INTERVIEW WITH MRS. UZMA FARAZ, FURNITURE EXPORTER

KHALIL AHMED
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)
Aug 29 - Sep 11, 2011

PAGE: TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF?

MRS. FARAZ: I was a housewife and interested only in keeping a house and being with my children, but I was blessed with a husband of a generous nature and of excellent far sight. His family business was of making sheesham furniture and very well known by the name VIRSA which is now in fact a family name for most households. It was my husband's farsightedness that he began involving me in his business and I realized I had an aptitude to understand and learn under him. He groomed me to head international market and thus Virsa International came into being.

I was very closely involved in all procedures from design concepts to manufacturing and sales. Earlier in this year 2011 (13th January), Faraz passed away after a brief illness.

Today I am looking after his business with the help of loyal and efficient staff. Whatever I know in this business is what I learnt from my husband, Faraz.

PAGE : YOUR VIEWS ABOUT EXPORTS OF FURNITURE?

MRS. FARAZ: Our products are greatly appreciated in the east and the west. We have a thriving market in Malaysia, Philippines, UK and USA. We have established our name in foreign market and particularly our customers from Malaysia, Philippines, UK and U.S.A are great admirers of Pakistani furniture. Our designs are unique and of high level of creativity which prove that Pakistan has potential to capture the world furniture market.

PAGE: HOW COULD PAKISTAN INCREASE EXPORTS OF FURNITURE?

MRS. FARAZ: There is no doubt that Pakistan can increase its exports of furniture in the world market. However, there are few things which we need to look at. Our main drawback is that our sheesham wood is not seasoned enough. Good design, good proportions, well seasoned wood and excellent finishes are the need of the day so we need to concentrate on these things for better export numbers.

PAGE: HOW DO YOU SEE THE FUTURE OF FURNITURE MANUFACTURERS IN PAKISTAN?

MRS. FARAZ: The future of furniture manufacturers in Pakistan seems bright but hard work and expertise are prerequisite for it. There are some problems as well. The shortage of sheesham calls for alternatives. We are at the moment working on oak, teak etc.

PAGE: YOUR VIEWS ABOUT COST OF DOING BUSINESS?

MRS. FARAZ: The constant shortage of electricity and frequent hartals are pushing up costs.

PAGE: HOW COULD LOCAL MANUFACTURERS INCREASE INTERNATIONAL MARKET SHARE?

MRS. FARAZ: The needs of west are different to the needs of the east. Good wood, good workmanship, excellent finishes and the world is yours.