He is the revolutionary man who came up with the concept of an e-commerce portal to address the situation at a trying time following the twin-tower tragedy that changed the world forever making it difficult for the South Asian immigrants to shop and send gifts back home to their families. Colors recently had a tête-à-tête with the icon of change.
Every human being dreams about change, no matter whether that change is a small one or something close to a huge stride towards the future. All one needs is the will to succeed and the spirit that greases one’s effort to scale the ladder of success. These are words mouthed by one of the most successful expatriates living in the USA, namely, Raihan Zaman. Known for his dedication and perseverance, he is the founder of one of the fastest growing e-commerce site, utshob.com.
I have been quite popular when I began as a sales representative of Hillside Honda in New York. Now I am one of the most successful entrepreneurs. Building on my previous reputation, I embarked on this project of utshab.com, which is now considered the most reliable platform by many. This new outfit couldn’t have come into being without the sacrifices we had made, said Raihan.
Raihan Zaman is more popular than his unique enterprise. He is the icon of North America whose name has forever been etched into the community’s collective consciousness. He is well known in New York as a promoter of culture. He has been behind so many programs and events, always sponsoring them to benefit the huge expatriate community living there, that his name has become part and parcel of the cultural life in New York. These are programs that work as a connecting cord between erstwhile home they had left behind and the new home they embraced.
In 2017 utshob.com has completed its 12 year run and after that it has grown further spreading its wings to ensure services to all and sundry. The idea, now, is to take the course of Amazon, Raihan points out.
Raihan Zaman was born in Chattogram, Bangladesh, and has lived in New York since arriving in the United States as a student in 1993. He is one person whose prolonged stay in the US has not changed him much. That he still feels a strong affinity with Bangladesh and Bengali culture is a well known fact. He has been representing South Asian migrants in America as an advocate of their rights. His efforts in working for the betterment of the peoples who reached the shore of the Atlantic from the countries of South Asia seeking prosperity also include support to ensure sustenance of their social-cultural identity and education. He is an indefatigable worker-thinker of the digital era who has been working to ensure unity and reorganization of the South Asian migrant communities.
The tragic events of September 11, 2001, led to immigration restrictions. And due to the tightening of applications process so many of the immigrants found themselves trapped in the system. Millions were left in the lurch, as they were unable to obtain legal status. No longer able to travel freely or open bank accounts, they were left with limited means to purchase essential items or gifts for those who lived back home – loved ones they desperately wanted to support but couldn’t. Moved by the plight of these people, particularly those from South Asia and with an additional focus on Bangladesh, Raihan founded utshob.com in 2005.
The name of the unique e-commerce site derives from the Bengali word that translates to “celebration”. And it has certainly been a cause for celebration among those who can now buy goods without the need for a credit or debit card, and send them to family and friends back in Bangladesh and other points across South Asia. In addition to the online store, physical outlets are available in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx, each of which has a substantial Bangladeshi population. Word of utshob.com spread like wildfire, quickly making it a household name among Bangladeshi people across the United States, Canada and Australia. Today, after more than ten years in operation, utshob.com offers more than 30,000 products from 600 vendors worldwide, and processes more than 10,000 orders for its customers each day.
But Raihan’s worthy endeavors have not stopped there. Since the launch of utshob.com, he has championed a wide range of causes benefiting the people of Bangladesh. Utshob.com continually provides generous sponsorship to Bangladeshi events across New York and the United States – including, since 2015, FOBANA. In addition, Raihan has founded several other organizations whose goal is to further Bangladeshi arts and entertainment, finance and job creation, education and crucial awareness efforts. And in October of 2016, Raihan proudly launched partner site utshobbd.com – an online portal which now allows consumers in Bangladesh itself to return the love by sending staples and gifts to their own loved ones the world over. Expansion of utshob.com is also underway.
I am always immersed in work. There is no other alternative to hard work and one must also continue building the cobweb of one’s dreams. This is the key to success, say Raihan. After 20 or so years, Raihan Zaman is still dreaming of bigger achievements. He is of the opinion that if the next generation is to succeed in making their dreams come true, they too need to work relentlessly.