What is Jute?
Jute is a natural fiber derived from plants. The long, soft and shiny fibers are spun into coarse, strong threads that are then put to a multitude of uses. Jute is second to cotton in terms of production. It’s also referred to as the ‘golden fiber’ due to its color and cost-effectiveness.
We cannot ignore the air we breathe
and the world we live in!Esrat Jahan Chowdhury, Founder of Tulika, Bangladesh
When Esrat quit her job to realize her dream of starting her own Jute bag brand called Tulika, no one believed in her vision. Even her own mother was angry at her and refused to provide financial support. Esrat found it very difficult to get any information on where to buy Jute fabric and navigate the legal requirements for setting up a business.
But then she met local YBI member B’YEAH. B’YEAH provided Esrat with business training in different areas and paired her with a mentor. With this support and her hard work, Esrat built a successful business with 15 employees. Her vision was true and her bags proved incredibly popular, she even earned enough money to pay for her daughter’s education and contribute to her family’s expenses.
When Esrat’s business hit a rough patch during the COVID-19 pandemic, B’YEAH was by her side again to support her in taking her shop online, as part of our program ‘Accelerating Youth-led Businesses in the Digital Era’, funded by IKEA Foundation. Esrat received training in e-commerce and digital marketing and adapted her business plan. This connected her to new customers that would have been impossible to reach before the pandemic and secured her a large order from Europe, setting her on the right path to achieving her goal: export her Jute products all over the world to raise awareness of and demand for this environmentally friendly material while bringing sustainable economic growth to Bangladesh.
Apart from the environment, Esrat is also very passionate about creating opportunities for rural women through her business. Many of these women have not had the chance to receive formal education and struggle to find work. Esrat is giving them the opportunity to use their creative and handicraft skills to produce bags for her. They are working at home so that they can earn money despite having to take care of the household and children. Esrat’s goal is to employ many more of these women and promote female entrepreneurship and green business around the world.
“We are trying our best to carry back the glory of jute by exporting Jute created products”ESRAT JAHAN CHOWDHURY, DIRECTOR BJGEA, OWNER AND FOUNDER OF TULIKA