I can cope with all the challenges I may face.

Date: 08/2021

The opportunities for advice and assistance described here are offered as part of “Returning to New Opportunities”.

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The ongoing advice and help that we get from the PGFRC is enabling me and my wife to successfully carry on and expand our business, even during the pandemic.
Adnan