VISIONARY, SOFT-SPOKEN, SMARTLY-DRESSED, CONFIDENT, AND WITH A MATURE ATTITUDE TOWARDS BUSINESS – NADEEM ANSAR.
LIVED THE LIFE OF A BANKER FOR ALMOST 24 YEARS, THE MAN WHO BROUGHT SRI LANKA TO PAKISTAN; CAME OUT OF HIS COMFORT ZONE, AND DID WHAT MANY ENTREPRENEURS COULD NEVER ACHIEVE. BEING IN THE BANKING INDUSTRY FOR MOST OF HIS PROFESSIONAL LIFE, NADEEM ANSAR BROUGHT A GREAT CHANGE IN THE PAKISTANI MARKET, BRINGING ABOUT THE TOP MOST COMPANIES OF SRI LANKA. OPENING UP HIS OWN VENTURE, SFNZ & CO., NADEEM INTRODUCED BRANDS THAT HAVE A VERY RARE APPEARANCE IN PAKISTAN, NAMELY; AMANTE, DANKATUWA AND ROCELL. HE HAS UNDOUBTEDLY, BROUGHT GREAT NAMES IN THE BUSINESS SECTOR OF PAKISTAN.
THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS; YOU HAVE TO KNOW THE CORPORATE WORLD THOROUGHLY, BEFORE COMING FORTH WITH YOUR OWN CORPORATE BRAND.
BM: Brief us about your educational and professional journey.
NA: I am an MBA and a graduate from UK. I worked as a banker for about 24 years, and was affiliated with the foreign bank, HSBC. However, a year and a half back I left banking completely and decided to start my own venture and this is how I became an entrepreneur. I, then, went to Sri Lanka and brought back three of the largest Sri Lankan companies to Pakistan.
BM: You are now heading the distribution of leading brands in Pakistan. Tell us about your success story.
NA: Three brands – Amante, Rocell&Dankotuwa, have recently been launched in Pakistan. Hence; I would not call this a success story, yet. These are strong global brands with their positioning spread throughout Sri Lanka, South Asia, UK and USA, so I see no reason why they would not be a success in Pakistan. I have the exclusive rights to market these brands. We have very ambitious plans in terms of opening retail outlets and making them huge through various marketing tactics.
BM: What has been the defining point of your life?
NA: These brands – Amante, Rocell&Dankotuwa – are basically the defining point of my life. It is because of these three brands that my mind diverted from the field of banking to entrepreneurship.
BM: Tell us about the names that you have brought from Sri Lanka.
NA: The first brand is basically related to ladies called Amante. Amante is a brand showcasing sportswear, swim wear and lingerie. They are manufactured for renowned clients including Calvin Klein, Nike and the likes. They have 27 factories in Sri Lanka as well as in India and other countries. We have launched the first outlet in Dolmen Mall, Clifton, and will soon open more outlets across Karachi and other cities of Pakistan, as well. The second company I have succeeded to bring in Pakistan is Dankotuwa, which is another Sri Lankan name. They make crockery and porcelain products for American and European retailers; and Sri Lanka itself. The first showroom has opened up in Khayaban-e-Bukhari, Karachi.
The final reputable name that I represent is Rocell from Sri Lanka. Rocell is basically a manufacturing company for branded tiles. We would, therefore, be targeting the big projects of housing and construction, initially. The first display center will be launched soon; however we would not proceed with retailing in the first stage. I don’t believe that there is any other company that markets branded tiles. Hence, this will be the very first company to take such an initiative in Pakistan, on a very large scale.
BM: Was the whole journey from Sri Lanka to Pakistan pre-planned or just a coincidence?
NA: After residing in Sri Lanka I noticed these companies and came with an idea to market them in Pakistan. I, then, arranged meetings with the owners and convinced them to give me the exclusive rights so I could launch these brands as soon as possible. Since the launch of the products, the team of Sri Lankans visits Pakistan often to see the company and its growth. Further, they assist me in the field of marketing and how to establish their strong position in the business sector.
BM: What, in your view, is the significance of a foreign affiliation for a brand?
NA: As far as the foreign affiliation of a brand is concerned; it completely depends on the scope in the market it is concerned with. When you talk about Amante, you would not find a local lingerie brand in Pakistan which would target a mass of females and women. Similarly, when you talk about local branded crockery, you don’t have a large selection in front of you; hence Dankotuwa will give you a variation with class and quality to select from. Lastly, with Rocell, the story is the same, with not a large number of branded tiles; these foreign brands have a great hold in the market with regards to quality and customer attraction.
BM: How do you ensure the sustainable growth of your brands and how do you maintain its market shareholding?
NA: These are already top notch brands and their products are manufactured on a global scale. These brands have a large scale distribution, not only in Sri Lanka but, around the world too. Hence, these brands have great quality products, and since these are very big companies so I have no doubt that they will grow in Pakistan easily.
BM: How do you plan to challenge the competitive market in Pakistan?
NA: I am not afraid of competition. The three brands that I have brought to Pakistan won’t have to face a very tough market competition, as all the three categories do not have a strong hold on the Pakistan market share. I’m bringing these brands; as I feel that they are a great fit for the Pakistani market, the reasons of that are the high quality of the products and the competitive pricing. I believe that this way, I am bridging the gap between Pakistan and Sri Lanka with regards to trade.
BM: What message would you like to give to the readers?
NA: Even though; I have recently become an entrepreneur and that too after 24 years of banking, so I would recommend everyone not to jump into business without any knowledge and experience. Start with a job and gain experience to know what the world of professionalism is really like; and once you have the appropriate knowledge about the professional world, go forth and start with your own venture. There are no shortcuts; you have to know the corporate world thoroughly before coming forward with your own corporate ideas and brand.