The determination and passion in achieving a successful life has always been at the forefront of Naseer Bhatti’s life, be it in his personal or business endeavours. Having started right from ground zero in the carpet business, Naseer has climbed many rungs of his career ladder towards owning a business in Kuala Lumpur’s prime business district in the vicinity of KLCC. Abee Rugs which was started in 2012, is a well-known carpet establishment sought out by those who know the true, ethereal beauty of a silk Persian rug. In a recent chat with Top 10 of Malaysia, the entrepreneur extraordinaire Naseer Bhatti talks about his success story in the carpet business and his way of going about it.
The ethereal beauty of a hand-woven Persian silk carpet is an exhilarating moment as one gets charmed by the intricate design and the different shades and hues of colours. Entering Abee Rugs, the carpet establishment owned by Naseer Bhatti since 2012 and observing the works of Persian carpet weavers while listening to Naseer’s illustration of carpet making, one gets the overwhelming tendency to fathom the tenacious effort, patience and mastery in completing the magnificent pieces of artistic perfection by skilled hands. Naseer, who has been involved in the carpet business almost all his life, will certainly enthral any listener with his explanation on the mechanics of knotted weaving of carpets as if a live demonstration on carpet weaving is being presented. “Art has always been a part of my life and with each carpet having a unique design of patterns and colours, there is always the excitement with new designs constantly streaming in,” comments Naseer.
He first started off by helping out in his cousin’s carpet business after having moved from Pakistan to Malaysia about 25 years ago. Naseer was in his twenties then with an engineering background to boot. He learnt the business from ground zero, gaining experience and knowledge about the dynamics of the carpet industry while simultaneously adapting and meeting local customer demands. The experience he gained, including that of having been a door-to-door salesman, has tremendously helped in the building of a loyal customer base for his business. Naseer has even been invited to the weddings of his loyal customers’ children who were just toddlers when he first met with them.
Although having achieved a high degree of success, Naseer is extremely down to earth with a sense of humility, courage and conviction in managing the business. “I have been in this business for 25 years and I have experienced the ups and downs of the industry. The most important factor is customer service which has to be a personalised one. Most of my customers have been with me for a long time and have helped to build my customer base. I prefer to establish long term relationships rather than to make quick profits,” says Naseer. The Abee Rugs brand which is underpinned by trust and integrity combined with quality products and efficient services, has become a first choice amongst many new home owners.
However, Naseer contended that Abee Rugs (named after his wife), will need some time to reach greater heights as it is still new. The marketing strategies are executed through online media and promotional activities in the form of talk shows, group discussions and general consultation on maintenance and knowledge of carpets – notably Persian carpets. Naseer’s strategic approach is to utilise the push factor as opposed to the pull factor. He comments, “The old way of doing business where you just sit in your shop and wait for customers will not work in this day and age. We have to go out and do promotions and only then will you have the opportunity to draw the customers in.” This is evident from the frequent appearances Naseer makes on television and radio talk shows and the popularity of Abee Rugs in the social media.
Coming from a traditional Punjabi family that hails from Lahore, Pakistan, the entrenchment of Pakistani culture in Naseer’s life is obvious. He makes it a point to go back to Pakistan annually and also meet up with relatives and friends of the Pakistani community in Kuala Lumpur frequently. Naseer, his wife (who is a homemaker) and their two children aged six and thirteen make up a close-knit family. Leisure times are mainly spent watching sports such as cricket and football while family time is strictly observed on Sundays and after 8 pm on other days.
The two people whom Naseer considers as role models are Dr Mahathir and Imran Khan from Pakistan. Both are charismatic personalities who have inexorably executed visions that have gained prominence on the global platform; Mahathir as an ex-Prime Minister and Imran Khan as a cricketer. “I have a great vision to grow my business and based on my role models I am sure I will achieve my vision to be a carpet entrepreneur extraordinaire,” says Naseer with a sparkle in his eyes.