Abu Sama, a 57-year-old merchandiser bought around 30 pieces of Jamdani saris by noon yesterday, at a bazaar in Demra on the outskirts of the capital. Still he was bargaining with the weavers to buy more for his retail shop in Mirpur.
“I usually buy around 100 pieces of Jamdani a year from this market. But today [yesterday] I will buy at least 200 pieces, for Eid,” said Abu, owner of Sharna Jamdani House at Mirpur Benarasi Palli.
He was not alone. About 80 merchandisers from parts of the city flocked to the Demra market to buy Jamdani saris from weavers as the Eid is around two weeks away. Back in the capital, the merchandisers would then sell the saris out of their retail or wholesale shops.
The market near the Demra Post Office sits every Thursday and around 2,000 weavers from adjacent areas come to the market with their saris for sale.
Jamdani is a fine muslin cloth on which decorative motifs are woven on the loom. Often a mixture of cotton and gold thread are used.
“The price of a Jamdani depends on its design, colour, quality and finishing,” said Mosharraf Hossain, a salesman at Ria Jamdani House, a retailer and wholesaler at New Market in the city.
“We are buying Jamdani saris at Tk 1,500 to Tk 5,000 apiece,” he said, adding that the retail sales are yet to begin at full throttle.
Although the Demra bazaar is a place for the wholesalers, a few retail customers, especially from the adjacent areas, also turn out.
Rokeya Akter, a high school teacher from Narayanganj, came to the bazaar yesterday and bought three saris.
“I bought one for myself and two for my daughters,” she said, adding that one can find varieties of colour and design here that may not be found in a showroom.
“The prices are also lower compared to the shopping malls,” she said.
Alfaz Uddin, who works for the lessee of the haat, said mid-level merchandisers from different parts of the city come here to buy Jamdani saris in bulk. Saris worth around Tk 2 crore are being sold on every market day, Alfaz said.
Md Shahjahan, a 50-year-old weaver, came to the market with two saris that he and his wife made in the last one week and sold those at Tk 4,500.
“It takes at least a week to make a sari,” said Shahjahan, who has been in the trade for around 35 years.
He, however, said political instability and shutdowns have taken a toll on his business this year.
“We couldn't sell our products as the wholesalers or merchandisers don't come to the market during shutdowns,” he added.