Best in bedding at Cozy Linen | Sunday Observer

Best in bedding at Cozy Linen

story by Sabeena Wahid
story by Sabeena Wahid

Cozy Linen is a soft furnishing shop located on Queens’s Road. The shop itself would not have come to be without the hard work and courage of entrepreneur and business woman Naushaly De Livera who first opened the store in 2005 and has been providing quality products that can guarantee its customers a good nights sleep.

The success of the shop was no cake walk. After finishing her studies, Naushaly found herself working in the garment sector with her father manufacturing children’s wear. The placement itself had massive pressures involved which she enjoyed; however, it was not something she saw herself doing for the rest of her life. She believed that there was more scope for her career wise.

One thing for certain was that Naushaly had a love for interiors and home ware. This combined with her desire to start her own enterprise led to the birth of Cozy Linen. She was also motivated by the fact that there was no specific outlet for soft furnishing in Sri Lanka. It was a niche market and it was both adventurous and risky, yet it was different. Coming from a business-oriented family gave her the support and the push that she needed to start the company.

Her upbringing in a very business-oriented family allowed her to be bold and open up her own business. Considering that she had grown up learning the ins and outs of how to run a successful company, she was on home ground. The company started as a bedding store due to her feeling that people needed to have a good night’s sleep, as the day is best started when people are well rested.

Starting and running your own company is no easy task. There were many successes and failures throughout the way; however, she did not let anything get in the way of her running a successful business. Through her failures she was able to learn and improve on her mistakes because in this market in order to succeed, you have to pick yourself up when you fall and keep going. In addition, being a female comes with its own set of disadvantages, such as the lack of cooperation from vendors overseas, who were not keen on doing business with her as soon as they realised the sender of the emails was in fact a woman. Naushaly believed that issues like this can only be resolved through kindness and patience, which is in fact how she created a solid communication network between her, her vendors and her team. She says good communications is a major factor in a successful business.

However, this was not always something that she pictured herself doing, Naushaly initially saw herself as being part of the finance trade working in a bank. This is partially due to the limited options provided to her at school. Here, the thinking was that the only jobs worth mentioning was that of being a doctor, banker or engineer. Being an entrepreneur and starting her own business was never part of her plans when she was growing up.

Cozy Linen initially started off as just a bedding store but quickly expanded to include other household items, in order, to make it more convenient for the buyers as Naushaly found that people don’t have time to go from shop to shop. To minimise the time people spent driving between shops she expanded her collection to include table cloths, towels and even has introduced curtains 3 years ago this has allowed customers to match their bedding with the curtains.

Currently, 90% of Cozy Linen’s products are stitched in house; this in turn allows her to have a tighter grip on the overall quality and the end result of the product. By not outsourcing the products it allows her to control, what is stitched, the designs that are stitched and allows her to manage orders that have been placed. In addition, Naushaly, ensures that Cozy Linen stays on top by constantly looking for new ideas and makes sure that the shop constantly has a fresh look that appeals to customers. Bed linens for home and for hotels are all manufactured in house. Naushaly is very involved with this. She does work in the back room with her girls telling them exactly how to do it. This allows her and her team to produce products that reach the expectations of their clients.

For their bedding, they use natural materials such as a 100% cotton, rarely using mixed blends to ensure that the material was breathable we are in a tropical country that can get quite humid. They recently introduced bamboo which is a soft material that takes the shape of the body. She takes her inspiration for the designs from a number of things including embroiderys that she would want in her own home as well as inspiration also comes from designs that she sees when travelling overseas.

Their success may also be attributed to the fact that they provide free advice. Her team gives customers ideas as to how to decorate their home, by going to the houses, measuring their beds and their mattresses and providing advice as to how to soft furnish it.

Despite the growth of online shopping, Naushaly prefers the one on one interaction with her customers as to her it ensures customer satisfaction that online websites may not be able to provide. However, she does take the extra step to ensure that people who are unable to physically make it to the store (due to work constraints or other issues) have alternatives through WhatsApp which still allows the one on one interaction which leads to customer satisfaction. However, she does believe that all eggs should not be in one basket; Naushaly loves the idea of challenges in starting new ventures and currently has some new challenges up her sleeve that she will not disclose until the time is right.

Credit for her success as a businesswoman is shared with her team as well as her family who provided her with the support and the help that she needed in order to allow her to fulfil her duties as a mother and a wife and a businesswoman. Without the support and dedication of her team and her family, Naushaly genuinely believes that Cozy Linen would not be as successful as it is. She says her team is what makes running Cozy Linen easier as they understand her style and what the brand should be “Considering the responsibilities we have as wives and as women, if we don’t have a good team, you can’t do it”, says Naushaly In addition, Naushaly believes the support at home, whether it’s asking her sister or her mother to pick up the kids, goes a long way in making the challenges of developing a successful business easier.

The advice she would give to young girls who are aspiring entrepreneurs is to “follow your dream, whatever the circumstances, every single one has a drive in them, focus the drive for the positive outcome, don’t get disheartened if you fail, learn and move forward, I believe everyone has a talent, recognise it and utilise it and make your dream a reality.” The most important thing that Naushaly stressed was to not be afraid of age; even if you’re 60 or 18 it isn’t too late or too early to start a business as long as there is a passion for it. “Don’t be afraid at all, just strive for it and be persevering even if it doesn’t happen as soon as you expect it to.”

Pix by Ranjith Asanka