The retailer will first provide products to non-resident Bangladeshis, and then look to expand in other ways
Aarong, Bangladesh’s largest lifestyle retailer and social enterprise of Brac, is planning to directly reach out to customers on the international market in the near future.
“We have targeted non-resident Bangladeshis [NRBs] for export opportunities. We are continuously receiving requests from them, via social media and other ways, that they want Aarong products in their countries,” said Brac Senior Director Tamara Hasan Abed.
She said the retailer will first provide products to NRBs, and then look to expand through other ways.
Tamara made the comment at a press conference held in Dhaka, on Tuesday, to present the details of a three-day event to mark its 40th founding anniversary.
With an annual turnover of Tk850 crore, Aarong now boasts 20 outlets across Bangladesh, including 14 in Dhaka. The annual growth rate of the retailer is 15%-20%.
The retailer now has over 100 fashion and lifestyle product lines that are manufactured by a network of over 65,000 skilled artisans.
“We had a franchisee in London, but it was closed down. Aarong previously manufactured some products for international companies which were later exported. At present, the retailer does not export anything as it believes Aarong is so established that it does not feel a need to deliver products to consumers under other labels,” Tamara said.
“Providing products directly to consumers abroad is now one of our targets, and we want to explore the market via e-commerce,” she added.
Responding to a query about whether the designs will be changed, she said: “The designs will be changed a little bit for westerners, but not to the point that their identity is changed.”
Some of Aarong’s items in high-demand abroad are: knitwear, woven apparel, home décor and fashion accessories, jute and leather products, and candles. Some novelty items made of: metal, terracotta, brass, and paper are also popular.
Established in 1978, Aarong is a fair trade organization dedicated to bringing about positive changes to the lives of disadvantaged artisans and underprivileged rural women by reviving and promoting their skills and craft.
From a single shop, Aarong, in the last 40 years, has grown into one of Bangladesh’s biggest retail chains, including branches in all major cities.