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Manufacturers need branding themselves to get fair price

Brands and retailers are branding themselves only. However, they should inform to their ultimate customers about the improvement done and the commitment of safety and sustainability in those manufacturing units done by the garments owners so that the ultimate customers think positive to pay a fair price. In this regard, manufacturers also should work more on their own branding.

Abdullah Hil Rakib, Managing Director of Team Group

‘Together we achieve more’- believing in this theme Team Group started their sublime journey back in 2009 as a readymade garments manufacturer. Unique of its kind, Team Group has been working as a one-stop complete fashion solution to many global clothing retailers producing knits, sweaters, shirts & blouses, denim jeans & jackets, nylon outerwear etc. a wide range of Product on a single platform made them unique and attractive to many global retailers. They have a dedicated and skilled workforce of 14,000 employees to produce 4.2 million pieces of garments per month. Team group has expanded its business in the healthcare sector also.

Abdullah Hil Rakib Managing Director of Team Group
Figure: Abdullah Hil Rakib, Managing Director of Team Group.

Abdullah Hil Rakib, Managing Director of Team Group revealed his experience and thoughts on the entire journey of his business, the challenges what he overcomes and many insights into the industry. Here is the glimpse of the discussion for Textile Today readers.

Textile Today: How was the journey of the Team Sourcing Company Ltd., a branch of Team Group, after its founding in 2009?

Abdullah Hil Rakib: Well, the Team Sourcing Company started its journey with a request of some of its prominent customers in 2009 as a one-stop sourcing and manufacturing facility. Therefore, with the consistent and continuous support from its customers, the growth came up satisfactory from 2009 to 2018 to reach an annual turnover of 252 million dollars. Our vision is to become a reliable global organization that provides excellence through innovation with a forward-looking approach. We believe one day we can establish the name TEAM as a name of comfort and confidence to the whole society, to the nation and to the globe.

Textile Today: Team Group has a global network office including in Toronto, Spain, Italy, Germany, and Hong Kong. How this network is helping you to boost your business internationally?

Abdullah Hil Rakib: Of course, these are the offices which gave us the right direction in terms of trend and fashion. Usually, buyers come here, but we thought if we could reach them, it would be more business friendly.

Team Group products

As an example, we have our office in Spain where our designers producing the actual concept what the customer shunts in terms of trend and fashion. They directly communicate with the buyers to understand their demands and for the designers here in Bangladesh it gets easier to generate the sample in the least possible time. So, that is the main goal for the establishment of these offices around the globe. Another aspect is to understand the customer’s taste and choices precisely season wise. Because brands put their orders and choose designs based on seasons.

Textile Today: Recently apparel manufacturers are calling for a fair price from the buyers as production cost, worker’s wage, the cost for ensuring factory safety and sustainability has been increased. So, what is your opinion on fair price about how can buyers help the manufacturers in terms of fair price?

Abdullah Hil Rakib: We see that brands and retailers are branding themselves only. In some point, if they also brand the manufacturers about how products are producing, how people are working and how things really happen in manufacturers end, I think it may allow the end users to pay a bit more. This is true that manufacturers should work for their branding as well to be heard in the global arena.

The industry has directly employed over 4.5 million and indirectly 8 million people. So, what are the growth plan and the economic emancipation plan of these people? So, the GDP growth rate needs to be maintained perfectly by how you go to the customers and how you brand your products and convince them with your product at a reasonable rate. At that point, we are talking with our customers in these issues. Most of them have shown their positive manner in this regard and we believe that we will overcome this fair price issue nicely.

Textile Today:  As you already know that Bangladesh RMG sector is a buyer-driven industry. So, could we be the manufacturing-driven textile industry in this sector?

Abdullah Hil Rakib: If we can show more efficiency, accuracy and professionalism then maybe we can express ourselves as a manufacturing driven industry. We have our capacity, but our challenges are huge in this sector. We are lagging behind in skilled manpower and fashion sense. For that reason, we are losing the opportunities in the run of competition with our competitors like China, India and Vietnam etc.

If the buyers also brand the manufacturers about how products are producing, how people are working and how things really happen in manufacturers end, I think it may allow the end users to pay a bit more.

Abdullah Hil Rakib, MD of Team Group

We are producing a huge volume of garments but the net profit is very poor because we have a lack in better design and style and also we are not habituated to produce high-end products. Therefore, our fashion designers need to come up with their maximum efforts to overcome these challenges perfectly so that we can negotiate the price in a better way.

