The CEO of the company gives everyone freedom
Safeer Ahmed is our Business Process Manager. He is invested in automating our systems and processes so the company can run smoother than ever. He is a passionate tech-savvy professional who loves sustainable fashion. He believes that Kingly is just starting its journey and it will have great success in the nearest future. Let’s get to know him and learn what he thinks makes the company stand out.
Safeer, tell me more about your responsibilities within the company. What are the projects and initiatives that you are involved in?
Initially, I have been hired to do troubleshooting and to make the business processes efficient. To keep the business flow simple and smooth, and to spare some of the stress on my colleagues. And at the same time to have fewer problems or mistakes. Later on, I embraced different responsibilities. I joined different departments for a while. I took control of the CRM to understand in depth how our eternal system is working. For a certain time, I was involved with Quality Assurance which involves virtual, digital, and physical assurance. So I have experience in that area as well. Also, I got involved in the preparation of our trade shows in Europe. Rob, our CEO, delegated me the task to organize them. He wanted me to take this responsibility and I did. I have just completed the preparation of 3 shows – in the UK (Merchandise world), in France (CTCO), and in Spain (PROMOGIFT). But there are many more coming.
Honestly speaking, that was my first experience of this sort. The documentation part of the process went well. After that, we had a plan of what products we needed to bring to these exhibitions. For instance, we impregnated sports socks with the Polygiene StayFresh technology in an attempt to stop fast fashion. It inhibits the growth of odor-causing bacteria in the socks or any garment that might be treated with it. This allows our customers to use these products as much as possible instead of washing them every day. It is a long-lasting, eco-friendly technology. It will allow us to wear a pair of socks for a week. That way we can save water, and we can save electricity, etc. The objective of that product was to leave a positive impact on climate change. Increasing the life, durability and usage of the product will satisfy our cause. It gives you freshness all the time. It has a very good aroma as well.
To deliver this important idea to the market we have decided to design flyers with powerful messages. We wanted to boost our garment products and our garment facility this year as well. For some of the shows we also prepared some goodie bags as well. In total, we created 20-30 more types of products. For example, we also created some upcycled cushions. And some neon socks, some socks with sustainable textile essencing.
Now I am back to business process and network management. Again, to make all of the processes efficient. Additionally, I have this responsibility for trade shows. You can under code this in networking or processes.
And how did you learn about the company and decided to become part of it? What kind of qualities do you think you possess to help the company grow?
I have a network programming degree from New Bulgarian University. I came to study in Bulgaria in 2016. I have to say I fell in love with the country. In fact, I am planning to live here for the rest of my life. First, I learned some Bulgarian and started my computer science studies. Meanwhile, I had several internships in the IT industry linked to web development, programming and database analysis. Later on, when I finished my studies, I started working for another company as a network specialist.
Later, I met Rob through a friend who works at Kingly. He is now Head of the sock knitting department. Rob and I discussed his business, we exchanged ideas. He liked how calm I am. Then we started to meet up with a group of people from the company. Rob said: “Would you like to join us?” and I said: “Let’s do it”. This is how it all happened.
I have passion. I believe everyone else on my team has passion too. Which is great. I have some specific skill sets which are required by the industry, and by the company. These skills are linked to IT, the understanding of new technology, especially data analysis. I had my Bachelor’s thesis was about data analysis. I believe I can help to automate the systems for Kingly, to help them grow. To not worry about how to make the plans for the future, for the projects, the cost and how to make the projects cost-effective. How to make the project more profitable and how to make things more efficient? These are the qualities or the skillsets I have. Our IT manager, Fernando, and I are doing some research on some new systems that can boost our Sales, production, and all processes.
Was there anything specific within these conversations that draw you towards the company? I ask this question because we create very specific, sustainable products for the promotional merchandise industry. Was this something that you were interested in?
Yes, Kingly is not only a manufacturer but a promotional merchandiser. Our clients are mostly advertising agencies and big IT companies. This really attracted me. The other thing was the position and the responsibilities that Rob offered me. Management and process implementation is my specialty. In the previous company I worked for, I had similar responsibilities linked to planning and creating strategies. This is the extension of the previous job. That is why I liked it and it is very important for my carrier as well. Also, I might have really big chances to grow. That was the initial objective.
What are the pressures of the job? What are the challenges you have to overcome on daily basis?
Oh, there is a challenge every day. There are a lot of tasks. But it is not only them, it is also the task flow. I need to complete everything in time and do it successfully. In the beginning, I was very stressed. Now I understand the system of Kingly, as well as the culture of the company. I am capable of dealing with all kinds of challenges on daily basis. I have progressed because of Kingly.
And what is the most rewarding part of your job? What do you find most enjoyable?
Every single process is enjoyable. Every day I face new tasks and new challenges. It is a great opportunity to learn. It is not like I am doing one single thing every day. I have to step out of my comfort zone, find solutions and communicate with my team members. They are very polite and they help me a lot. And it feels great to learn directly from the CEO of the company – he gives you the freedom to do whatever you want if you believe it is going to work. There are no restrictions. This really inspires me.
You mentioned that Rob gives you the freedom to do whatever you think is right. What kind of qualities do you think he has as a leader in this company?
He is very optimistic. I have never seen any other person in my life who goes beyond calculated risk. Whenever he thinks something is worth doing, he jumps right to it. He has the most experience in this industry than any of us, so he knows the ins and outs. He doesn’t need formulas or calculations – he just points at the target. Which is quite optimistic. At the same time, it is quite realistic as well. Because when I and other team members do the calculations, we understand that it is possible to reach the goal. He is not bluffing; we can do it. He always gives us hope. He never disappoints with his decisions which is great. And this is very rare. There are not that many CEOs who give you that much freedom.
What kind of good practices do you think should stay in the company? And what can be improved?
The good and the bad exist together. There are things that need some kind of improvement. And there are very good things at the same time. On one hand, people are very helpful and they are working together to overcome problems. On the other hand, our business model is a bit outdated. We can improve in that specific area. Now there are many technologies for our kind of business. By using them, we can reduce our costs, mistakes and stress levels. If we continue using the old technologies, we will not be able to have more accurate projections on where we can take the company. By switching to new technology, we will be 30-40% better than we are now.
Kingly is currently in the position to take off. I believe that Kingly hasn’t even started its journey yet. This year will be a very big year for the company as we are going to start garment production. This is like a big new world in the company. We are going to take off and grow, grow, grow. And you are going to see that by the end of 2025 that Kingly has grown massively. I have this belief about the company and the team.
We are extremely invested in eco-sustainability and zero-waste production. Global warming is a very big challenge in the world today. As a manufacturer, we are aiming to reduce the bad impact on the climate which also reflects on people’s lives. I believe the best stories are linked to upcycling. But people are still unaware of the added value of upcycled products. I think it is because people don’t buy products for themselves, they buy products to shift other people’s perceptions of them. They care about other people’s opinions. But we need to change this.
The company is a safe space for women’s empowerment because we have more women workers than male. This is a very new experience for me. For European people that might not be a big deal but for us it is. Especially, having in mind that I came from Pakistan where participation in the workplace is gender-based.
Let me a little bit about what you like to do for fun, in your spare time.
It is my dream to build a project, develop my own products, to have my own startup. On the sporty part – I play cricket and badminton, and I go bawling with friends. I enjoy traveling as well. I love fashion. I like to keep myself up to date and understand this industry. I am happy that now I am connected with the fashion industry as well.
Find out why our practices were awarded the Socially Responsible Strategic Management Award 2022 here.
Don’t hesitate to contact us via email@example.com and ask for more info about our green products.