Humayun Kabir Salim, Managing Director, Khantex Fashion Ltd has more than 28 years of extensive experience in the textile and apparel industry of Bangladesh. He has led numerous leading companies. And three years back started his own company Khantex Fashion Ltd. A LEED-certified green factory with versatile, and timely initiative.
Recently Humayun Kabir Salim shared his recent and future vision, and how the T&A industry can move forward with Textile Today.
Textile Today: How did you tackle the impact of COVID-19’s 1st phase and how are you handling it now?
Humayun Kabir Salim: The COVID-19 pandemic is still in full force in many parts of the world, especially in Bangladesh’s key exports market like the US, UK, EU, etc. and another lockdown is coming into force in some of these countries again.
Yes, the challenge is there. Like at the beginning of the pandemic prevention lockdown measures, a lot of brands put their orders on hold, some sent back their orders. This has greatly impacted us. Though, afterward, the buyers and brands did receive the on-hold orders.
At the same time, we are witnessing another increase in infections in the western countries and another lockdown in the UK is already in place.
Due to this circumstance, we see a slowdown in apparel orders by at least 30 to 35%. Also, the order procedure has slowed down significantly. Meaning from initial costing to sample sending is taking an extra 20 to 30% time than before. As most buyers’ offices are closed and they are doing home office.
This slowdown has an adverse negative impact in the long term as well. As in this time of year, buyers book orders for the next season. Which has reduced drastically due to the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19.
Though not any of the buyers have canceled their orders yet, the order placement is really slow due to this uncertainty. Which is of course a challenge for the apparel manufacturers.
Textile Today: What are the product ranges of Khantex Fashion Ltd? And what new ranges will come in near future?
Humayun Kabir Salim: Khantex Fashion Ltd. a LEED-certified green factory. And we produce knit and woven products under one roof, which is a unique capability. Making these two types of categories is quite a challenge.
Our brands get both types of products from us.
At the same time, we have a professional design team with top class capability. Also, our design studio is world-class.
“Khantex is in UK, EU, US, Canada. We are soon going to enter the Australian market. This wide array of the market gives Khantex numerous benefits. Like when the northern hemisphere observes winter, it is summer in Australia. So, in terms of seasonal products and markets will balance our business.”
From sketching to final design, is produced in-house unique design. It is an added advantage for our customers. Design and developing a product in Europe or the US are quite expensive. Whereas, Khantex is giving this service for free. Because this is the future. In the next 5-10 years, there might not be any design development in apparel brands. Rather they will source their orders from manufacturers like us with their design capacity.
Another potential benefit of the in-house design is product diversification. Khantex Fashion Ltd. produces a variety of fashion products. increasing our product basket.
In knitting, we make hoody, joggers, polo shirts, and we add value to our knit T-shirts. Like varieties of embroidery, screenprints, washes, garment dyes, etc.
In woven, we mainly focus on bottoms like denim, cargo, leggings, etc.
Thus, we keep our business financially sustainable. Ensuring that our lines are not sitting idle. And most essentially producing diversified apparel products keep Khantex’s business smooth and running.
On the buyer diversification end, we work and engage with a wide array of buyers. We never give more than 25 to 30% of our production capacity to a particular buyer. As if anything goes wrong our factory will be not out of orders.
At the same time, we have greatly diversified our markets. Khantex is in UK, EU, US, Canada. We are soon going to enter the Australian market. This wide array of the market gives Khantex numerous benefits. Like when the northern hemisphere observes winter, it is summer in Australia. So, in terms of seasonal products and markets will balance our business.
Bangladeshi apparel manufacturers should also adopt these types of strategies to sustain this business.
Textile Today: How do you maintain a sustainability perspective from raw materials to end products?
Humayun Kabir Salim: As I said earlier, Khantex is a LEED-certified green factory. We have solar panels, rainwater harvesting, water-saving machinery, and a chemical treatment plant to ensure sustainability. Though the initial investment is quite high – but in the long run – it gives us countless advantages including brand preference, healthy working environment, etc.
In ensuring product sustainability, we source the best sustainable raw materials. We are certified from GOTS, WRAP, OEKO-TEX® 100 and OCS.
Textile Today: Is there any new investment plan of Khantex Fashion Ltd in near future? In which area you want to expand?
Humayun Kabir Salim: Clothing comes after food in terms of basic necessity. And globally people are moving ahead with life. Keeping that in mind, we have observed that the demand for woven outerwear jackets increased significantly. Khantex Fashion Ltd. will soon produce this category. We have already finalized all the necessary procedures for this.
Textile Today: Kindly share the benefit of having an own brand. How you are being benefitted by ‘Green by Khantex’?
Humayun Kabir Salim: As Khantex is designing for top brands, our designers already have good ideas about people’s tastes. Which is a great benefit for the ‘Green by Khantex’ label.
Developing and maturing a new brand takes some time for various reasons. Making a brand appealing to customers with ensuring quality is key. Ultimately, it is also part of the diversification of business.
Textile Today: As a country of bulk production, how can Bangladesh utilize established alternative marketing platforms like Alibaba, Amazon etc.?
Humayun Kabir Salim: These online tools are great for apparel manufacturers to reach buyers. It also reduces their over-dependence on particular brands. All in all, diversifying is the key tool in the RMG manufacturing business. There is no scope for us to be content with some specific brands and a certain type of product.