‘I think of the weddings I manage as if they were for my own family members’
In an exclusive interview with the Dhaka Tribune’s SM Abrar Aowsaf, Sygmaz owner and Creative Head Sigma Mehdi discussed how she came to found the company and the keys to success in the event management industry. Sigma has over 17 years of experience in event management
Sygmaz is one of the most sought after event management companies in Bangladesh, and a pioneer in themed events in the country. The company boasts a client roster which includes celebrities, business leaders, and government organizations.
How did you start Sygmaz?
I started this venture in 2001, although I did not really make a conscious decision to work in this sector in the beginning. Since I used to help my friends with this kind of work, the starting of an event management business naturally happened.
Why should people choose Sygmaz over other event management firms?
People should choose Sygmaz because we are very passionate about our work. I think of the weddings I manage as if they were for my own family members. I do not see any other companies putting in the amount of effort and energy that we put into everything. The manpower, experience and infrastructure we have, has surpassed that of all our rivals. We have 17 years of experience, 70 employees, a huge warehouse, and our own transportation. We do not have to depend on outside suppliers.
Another strength of Sygmaz is that we develop all our designs on our own. We do not copy designs from other companies, or go around copying ideas from the internet. Although we are inspired by ideas from around the world, we are always formulating our own. I see a lot of local companies copying our ideas.
How do you begin working on a project? Can you describe how you take a client’s wishes and turn it into reality?
I first ask the customer if they have done their homework. I customize each event for the client. Most of our clients come to us and end up liking our previous work, and want to follow the trend. However, if somebody wants something out-of-the- box, something I have not really done before, I do my research and go through the whole design process until I come up with something satisfactory.
Clients usually come to us with pictures, or assign a theme. After that, I go ahead and find elements that I can use to suit the theme. Our focus is on creativity. Based on the ideas I have come up with, I draw out sketches of the stage and decorations, and a layout for the venue. If my clients approve, I go ahead and execute the plan.
What sort of events do you focus on?
Weddings are our primary focus. Sygmaz also manages other wedding-related events, birthday parties, and social parties. We have also done a few corporate parties and even managed some fashion shows.
Can you walk us through a busy day in your life?
On a busy day, I usually wake up to phone calls, at around 8:00 to 9:00 am. I always ask my people to send updates through picture of what is happening at our venues, to see how much progress they have made. I correct any minor mistakes over phone. I figure out when to visit the venue based on the progress. Sometimes I have to eat breakfast in the car if I have to rush to a venue.
While there are some bad days, everything just falls in line most of the time. I have had clients who came down to the office with a cake, sent pictures, and thanked us on social media when because they were very happy with our work.
Tell us about a project that you really enjoyed working on.
I once had a client who asked me for something truly out-of-the-box, something that had never been done before. The more I kept pitching ideas, the more they were rejected. In the end, I was able to offer them something unique: an engagement event stage without any flowers, or even a chandelier! In the end, they were very satisfied with my work.
What do you think other event management firms in Bangladesh lack?
The industry lacks originality. You have to have a sense of design, which is not something that you can acquire or learn. You either have it or you do not. Other firms in the industry do have good qualities, but frankly, they are not on our level, because they are not original. Many of them are copying what I am doing, and I have now become a trendsetter for the industry. However, they are not even copying my designs properly!
Things have become much better in the past few years. I guess the newcomers just needed to follow in somebody else’s footsteps.
Sygmaz has a reputation for being very expensive. Is there any truth to the statement?
I really want to dispel the notion that Sygmaz is expensive. I think what people should focus on is the fact that I offer the best value for money in the market.
What people need to understand is that innovation costs money. Most of the things I do are new. I have to buy a lot of new materials and build a lot of things, so that usually raises the cost. I think the rumour being spread about our prices is because to this day, I am the person who has charged the highest for a wedding. But I can also do smaller scale jobs.
If customers do not want something unique and they would prefer one of our older designs, they can come to me and I will charge them much lower than one of our competitors. It is my design, who can replicate it better than me?
What are your future plans for this business?
I have only one plan. To grow. I would like to do more events, although I already handle a lot. We want to start managing small events as well. However, since Sygmaz is already at the top of the industry, I would like to stay where I am.