Cute Dress Industry Ltd. is a state-of-the-art environment friendly readymade garment (RMG) industry and the innovative wide range of fabrics are the main strength of the company. The factory is a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) Certified in Platinum category under US Green Building Council (USGBC) standard and became one of top 10 green factories in the world.
Mr. Sheikh H M Mustafiz, is the Managing Director, founder and dreamer of Cute Dress. He is a passionate change maker of Bangladesh RMG industries to top notch niche manufacturer instead of a bottom of the pyramid manufacturer. Back in 2003, he started his own business and established his connection in Nordic countries. Currently, Cute Dress is exporting to more than 40+ high end brands in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Canada, USA, Japan, Australia, and few other countries. Mr. Mustafiz is a M.A. in English. He was awarded with a ‘Professional Fellowship’ as young entrepreneur from US Department of State in 2012. In 2015, he ran an online apparel selling platform pilot project called ‘Brand for Humanity’ to improve the living standard of the garment workers in Bangladesh. He was awarded with ‘Telly Award’ and ‘W3 Award’ from USA for the thoughtful content of the video. He is a former Director of BKMEA and achieved CIP status by the government of Bangladesh.
Recently Team Textile Focus had a conversation with this dynamic RMG industry leader. He talked about the ongoing industry crisis, possible ways out and sustainable growth of our industry. For our readers, the conversation is drafted below.
Textile Focus: What would you like to say about the increasing demand for Knit Clothing?
Sheikh H M Mustafiz: Currently, we are watching a huge difference between the demands of knit clothing & woven clothing. This year, we earned around 17 Billion USD from the knit sector & 14 Billion USD from the woven sector. Previously, it used to be a tiny difference between the demand for woven & knit sectors. During the pandemic, people are spending most of their time at home. So the demand for knit clothing has increased. Another fact is the longevity of knitwear is less than woven clothes. So the overall consumption & demand for knitwear has risen high. On the other hand, currently, people are doing home office, so the consumption & demand for woven clothes has been decreased. Maybe after the pandemic situation, the demand for woven clothes will be increased.
Textile Focus: What is the product range of Cute Dress?
Sheikh H M Mustafiz: Cute dress is manufacturing basic products, such as t-shirt, polo shirt, sweatshirt, trousers, dress etc. Besides that, we are also doing PPE, mask, activewear, sweaters, different types of bags, etc. We are doing diversification in 2 segments: we are adding values to basic products to make more fashionable, and secondly, adding diversification in the fiber composition.
Textile Focus: What would you like to say about the current scenario of Textile Industry?
Sheikh H M Mustafiz: Talking about the current scenario of the textile industry, due to the increased price-hike of raw materials, yarn & cotton, we are facing difficulties. We are getting orders from the brands that we work with regularly with the price adjustment. But the brands we work with having a limited profit, due to the price hike, we are not being able to accept their orders. Because they claim that they are getting products from other factories with better prices. I have also talked to other company owners about this. They have said that during this pandemic situation, they are accepting orders with minimum losses. Based on this consequence, Cute Dress is not interested to accept orders with loss. This situation also has a positive side in that it has given us the chance to increase our negotiation skills and to practice the attitude of saying NO to bad prices. Some buyers are supporting us, some are not. By the way, everybody is saying that Bangladesh is floating with orders. I don’t think it is true in terms of fair price. Sometimes buyers are looking for financially challenged factories & orders them by knowing that they can’t make profit. We really need to united & we have to make sure that we all do fair business. This means we won’t accept orders with minus profit.
The spinning mills are saying that the price of cotton has increased in the global market. As a result, the price of yarn has increased. In general, there used to be a difference of 30 cents in the price of yarn in BD & India. But the difference is around 70-80 cents which we can’t afford to quote a competitive price to buyer. On the other hand, if we import yarn, it takes long time but we will be able to get yarn at suitable price. This situation needs to come to solution soon.
Textile Focus: What’s your suggestion for Bangladesh’s Textile Sector?
Sheikh H M Mustafiz: We should have more focus on branding Bangladesh. We should take part in various fairs & trade shows where we can promote Bangladeshi factories, especially those companies that are working on innovative & diversified products. In countries like China, the government bears the stall fees, air ticket & other costs of the textile companies so that more companies can participate in the fair & brand the country. If our government supports here, we would be able to brand Bangladesh more and more.
Besides, we should work on Strengthening our backward linkage of the industry. We need to invest more polyester yarn spinning, viscose fiber production etc. The more the backward linkage will become stronger, the more it will be easy for forward linkage of the textile sector. Another fact, Vietnam has become a strong competitor of Bangladesh due to its product diversification & Chinese investments. China is investing in Vietnam because it is close to China, and also they have cultural similarities. Here, to develop our textile sector, we can attract China to make more investments in Bangladesh by giving them some incentives especially MMF-based textile companies. Previously China used to hold 37% of the RMG market, which is now 31%. China has lost this 6% of market share to Vietnam & India. If we can grab just another 5% of the global market share of China, then the scenario will be dramtically changed. Still there are many buyers in China producing basic cotton products which we can should be able to take opportunities.
However, we have to invest more our time, money and energy to diversify our product range within our capacity and investing more on marketing to plan our next investment.