Abu Md Musa Karim: Hobby makes Musa entrepreneur

Employs youths but stumbles due to family problems; seeks loan on easy terms
While the term hobby means an activity one does for enjoyment, especially during leisure, many would love to generate a little income from their hobbies. It may take an extra effort to move something from a hobby to a business or profession, but with a measure of entrepreneurial spirit one can turn fun into profit.

Abu Md Musa Karim, a 45-year-old man from Munshiganj, is an example.

Musa turned his hobby, tapestry making, into an income-generating machine, not only supplementing his earnings, also creating employment for many others.

He said his childhood passion for exclusiveness and artistic works inspired him to be a tapestry artist and establish a tapestry manufacturing plant at Genda in Savar, on the outskirts of the capital, where he has been living in a rented house for years.

“From my early childhood, I like keeping my dresses and daily accessories unique by putting different artistic designs on them,” the artist said.

Stricken by poverty, he was forced to leave study an at early age. Nevertheless, he did not let his love for arts and designs diminish.

Musa, coming in contact with one Hasan of the locality, who studied fine arts at Dhaka University, was fortunate to have found a rare tapestry catalogue of noted painter and sculptor Prof Rashid Chowdhury.

Highlighting the contribution of Chowdhury to this field, he said, “Formerly, tapestry was a mere art, but Rashid Chowdhury linked it to our everyday accessories.”
Tapestry artist Abu Md Musa Karim, 45, of Munshiganj, works in his atelier “Tero Rong” in Genda of Savar, which he established from a hobby to a business. His efforts created a scope of employment for many. Photo: Rashad Ahamad

Musa, the only bread earner of a six-member family, had worked at different tapestry factories for over 11 years before starting his own enterprise, and acquired the know-how of artistic works of this sort that are typically not taught at schools in a conventional setting.

In 2003, he, accompanied by his younger sister, set up a small atelier at his home with six handlooms, and started manufacturing tapestry items, including floor mats, wall mats, bags and gift pieces, under the name “Aparupa Handicraft.”

Within a short time, he added five more handlooms to the existing ones, and changed the atelier’s name to “Tero Rong.” And in early 2010, the unit had more than 50 handlooms, employing over 50 youths.

However, in late 2010, misfortune befell Musa, and since then, harsh realities of life have been gnawing away at his venture with his parents falling sick, wife expecting a child and sister getting married.

“The year 2010 was a dark period for me when three of my family members fell sick, and my father passed away after a long time of treatment,” he said.

“For an emergency need, I had to sell equipment of Tk 1 lakh only at Tk 18, 000,” he added.

Now some 20 artists are working at his atelier, and he cannot expand the trade due to a lack of investment, albeit the market demand for his goods is no less than other products. He applied for bank loans, but to no avail, as he has nothing as such to put up as collateral.

“The production of tapestry takes a huge time, and its price is also good. One square feet is priced between Tk 150 and Tk 180, depending upon the designs,” the artist said, adding that he could run the factory in full swing if he got a loan on easy terms.

Rashad Ahamad

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