HELLO: Tell us a bit about yourself and your business. Talha Javed: I come from a business-oriented family with limited exposure to formal education. However, I learned a lot from my father and brothers and started working at an early age. At the age of 16, I founded Dreams Pakistan along with my brothers. Within 18 years we expanded Dreams from a small gift store at Bahadurabad to 3 megastores in Karachi, Lahore, and Faisalabad. Today Dreams is an official retailer for multiple watch brands such as GC, Burberry, Kenneth Cole, Fossil, Emporio Armani, and more. We also have a range of home decor items which is unique and exquisite.
HELLO: How did you get started on this idea of opening a business in gift and home decor items? Talha Javed: Giving gifts has been an integral part of our culture ever since time began. We noticed that everybody isn’t verbally expressive and giving gifts eases them into expressing their emotions. And when we started there were no gift stores in Karachi, so we launched Dreams.
HELLO:What resources were most invaluable to you when starting your business. Talha Javed: Family support. I was only sixteen when my brothers and I stepped foot into this venture but my parents and family believed in us and supported us throughout. With limited capital and resources, to begin with, their faith in me was a constant reassurance that has shaped Dreams and me into what we are today.
HELLO:What are your biggest challenges as an entrepreneur? Talha Javed: Our customers are just not people who buy our products, but they’re our family. The Dreams Family as I like to call it. So in order to keep our family happy and connected to us, we find it challenging to maintain high-quality standards. With importing products and fluctuating exchange rates and heavy taxes maintaining competitive prices has been a real challenge.
HELLO:What is your favorite part about starting this business? Talha Javed: My favorite part has been putting my dream into reality. And that is what the name Dreams implies. I just wanted a diverse variety of gifting items under one roof and that is what I did. We have a variety of more than 2000 gift items in our stores. This variety covers high-end fashion accessories and home decor products. A variety that serves everyone.
HELLO:With everything going digital, how difficult is it do you think to bring people to shops in this ‘online era? Talha Javed: What matters to us is the customer’s ease. We now have an e-store and a wonderful marketing team that works tirelessly for customer accessibility all over Pakistan.
HELLO:Where do you source your products? Tell us what your e-store offers? Talha Javed: We are authorized retailers for swiss and fashion watches. While we get some watches from multiple official distributors in Pakistan, we also import some ourselves. As for home decor products, we import them ourselves and we also distribute them in the market. Our e-store offers an online gifting service, which includes gift packaging and delivery all across Pakistan.
HELLO:What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in starting and running your own business? Talha Javed: When there is risk there is opportunity. Back in 2001 when I started with this concept of a gift store, everybody told me that it is very risky. But now that I look back it was risky, yes, but it also turned into a great opportunity.
HELLO:What sets you apart from other people in the same business? Talha Javed: Great customer service. Competitive prices and top-notch selection of products.