ITLoW talks to the guys behind Tohfay & MamooinPakistan

April 24, 2009 at 10:55 pm 13 comments

Shahzad & Mehdi on the ITLoW setWhen I first heard of MamooinPakistan, I thought it was an amazing concept. There are so many Pakistanis that live overseas who constantly worry about parents or other family members back home. They feel helpless when they can’t be there to lend a helping hand. So MamooinPakistan must have come as an answer to their prayers.

I hadn’t realized the total scope of the services that Maamoin Pakistan offered until I spoke with Mehdi Hasnain and Shahzad Qureshi, the CEO and Chief Resource Officer of Tohfay Inc, the parent firm.

In this episode of “In the Line of Wire” Shahzad and Mehdi tell me that people ask for (and receive) all sorts of services – including getting copies of birth certificates, selling and buying real estate, making marriage arrangements, taking people for medical check-ups and even saying fateha (prayers) at gravesites on behalf of tohfay_incthose who are too far away. Their business model was simple. They recognized a need and fulfilled it, after which they didn’t wait around for customers. Unlike those who believe “build it and they will come”, they spent a significant amount on marketing online and on ethnic channels in the US – Geo, ARY, PTV. And it worked.

With Tohfay, they have been very successful indeed. People have sent not just flowers, sweets and the like to their families back home, they have sent motorbikes, airconditioners and now the number one item is going to be generators. Imagine that!

Mehdi and Shahzad also talked about how they met, how 6 partners got together to launch Tohfay. A lot can be learned from the way these young people have formed and run their business. They wrote down everything, defined roles for each of the partners, brainstormed and included in their agreements the possible exit strategies for any partner who wished to leave, what would happen to their stake, how disputes would be settled, etc etc. We sometimes hear of founding partners having disagreements and businesses having to fold up because nothing had been agreed to or worked out when the companies were formed.

With the success of Tohfay in the US, the partners have decided to launch a version for Pakistan. They have, in addition, launched other ventures like ShaadiWaadi and Doodhpatti. They believe that all these are answers to the need of the market. And they don’t intend to stop here. They have many more ideas, and they will continue to implement them one at a time, ensuring the quality of service that their customers have come to expect from them. Good luck guys. We will follow your progress with great interest.

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13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Obaid Ahmed  |  April 25, 2009 at 12:07 am

    I think they nailed it when they say that Pakistani market is very tempting to serve. It is a great opportunity by itself.🙂

    Reply
  • ITLoW talks to the guys behind Tohfay & MamooinPakistan…

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  • […] This cup of tea was served by: In the Line of Wire […]

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  • 4. Arsalaan Haleem  |  April 25, 2009 at 9:49 am

    Way to go Shahzad and Mehdi…..yah!!!

    Reply
  • 5. Zia Ahmed  |  April 25, 2009 at 11:01 am

    Nice Ideas, and overall a very Nice Implementation of these ideas in Pakistan.

    The main thing is see how nicely they are facilitating lives, how they are caring your parents & others back home while you are abroad through MamooInPakistan.com, easily send gifts to your loved ones using Tohfay.com, and DoodhPatti.com contains even a big picture in it. Once must have a look at those sites!

    Reply
  • 6. Ziad Asim  |  April 26, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Great concept but more then facilitating lives there concept is making money… One can understand profitability but how much is enough:

    2KG mithai and small Bouquet Charge: 26.09 @ 78Rs/$ = 2035.02 Rs.

    Where:
    2KG mithai is approx. 360 Rs.
    1 Small Bouquet is approx. 150 Rs.
    TCS would approx be 100 Rs.
    Total: 610 Rs.

    Profit to be: 1425.02 Rs.

    Please note that they are not shipping anything from overseas and will be arranging from pakistan and most probably from the city where it needs to be delivered.

    Concept is good but expense is huge…

    Reply
  • 7. mehdi  |  April 26, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    Ziad

    thx for taking the time for digging into our model and structure..
    just to put things in a bit more perspective… you are partially correct on costs.. but there are other costs such as running three offices (US, KHI/LHR) and direct marketing/sales presence in a major way in 6 countries. Marketing, and overhead costs outnumber the direct COGS in this business. I believe our customers understand that value addition and that the real profits remain like any other business in the range where they are viable then the cost of capital

    Also remember we do offer money back gurantees and a very tough customer base (Pakistanis with foreign customer service exposure) do use it whenever they can..:-)

    In response to one question of JehanAra, I did clearly spelled out myself.. “every business exists to answer a need and the purpose of every business should be to make money”..

    So you are on the mark there.

    thx again for sharing your input !

    Reply
  • 8. Arsalaan Haleem  |  April 27, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    Excellent reply, Mehdi!

    Reply
  • 9. nadia zuberi  |  May 3, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    we are all so proud of you guys. you are the kind of people who make difference in other people’s life .

    Reply
  • 10. Dr. Syed Ali Salman  |  May 4, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    As I know Tohfay since it’s inception, and unfortunately could not be a partner of this, I know how much effort has been put in to give satifaction, money back guarantee to the customers. Tohfay has provided quality, genuine products, at affordable costs, The people who have used these services will agree. As far as the cost is concerned, It’s hard to charge extra in such competitive markets & businesses where even the courier companies, having complete infra structure have to charge extra money, to ensure delivery on time. It’s the emotion that is delivered, not the thing.

    Reply
  • 11. Ahmad  |  May 12, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    AnyOne might tell me, If i want to buy something (being in pakistan) directly from US market and have it delivered in pakistan, Is there a service for this ?

    Many online stores dont directly deliver to pakistani market, so I am looking for an indierct route, or a company in between with some reasonable charges.

    there are many gadgets one dont find easy around here or are quite expensive here and want it delivered here.

    I am sure there must be some service, Plz Update.

    Thanks

    Reply
  • 12. Send gifts to Pakistan  |  October 20, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    Pakistani market is growing.

    Reply
  • 13. sara  |  May 8, 2015 at 2:45 am

    the reason behind thier success is that they market at an emotional level. they desing thier products according to what the common man wants and what he wants is no khuwaarii. also they always support feminist issues and morals and celebrate women alot in pakistan which is a great move because if you see how much the women love the television and tohfay always please itself in women centric shows and talks about womens day and family etc. The marketing team behind this brand are geniuses and out of box thinkers considering that pakistan has a money gifting culture rather than item gifting and still they survived goes onto prove how great their team is in reality.

    Reply

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