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Innovative ways of marketing and branding are key to boost the business

Azfar Hassan, Director, Giant Group was born in a prominent textile family. He grew up closely following his family’s business of textiles. After completing his studies in Canada, Hassan has taken the leadership of his family business, as well as, assumed an active role in the country’s young textile and apparel entrepreneur leadership as a Director of BAYLA.

Recently in a close conversation with Textile Today, Azfar Hasaan shared his journey into the apparel industry, his goal and ways to recover from upcoming challenges. Also, expressed his vision of branding Bangladesh and the textile and apparel industry around the globe.

Textile Today: Could you please share with us your journey into the apparel sector? 

Azfar Hassan: My journey or inclusion in the apparel industry started at a very early age. My father Faruque Hassan (President of BGMEA & Managing Director of Giant Group) use to take me to the factory after every Friday prayer. Frankly speaking, the total family has been evolved around the readymade garment (RMG) industry.

Figure: Azfar Hassan, Director, Giant Group & Director of BAYLA.

The right environment, temperament, and attitude – every necessary ingredient always persisted in my family. From my childhood, I have seen the efforts and challenges the textile and apparel sector put to improve the situate ion. This is why all along I belong – my heart and soul – to the apparel industry and started my career with passion and a long-term vision.

I studied abroad. I did my O levels from a renowned boarding school in Malaysia. Moved to Toronto and did my high school from there. Then completed my graduation from the University of Toronto. Then in 2015, I came back to Bangladesh, joined Giant Group and started from the basics. Now I am looking after the all operations of the company.

Textile Today: What is crucial for the young people in Bangladesh to become an entrepreneur in the textile and apparel sector or a successful professional? Also, a lot of the young textile engineers, entrepreneurs are coming into the sector and getting demotivated after battling the challenges. Kindly share with us the outlook they should adopt to overcome these.

Azfar Hassan: For 2nd or 3rd generation entrepreneurs like us, I would say starting from the very basic level is vital to comprehensively understand the whole business process. Only then, you will be better able to successfully market/brand your product.

Learning is the paramount aspect, every day we have to keep on learning to make a change. What I believe for 2nd and 3rd generation entrepreneurs that they have to have a clear understanding of the whole process of manufacturing. As it is a complex and multi-faced industry, with so many things going on simultaneously.

Another vital aspect is developing your workforce. We do not want to prune our experienced people. Rather, we develop their skills to retune with the current pace. It is a gigantic task, but not impossible, as I have done that with meticulous planning and training.

Azfar Hassan, Director, Giant Group & Director of BAYLA

Having said that, as decision-makers, our every verdict impacts everybody in the company. Emphasizing the need of working hard, patience, sincerity and knowledge to make a person a leader and an asset for the company.

Bangladesh’s textile and apparel sector needs positive branding. Most of the RMG factories only do branding with buyers in their minds. But the time has come for the industry to do employee branding. RMG leaders should highlight the opportunities and scopes fresh graduates have here. This will give the apparel sector the right kind of people.

Textile Today: What is your main goal and how can you define your plan? Also, share with us the challenges you faced to make the Giant Group a process-driven organization. 

Azfar Hassan: I plan to maximize efficiency within the existing capacity. Like we have 25 tons dyeing-finishing-fabric capacity every day, 1500 sewing machines with which I am content and I do not want to increase it. Rather, as I said, we will maximize efficiency.

As a Group, I will rank Giant as a medium category – neither super big nor small. We have the full vertical setup, except the yarn.

As for the challenges, for a very long local RMG factories are not process-driven. From that point, transforming it into a process-driven company was a mammoth task. There was no magic ladder. I took one step at a time – here patience is crucial. Convincing my family and the senior management of the factory was tough. But once everybody has seen the positive outcome, then we did not have to look back to implement the new processes.

Azfar Hassan at a Glance!

Day starts with Physical Workout
Weekly 3 days at Office & 3 days at Factory
Love to Hangout with Friends
Favorite Food Steam Rice, Dal and Beef Bhuna
Height 6 ft 2 inches
Sports Badminton & Basketball
Hobby Eating, Travelling, Reading Book, Listening Song, Watching Movies and Writing Review

Another vital aspect is developing your workforce. We do not want to prune our experienced people. Rather, we develop their skills to retune with the current pace. It is a gigantic task, but not impossible, as I have done that with meticulous planning and training.

Let me share a most important aspect of a great leader, that is you have to treat your peers with respect. For 2nd and 3rd generation entrepreneurs arrogance is a huge setback.

Besides challenges, there are a lot of opportunities for new entrepreneurs. Like we joined in a well-running industry. Where we have existing buyers, markets, etc. thanks to our previous generation. For my part, I focused on innovative ways of marketing and branding.

Textile Today: BD’s textile and apparel industry has achieved a tremendous level of sustainability to shed off the negativity it got due to some unwanted incidents. What are your thoughts regarding the next 5 to 10 years’ challenges the industry needs to overcome?

Azfar Hassan: R&D, technology and innovation will be the most significant issue soon. In Giant Group, we are doing R&D on fabric. For example, we have done some innovative washing on cotton fabric – tough cotton. Making the fabric last long (5 to 10 years).

Every aspect of a factory can be innovative. From marketing, product development, branding, process development, to minimize costs. After joining here, I have made a lot of innovations in the micro aspect. But most importantly, it is not just me, it is a team effort that made it possible.

Textile Today: Kindly share your role in BAYLA.

Azfar Hassan: In BAYLA, I am overseeing the industry partnership among other associations. I am focusing on things like collaborations, partnerships, innovations, etc.

If anyone has any feedback or input regarding the published news, please contact: info@textiletoday.com.bd

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