Bangladeshi companies received positive response from international retailers at the annual Heimtextil fair, the world's largest home textile exhibition, currently taking place in Frankfurt, Germany.
A total of 23 home textile companies from Bangladesh are participating in the four-day fair that began on Tuesday. Messe Frankfurt, one of the largest trade fair companies in the world, has been organising the event since 1971.
“The response from buyers is very positive. Most of our old customers in the EU are coming to our stalls,” said Rashed Mosharraf, general manager for marketing at Zaber & Zubair Fabrics Ltd, a concern of Noman Group.
In fact, the interest this year has been higher than last year, he said, adding that the fair is a good opportunity to network with European retailers.
“The EU is our largest market,” Mosharraf said, adding that 70 percent of the company's export receipts come from the region. Zaber & Zubair exports $16 million worth of home textile in a month.
Almost all the Bangladeshi participants echoed the views of Mosharraf: they received overwhelming response from retailers from Germany, the second largest export destination for Bangladesh after the US.
Presentation is the most important factor for attracting buyers, said M Shahadat Hossain Sohel, managing director of Towel Tex Ltd, a Gazipur-based factory.
But, Bangladeshi home textile makers are facing challenges from Pakistani products, which also enjoy the zero-duty benefit to the EU.
Pakistan has the benefit of being a cotton grower, whereas Bangladesh is a net importer of the fibre.
“This is why Bangladesh has been facing stiff competition in the home textile product segment,” Mosharraf said.
Bangladeshi textile manufacturers should counter the threat by bringing diversified products into the market, he added.
“We are very much interested in Bangladeshi goods as the products are of high quality and the prices are very competitive,” said HM Saiful Islam, a representative of Japanese brand Nitori.
Nitori has a longstanding business relationship with Bangladeshi companies, he said.
This year, nine companies from Bangladesh are participating in the fair under the supervision of Export Promotion Bureau, said AKM Ali Ahad Khan, joint secretary of the commerce ministry.
The other companies took part in the show on their own. “We are trying to bring more Bangladeshi companies to the Heimtextil as this is a very important place for networking with retailers, brands and manufacturers,” he added.
Heimtextil is a global mini market, where manufacturers of home textile and home decor exhibit their latest products, said Nazneen Salahuddin, country manager of Messe Frankfurt Bangladesh.
By participating in the expo, a manufacturer can improve the quality of its products and know about the customers' preferences. It may be that the participant did not get any buyer but it would still be able to establish a network, she added. A total of 2,963 companies from 67 countries are participating in the fair this year.