Monday, 22 October 2018

SELA x Teecaake: Where Leadership Meets Entrepreneurship

Tahira Resalat, Cohort 2017

I began my last blog post with some very wise words from a special guest speaker, Gareth Griffiths, ‘Be a self-starter. A go-getter.’ I have tried to live by those words ever since. Following my knit-composite factory visit in Bangladesh in January 2018, I decided to visit a much smaller factory this time, with slightly different plans. My initial interest in international industry visits were for research purposes. However, taking Mr Griffith’s advice on board, I decided to combine the knowledge I had gained with my entrepreneurial skills to create a project that I can only name, ‘SELA x Teecaake’.

In my spare time away from being a materials engineer, I am a freelance illustrator. Since becoming a member of SELA last year, I have learnt a lot of ways to cope with challenges which have come my way in the form of balancing different streams of work and maintaining a high standard of professionalism in several aspects of my life. SELA has given me the confidence to go forth and make the connections both within and out of the university and network with other entrepreneurs or experts in female-led businesses.

Teecaake is the name of the company I own, and I very much aim to be a leading creative entrepreneur in the hopes of inspiring those around me who also want to pursue similar interests to put themselves out there and do so.

The factory I visited in Bangladesh this summer, Al-Thaseen Garments Industries, was a smaller factory to the leading one I visited in January – GMS Composite Knitting Industries Ltd. Their orders are mainly received through many subcontracts from much larger factories. This is something new which I learnt, and it helped me make links with how large quantities of orders in factories are dealt with in industry to supply the demand of the customers. Al-Thaseen Garments mainly produce t-shirts and their clients include Tommy Hilfiger, Gucci, Pull & Bear and Mango. They had a vast range of products, and upon learning about the different types of stitching and machining and processing involved in creating the t-shirts, I was extremely inspired to tie my new-found knowledge into my own business. After assessing the quality of the products they made, I then went on to invest in my own t-shirts for a t-shirt clothing range incorporating my artwork.

I had to be in constant contact with the factory merchandiser and take several phone calls to make sure the order I had placed was being tailored to accordingly. Literally! There have been obstacles I have faced during this process but dealing with everything first-hand and taking responsibility for my work has been the greatest lesson I learnt.

My ultimate dream is to build up my brand into a worldwide name and continue to grow my empire. I continue to be inspired by the engineering leaders and engineering entrepreneurs SELA has given me the opportunity to meet and continue to work hard at achieving my goals.

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