Please tell us about your journey to fabric making. How did it start?
Mudassir is my real name and Brothers came from my siblings with whom l share a father. I incorporated them so that the business would enjoy Almighty Allah’s blessings and as a way of strengthening kinship which Allah stresses in many places. I, therefore, felt that doing that would attract Allah’s bounty in the business. Alhamdulillah Allah has been part of this business and by His grace, the name has come to stay.
Since the beginning of the business, we had experienced a lot of difficulties and challenges. In 2003, the Nigerian Customs Service seized a large consignment of goods belonging to the company that led to a great loss for us. This brought the company to a total standstill. The company has able to bounce back and make progress since then. The sky is our limit by Allah’s grace.
Why did you choose textile as a business?
As you know you do not just select a career. Oftentimes it is a circumstance that you notice around you based on what Allah has destined in your life. My father had his business in Kwari Market and l used to accompany him at the age of 10. Therefore, I grew fond of fashion over time and decided to make a career in it. As Hausa proverb says “kowane tsuntsu kukan gidansu ya keyi”, meaning “an apple never falls far away from its tree.” Hardly you find a falcon crowing like a cock, although, we cannot rule out that possibility. I decided to follow my father’s footsteps as a businessman and later incorporated real estate, furniture, and cosmetic products amongst other things. I chose to do all that my father did as a businessman and further expanded into estate management and development. I am also into furniture and cosmetic products which my father didn’t do. This is because of the philosophy that once you laid a foundation of a structure you do not stop. l will never relent in appreciating my father who is my boss and my mentor.
How do you keep abreast of happenings in the world of fashion and fabrics?
The world as it is today has become a global village, so you can know what is happening at a push of a button unlike in the past where you had to travel to keep abreast of all your businesses. Take the example of a young lady that makes herself up with cosmetics. She has to learn about cosmetics before purchasing them or asking her parents to procure them for her especially when she is 12 years. Looking at what they wear after every 2 to 3 years, these young ladies would want to overhaul their cosmetic kits. So, if you monitor this trend by the grace of Allah, you will be up to date on the latest trend. The same thing applies to their male counterparts who have reached the adolescent age of 14 to 15 especially those who care much about their dressing. They will be thinking of how to make their purchase or ask their parents to do that for them. You have to take into consideration this category of people. And there is this worldwide platform that has been designated specifically for this class of people which you must follow such as websites that showcase the unique interest of these people, what they want and how they want it. From there, you can add to your stock things that suit them. Social media platforms are a good place to start in knowing the trends. If you are smart enough, you should take advantage of these medium as a person involved in fashion.
What qualities do you think a person in the textile industry must possess for him or her to succeed?
In this life wherever you find yourself as a businessman there are qualities one should have to succeed. I will say in the textile industry a person must adhere to sincerity, honesty, and patience. This is because of trials that will come from Allah. On your part, you should take every precaution to avoid anything that can cause you ruins. Sometimes we utter dangerously unguarded statements about ourselves or invoke some misfortunes as a pretext to free ourselves and they come to pass. We must therefore shun such an attitude. And whatever trial is destined to happen you should always beseech Almighty to put you to a test that you can endure. If you are tested with what you can endure, you will have a divine respite that will keep you from being overwhelmed or going completely insane. I used to advise my people that they should not be a party to any endeavor that falls short of sincerity and honesty. Wherever you are going, do not deceive people, be honest and sincere, Allah will surely see you through. Adhering to all these will make your leadership style a point of reference to many people. In business, trustworthiness is a non-negotiable trait.
In life, you must be either trustworthy or otherwise. As a business owner, many people earned a livelihood in your shop/company. How sincere someone is means a lot to the people under him. If you find yourself among these individuals, you will be trustworthy for the sake of Allah. Have it at the back of your mind that you are working to earn a living so do your employees, Allah Almighty is watching. If Allah sees this trait in you, He will uplift you and you will become somebody in the society, you will be counting His blessing in your life. But if Allah sees wickedness in you, you might never come into the light and become successful. These are some of the qualities you will adhere to before submitting to Allah’s will and sure Allah will do the rest for you, and you will have the utmost assurance that He is the Granter of your wishes and nobody else.
For instance, if someone is endowed with wealth, it is wise to create ways for your neighbors, friends, relatives and other people to benefit from it, no matter how little, this will make people happy with you and bless it. Also, Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala will be happy with you, and the wealth will continue to rise and reach a greater height.
Being a major stakeholder in fashion, what kind of advice do you have for the upcoming ones who aspire to be part of this line of business?
Out of every one-thousand individuals that are in business today in Nigeria, only one percent of the people come into this business. What is a market or business? Whenever you wear a cap and someone sees it and asks you where you buy it, you will decide to purchase it for him and put your profit on it, it means you have become a businessman and this applies to all sorts of things. By the time you dedicate yourself and put sincerity, honesty, and hard work, things might work right and success in excelling in achieving the desired outcome.
