Soema Fragrances was founded in 2018 by the expat entrepreneur. Having moved to Bangladesh for personal reasons, Miraly fell in love with the country, its people and their cordiality. So, she decided to make Dhaka her permanent home.
During her stay, she worked in various capacities, including an extensive association with a local NGO.
"My work at the NGO taught me a lot and inspired me to initiate a company that benefits the community. The journey of my life in Dhaka inspired Soema. In 2018, the pollution levels in Dhaka were at an all-time high. I didn't want to light toxic candles in my home. I realised that Dhaka had no options for soy candles. And thus, began the journey to create beautiful, high quality, natural products for homes."
With this basic idea in mind, she joined hands with a close friend and manufactured high quality soy-candles that are quite a delight for people interested in aesthetics and interior decoration.
"Our line extends much beyond soy candles. We are currently, concentrating on expanding the product line to introduce body lotions, mosquito repellents, hand washes etc., all with active natural ingredients that are harmless and safe," Miraly added.
Hailing from an industrialist family in Bangladesh, it was given that Khan would achieve greatness in the field of entrepreneurship. And she proved the anticipations right, with her brand-new line of healthy drinks – Bali Juice, which she already markets at over 300+ stores on the west coast of the United States.
"Bali juice started as a conversation I had with my friend, Edward Farley, the founder and COO of Bali Beverage Company. I remember I was at our office late one evening, wrapping up the day, when Ed called. He was excited about mangosteens and kept on about the incredible health benefits of this superfruit and was totally perplexed why this isn't very well known. So, when he proposed that we start making mangosteen juice, my natural response was 'I'm in!'," said Khan.
When most juices available locally are packed with sugar, preservatives and concentrates; Bali Juice keeps the ingredient list to the bare minimum. With zero preservatives or added sugar, Bali juice is vegan, and gluten free. It's just pure, mangosteen; a surge of 'superfruit' goodness.
In Bangladesh, Bali juice was launched a few months ago and unfortunately met the setback of COVID-19 and continuous lockdown. However, even though the company is taking baby steps at the moment, it is sure to make a fire crackling explosion once COVID-19 situation bids us adieu, and health and fitness enthusiasts come to realise the wholesomeness of the 'super-duper healthy' drink, hopes Khan.
The very word 'dessert' is almost a demonic term for the 'fit and hearty.' It wasn't easy for Chowdhury to explain to her customers how her cupcakes were a part of the healthy lifestyle routine for the average Bangladeshi. "When people talk about a healthy lifestyle in Bangladesh, all they are thinking is: losing calories. That's not how 'healthy' is defined!
"To me, healthy is high quality. Products that you can consume without getting sick or feeling queasy, hence the sweets, at my store, have no preservatives in them, are made out of fresh, organic ingredients and customisable to low calories constituents," said Chowdhury.
Further discussion with the entrepreneur revealed that she opened her bakery back in 2013, having found a niche in this sector, after returning from abroad and completion of higher studies. "There were no proper high-end dessert stores in town back then, and I knew that the sweet-toothed Bangladeshis definitely demanded such an outlet and I was later proved right."
With a business mind-set to keep her motivated, the entrepreneur later ventured into other similar trades such as the initiation of a baking school in the city and a brand new line of traditional food items, all of which have made quite a name, already, in our most beloved city that is Dhaka.
So here, were just few basics of our guests from the eighth episode of Lifestyle Talkies. Much more awaits you at the show.
Tune in to Star Lifestyle presents Lifestyle Talkies at 7: 30 PM, on The Daily Star Facebook LIVE for the full interview. For any queries or interview topic suggestions, mail us at email@example.com
Photo Courtesy: Ambreen Miraly