Bangladeshi jute goods and handicrafts producers received considerable positive response from buyers at the world's biggest trade fair, the Messe Frankfurt.
“I have been receiving a lot of responses from the buyers,” said Afsana Asif Shoma, partner of Asix, a Dhaka-based handicraft producer and exporter.
Shoma, who has been participating at the fair for three years now, said the event is extremely helpful for handicraft makers like her.
“We can contact a lot of European buyers and designers. We can also know about the latest handicraft and jute goods trends,” she told The Daily Star from her stall at the Messe, the world's oldest international trade exhibition.
Masuda Yesmin Urmy, proprietor of Smart Leather Products, a small leather goods company at Hazaribagh in Dhaka, echoed the same.
“You cannot buy experience with money only. I have learnt a lot about business, products and customers from this fair,” she added.
Urmy, who started out as raw leather supplier, has a 40,000 square feet factory at Hazaribagh, where she makes leather items.
Her annual turnover is Tk 3 crore and she employs 30 permanent and 15 temporary workers. She has a showroom at Tokyo Square, a shopping centre at the capital's Mohammadpur.
“I hope I can get more export orders as I am receiving a lot of responses from European and Japanese buyers,” she added.
But Shahnaz Parveen, senior manager (export and marketing) of Aranya Crafts, a Dhaka-based natural dye garment and jewellery producer and exporter, found the response below expectations on the first day of the fair.
“Our products are different from others. So I hope we can grab more business this time,” she said.
Motalib Bhuiyan, head of business development of Artisan House BD, an Ashulia based crafts maker and exporter, said he is expecting a lot of spot orders this time as buyers have already assured.
Seven buyers have already come to the stall of Corr - The Jute Works, a trust of Caritas, on the first day of the fair and assured its Director Bertha Gity Baroi of placing work orders.
“We already have a good number of buyers in Europe as we are a Fair Trade certified producer of jute handicrafts,” she added.
More than 10,000 producers are employed in her company, of which 90 percent are female. Annually her company exports $1.8 million worth of goods, she said.
Some 34 Bangladeshi companies, from handicraft to leather goods, jute goods and ceramic sectors, participated in the Ambiente in Frankfurt in Germany.
The Ambiente trade show began on February 8 and will come till February 12.