Tawhidur Rashid converses with Saad Omar Fahim, Managing Director of Crocodile (BD) Ltd and learns about his visions of making affordable luxury available for brand aficionados in Bangladesh.
Tell us about your background.
I have graduated from North South University in Business and then finished my master in International Business from HULT International Business School, Boston. I came back from the US in 2015 and joined my family business. Our businesses are diversified into Textile Production, Textile Dyes-Chemical, Distribution, Automobile, Food & Agro, Retail, etc. We are mostly involved in the textile industry. We are working as the agent of Switzerland based multinational chemical company Archroma for Bangladesh market and currently, we are one of the largest suppliers of textile dyes and chemicals market in Bangladesh. We feel very proud that we are actively contributing to the robust growth of Bangladeshi textile and garments industry, our primary export sector.
Tell us about the Brand crocodile.
Established in 1947, Crocodile is an international fashion and lifestyle brand that delivers timeless, quality and functional wear with men’s garments having been the initial core of the brand. From the beginning of a single product, Crocodile diversified into other product ranges including footwear, leather goods, travel wear, timepiece, eyewear, bedding and other accessories for men, ladies, and children.
Crocodile is Singapore’s only garment brand built upon a long and illustrious history. It continues to carve new milestones today. Our vision is to be the leading Asian fashion lifestyle brand.
We are extremely proud to launch this brand on 29 May for the Bangladesh market. Our first showroom located at Concord Police Plaza. The response so far has been amazing.
There are many other great brands out there. Is there any specific reason behind choosing Crocodile?
There are many brands in the world but this brand Crocodile originated in Asia, Singapore. It was among the first Asian brand that got great success all over the world for its quality products. Personally, I have been a big fan of Crocodile since childhood. Growing up, I have also seen my father wear this brand which he used to purchase from abroad. Also, I know many of my friend and relatives are also big fans of the Crocodile brand and used to buy their clothes whenever they traveled abroad especially in East Asian countries like Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia. Therefore, I realized there is a demand for the brand in our country due to its quality. So, when I got the opportunity to become the exclusive licensee for Bangladesh, I grabbed it immediately.
How did your previous experience as a businessman help you in acquiring a license with Crocodile?
As I said our family is mostly involved in textile and currently working with more than 150 textile customers in Bangladesh. Fashion and Retail industry is changing very fast and being the partner for a Swiss multinational Archroma, we now have a very good idea about the current trends in the global market. One thing you must have noticed we Bangladeshi always value quality products. For example, our cars are mostly TOYOTA and phones are Samsung or iPhone. Similar way, the customer wants quality garment products as well. But unfortunately, in our country, international brands are not very much available. Crocodile We Bangladeshi prefer good brands with reasonable pricing, I believe Crocodile has met this criterion.
You mentioned that you received a good response from the customers, what segment of them is more interested in your products?
Our brand is not for the mass market. We have a very niche customer base who value good quality products. Previously they had to look abroad to purchase these products, now they can get them without leaving the country. I would like to say that our pricing is not high, rather it’s quite reasonable.
Crocodile has been popular in Bangladesh for long however, unfortunately, most if not all the products previously in Bangladesh used to be counterfeit. We have started taking legal actions against sellers of fake Crocodile products and we have also published advertisements in leading national daily warning against unauthorized sales of Crocodile products. It is very challenging nonetheless, taking on the entire counterfeit market. We are also reaching out to the consumers through social media and other mediums against these products and letting them know those original products are available at our store in Police Plaza, Gulshan.
Going forward, will the range of products available increase?
Yes, Crocodile has a complete line up of Men’s Apparel. Soon, we are going to increase our range into Small leather goods including formal shoes, wallets, belts, laptop bags, etc. Also in our apparel line up, we are going to include Casual shirts, Shorts, Blazers, etc. It is a complete lifestyle brand and slowly we will make all of them available.
Do you believe that the niche market segment is more interested in the lifestyle rather than one single product?
Yes, definitely! Our target groups are mostly executives and young adults. They do travel all over the world and they pack not only formal but also informal and leisure wear when they travel for a business meeting or holidays. We have all the complete line ups to offer for your every occasion. One lifestyle brand for all your need.
What’s your personal style statement?
I am not a complete formal person. I love business casuals which are great for our weather. My attire depends on the environment I am going to attend.
Do you prefer any brand other than Crocodile?
I admire formal brands like Marks & Spencer and Hugo Boss for polo (shirt).
Do you have plans to bring other brands after Crocodile?
Not at this point. I am giving my full attention to developing Crocodile brand for Bangladesh. As I’ve already mentioned that unfortunately, fake crocodile products are still widely available in the market. Stopping those fakes is a huge challenge. Crocodile Bangladesh with the Crocodile International is taking legal actions against those fake producers. So, still a lot of tasks ahead. I request all to buy original and be original. Happy shopping.
*Photograph by Eivan Sardar