Crafting her Entrepreneurship Journey: Q&A with Amreen Rahman of Kala Pata

Increasingly we see lifestyle brands seek to inspire, guide, and motivate people, with the goal of their products contributing to the definition of the consumer’s way of life.

LadyBoss spoke to Amreen Rahman, founder of a lifestyle brand Kala Pata.

Kala Pata translates to ‘banana leaf’ in Bangla, which is a nod to my Bengali heritage.

Q: Tell us about your business, how long you’ve been doing it, and who your customers are?

A: Kala Pata specialise in unique and beautiful handcrafted stationary and objects.

The brand’s signature prints strive to encapsulate and elicit memories of holidays in exotic locations, where a mere excursion into maze-like open bazaars has the potential to unlock a world of wondrous treasures and memento.

Kala Pata as a brand identifies with our wanderlust zeal for adventures into the far and unknown. Kala Pata represents a magical world, where history and heritage blends into a kaleidoscopic mural of colors and designs, thereby, transforming ordinary everyday objects into extraordinary keepsakes.

This is our third year.

The Kala Pata customer is a sophisticated, modern, independent woman, who loves to travel, has a penchant for art and culture and has a keen eye for the finer things in life. She values her family above all else. And doesn’t like to follow trends.

Q: What were you doing before entrepreneurship?

A: I am a graphic designer who brings life through intricate and exotic designs. My deep love of exploring the world with my fascination in history, heritage, and world cultures.

Kala Pata represents my visual interpretation of my myriad experiences living in Dhaka, Bangkok, New York, London, and now in Singapore.

I design for a global audience who relishes discovering beautifully hand-crafted distinctive products which beckons their own wanderlust.

Kala Pata translates to ‘banana leaf’ in Bangla, which is a nod to my Bengali heritage.

amreen3

My grandmother is a huge source of inspiration for me. She was an advocate for women’s right to education, a progressive feminist, a published author and the locus of our family.

Q: In terms of sales and marketing, how do you reach your customers, and what works?

A: I’m very active on social media with Kala Pata. Facebook has been best so far, especially by doing targeted ads to reach our consumers.

I’m also seeing a lot of conversion happen via Instagram and some of that goes to our website.

Q: What is your best-selling product/service?

 A: Right now I have two product categories: stationery and lacquer accent pieces.

Amongst the stationery, the greeting cards and wrapping sheets are best sellers and the boho classic lacquer box amongst the lacquer products.

Q: Where do you see the future of your business?

A: Kala Pata is a lifestyle brand and my aim is to expand into home furnishings such as table linens and pillow cushions.

Q: Tell us about your Number 1 business challenge?

A: My number 1 challenge is promoting Kala Pata and getting our brand out there.

As a small business I always have to be cognizant about our budget which means I don’t have the luxury of spending a lot on advertising/marketing/promotions etc.

So I have to work within these parameters and be creative in how to be more visible, especially on social media.

I overcame the obstacles by remaining persistent and believing in Kala Pata despite what people said.

Q: Who inspires you?

A: My grandmother is a huge source of inspiration for me. She was an advocate for women’s right to education, a progressive feminist, a published author and the locus of our family.

A woman ahead of her time, who nurtured and believed in my creative pursuits long before I had any idea that this was to be my calling.

Q: What’s your favourite quote/motto to live by?

A:

‘Conviction is a force multiplier. If you want something,
claim it in your gut. The universe itself responds to your inner certainty.’

and

‘Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.’ – Goethe

Q: What is the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn so far in your entrepreneurial journey?

A: Singapore is an extremely competitive market. As a small business it was initially very challenging to get the products out there.

Sometimes retailers are only interested in following ‘trends’ hence they didn’t really ‘get’ what I was doing with Kala Pata.

I overcame the obstacles by remaining persistent and believing in Kala Pata despite what people said.

Q: Do you have a man / men in your life who has supported you in your business? How has he done so?

A: My husband has been immensely supportive of my entrepreneurial journey and because of him I had the courage and leap of faith to quit my job and to just start my entrepreneurship journey.

Q: What is your definition of success?

A: Quoting Simon Sinek —

“Don’t quit. Never give up trying to build the world you can see, even if others can’t see it. Listen to your drum and your drum only. It’s the one that makes the sweetest sound.”

Written By

Co-founder and Business Development Director of LadyBoss, Melissa is a multi-hyphenate. Her other role is at BiTS (a business intelligence tech startup in Singapore) as their chief marketer and consults for various other startups. She dreams of saving the world. When she's not working, you'll find her soaking up the sun at the beach or enjoying a strong cocktail at a fancy bar! Connect with her on LinkedIn:

Leave a Reply