After Markhor, Mont5 is all set to rise to stardom. It is an eCommerce leather startup with a successful kickstarter campaign with 135% of it being funded within the first week. This shows that online commerce is fast becoming a medium for Pakistanis to showcase their true talent, and make some real money along the way.
Fahim Akhtar, the co-Founder of Mont5 is passionate about creating a Pakistani product which represents the quality and craftsmanship of Pakistanis. Currently, Mont5 sells leather jackets only. Fahim firmly believes that it just takes one product to change the direction of a country, and wants to take the falling exports of Pakistan (21% decrease in 2015) and put them on a growth path.
This old craft of leather apparel is dying fast in Pakistan and those who practice it are barely making enough money to survive on a day-to-day basis. Fahim’s own head tailor with 30 years of experience was driving a rickshaw when they found him.
Here is what he has to say about the Pakistani export industry in general and the Pakistani leather industry in particular:
China’s export stood at $28.17 billion in 2007-08, exports of India stood at $4.87 billion in same period, Bangladesh’s exports at $0.379 billion in same period and Pakistan’s exports stood at $1.220 billion in 2007-08. But in 2012-13, exports of China stood at $42.40 billion (percentage change 50.51), India at $5.90 billion (percentage change 21.20), Bangladesh at $1.30 billion (percentage change 343) and exports of Pakistan stood at $1.142 billion with a negative growth (-6.39 percent). Given these numbers, I believe tech is the savior of Pakistani exports specially leather, using online direct selling channels we can get the things right on track.
The startup has already exceeded all expectations by going way past its initial fundraising target of $18,000. It aims to cut the middle-man who have exorbitant profit margins, and make the buyers deal directly with the craftsmen. This means that premium-quality leather jackets can once again be affordable for an ordinary consumer. More importantly, every item is customized and tailored to fit the need of the buyer with no extra cost.
Although, Mont5 is more geared towards international markets right now, it will not be long before this luxury can become affordable in the local market too, as the cost of production drops down further with new innovations.
Zia ul Ghafoor, the founder of Mont5 has successfully created a business model that has brought down the price of a leather jacket to less than $400. This, he believes, will give more share of the revenue to the actual makers of the product – the craftsmen.
If Mont5 is successful, it will be a green signal to many aspiring entrepreneurs who can use native resources to make tonnes of money without having to rely on distributors and retailers. All you need to do is to open up an online store. And with low operating costs, you can have a happy customer and be very profitable at the same time. Of course, with the growth of social media advertising, you don’t need a big budget to make sure that enough people have heard about your product.