Textile Today: We know that ‘Twelve’ is a popular name in Bangladesh fashion industry. So what moved you to start such a new Bangladeshi brand in 2012?

Abdullah Hil Rakib: Bangladesh is growing rapidly over the last two decades and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects 7.1% GDP growth of Bangladesh this year. Within 2023, Bangladesh will be a middle-income country. So, the purchase capacity of this huge population will turn around in a good potentiality. We are selling our products in Europe, America, and Australia. If we can use this experience, efficiency and fashion sense to produce some world standard clothing for our local market, we can serve a portion of this huge population.

Tweleve clothing brand of Team Group

I believe, in the next five years there will be a lot more brands and the entire industry will be standardized into an ideal level with the support of new the generation who will lead this industry. So, that is the main theme which pushes us to come up in the industry with a new Bangladeshi brand ‘Twelve’ in 2012.

Textile Today: What type of challenges did you face from the beginning in this business? How did you overcome the challenges through this entire journey?

Abdullah Hil Rakib: In each of the business, the roads are never smooth. So, in the developing stage, we need to work out and overcome our small challenges. However, the biggest challenge that we have faced in that time was the rent of the properties and proper location. Actually, there is a low regulatory commission here to adjust the rental issue. That is actually killing the growth. But if this type of expense level is going on, we can’t go for further expansion in the future. For an example when we started our brand “Twelve” almost six years back, we stopped ourselves in one shop until we have understood what is happening in this industry and then last year we started moving on. Now, we are facing the difficulties of skilled manpower, professional sales people etc. So, we are trying to build-up our new workforce and hopefully, we will overcome the challenges. I hope that the government would come up with new regulatory policies to adjust and control over the new rental system.

local clothing brand Twelve Team Group

Textile Today: Every brand has some unique specialty, which identifies themselves from others. So, what is the specialty of ‘Twelve’ compared to other local brands?

Abdullah Hil Rakib: We have versatile experiences of fashion and trend by working with international buyers and global retailers. Our designers who are working in these international platforms they do have that western fashion sense. We always try to develop the designs following our ethnic fashion sense and fusion of different fashion to our customers, which we believe that will give us a signature improvement for our brand. We are also trying to focus into ethnic ladies dress and we believe that our casual shirts and ethnic ladies Kurtis will be a signature brand product. Of course, we also have other products but these two products are our core product and it will give our brand extra value over other brands.

Textile Today: It is almost above six years since ‘Twelve’ started its journey. So, how do you measure the success opening this brand?

Abdullah Hil Rakib: As I have already said, the first few years we actually had only one shop. We are working in the international market like the European, American and Australian market. So we see every region have their own taste. When we work in our local market, our designers take the time to understand the local requirements. Of course, as a countryman, I understand this, but you have to think about the mass requirements, the purchase capacity, and the other popular brands in terms of colors, shapes etc. So, for all these, we have spent some time and we feel positive to face challenges of rental and others issues. Only last year, we decided to move forward with our business and now we have five shops and we also have some good plans to further develop our business in the future.

Twelve by Team Group

Textile Today: In realities of tight price and fast change in trend in the Fast Fashion world, do you think it is becoming obvious that the brands, which are close to manufacturing bases, will get advantages?

Abdullah Hil Rakib: I don’t think it’s necessary at all. You see that fashion is not always about price. Fashion is about how you like it, how it comforts you etc. If you go to a market and you like it, you will definitely buy it even when you need to pay more. Because the product is comfortable, you feel fashionable and if you are somebody, who really understand about fashion you will not compromise just because of the price. So here, the beauty of the business of fashion is that you have to understand the fashion and you have to deliver the product within that time. You cannot sell a summer product in winter. So, it is not always about the price. It is about the right product for the right people in right time. So the retailers need to understand when they deliver the product and what type of product they are delivering at that time is more important rather than the price.

Textile Today: What advantage a brand would have which is originated in a manufacturing country like Bangladesh?

Abdullah Hil Rakib: Of course, we have the manufacturing advantage in our country. The efficiency what we got in our export-oriented business, we can easily capitalize our business. Eventually, if we make a factory which having those efficiencies already at home, you can easily capitalize from it. We have designers who are already producing designs for the brands, where they can play a vital role. So, I can say that we have many facilities as a manufacturing country.

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

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