Even among civil servants if you discover that people at your workplace have a taste for brocades and you go to procure them maybe at Mudassir and Brothers, If you sell them, you are a businessman. Civil service has a retirement time, but business endeavors are woven into the life of a businessman. Look critically at what l said you will find it is true. Whosoever knows the market will never quit it but no matter how passionate you are about civil service you will have to retire someday. Although, we do need people in civil service so that we can have representatives in that career, but l want to strongly advise civil servants that they should engage in a business no matter how small it is. This is because the business would become their pension and gratuity with which they will live a decent life after retirement. Come to think of it! How much is the salary? But in business, you earn more than all that. Many civil servants engage in business endeavors, and they are still doing their regular jobs and what they get is by far more than their regular jobs. I can tell you that the avenues through which you can start a business are numerous. There is a huge blessing in business. The noble Prophet did it, and he invoked Allah’s bounty in the business, and people who engage in business today know how profitable it is. How we start is something we must pay attention to. If you do not underestimate your little start by the grace of the Almighty, you will not fall short of success.
l will never relent in reiterating what my father used to tell me that l should always be sincere, honest, and patient. Whosoever wishes to succeed in any business must imbibe these virtues. You must also be respectful to the individuals that are ahead of you in anything you do especially in the business world. Doing that would expose you to valuable secrets and knowledge of the business or market. This is because most of the time the tips that enable you to navigate the business industry can come from the least expected places. While you are learning the strategies as an apprentice, you may be slapped and the fellow who did that might feel he has humiliated you not knowing that he has helped you learn a good lesson that enables you to develop amazingly. But if you are not patient enough how can you take it in good faith? Sincerity, honesty, and patience are the ingredients with which you build a citadel of business that transforms into wealth.
The career you have chosen is no doubt a success story. Are there any group of people or an individual that are behind your success story?
Right from the onset l mentioned the person that helped me and l will never forget him. My father did all his best to ensure l become a businessman. He never relented in inspiring me. He blessed me with a fatherly encouragement. He is among the kind of people l will never forget as long as l live.
In the second category l am profoundly proud of customers who purchase goods from the Mudassir and Brothers because without them you will not even ask this question. People have assisted me in numerous ways. Right from childhood, my father told me repeatedly that it is Almighty Allah that gives wealth but through the instrumentality of people. I grow up respecting those ahead of me. People would give me goods regardless of whether l had money or not and after disposing of the goods, l returned their money; that was what l did until l found the capacity to stand on my own. Those individuals who immensely assisted me in those days know themselves, and Allah knows them better. And my prayer for them will never cease. May Allah guide and empower their children in the best way with prosperity. However, for me to single out one name out of many that have assisted me, l will be unfair to the others.
What are the challenges you faced on your way to success?
l have spoken at length about the challenges we contended with that made us idle for seven months. The operatives of the Nigerian Customs Service confiscated all our goods. You can imagine how terrible it was when you are used to enormous expenditure. As l have been saying, if you are patient everything would come to pass. Nevertheless, we are now experiencing a different challenge of modernity and some unscrupulous persons are using it to harm modern-day businesses. Something that appears harmless enough may be used to cheat unsuspecting thousands of individuals, but we are working collaboratively to put an end to that negative trend. We are optimistic Almighty Allah will give us the upper hand in dealing with those who use a “latter-day diplomacy” to harm our business.
Finally, what is your relationship with other key figures in this business industry?
l will break the question into two to respond to what you asked comprehensively. First, in the whole of Kwari Market, the way it is being run as of now is different from how it was ran in the past and if it will survive the future. l have expanded my horizon by venturing into estate management, construction, and a desire to establish a state-of-the-art textile industry. In this competitive field, l know there are leading actors. Coming back to this the business of textile as well as cosmetics, Alhamdulillah, Mudassir and Brothers have become a reference point being emulated by many businessmen and women.
At Mudassir and Brothers, l have no sufficient words with which to express my deepest gratitude to our committed members of staff and our esteemed customers who have been instrumental to the elevation of our company. Allah is the Ultimate Elevator, but He makes it happen through human beings. Our gratitude also goes to leaders in life, especially in business and politics. I have often been asked about my relationship with this or that politician, some governors, or even some influential business magnates, l must tell you that there is nothing between us except genuine respect for one another. I hold them in high esteem. None of them has brought even one naira into our business as it is being speculated in some ways, of course, we welcome genuine investments. Our doors are wide open for everyone be it a president, governor, etc.
If you believe your style is compatible with ours, we will welcome you into our fold. If you are a business tycoon and you feel there is a way we can work together in an atmosphere of harmony, prosperity, sincerity, and honesty in our business, we welcome you.
I am using this medium to wish Almighty Allah’s blessings upon community leaders within or outside the government, our businessmen and women within and outside Nigeria, Africa, and the world at large, because if you have ever dealt with business communities in China and India you can rest assured you are virtually dealing with the entire world of business.
I am particularly happy the Almighty Allah Has blessed us with good people like Aliko Dangote in the West African subregion. May He also grant that we have Kano indigenes that will be occupying exalted positions across different industries all over the world.
I am incredibly grateful to Almighty Allah for being asked these questions and l am thankful to Him for giving me the wisdom to respond to all your questions.