On 25th March, Aarong – A BRAC social enterprise, now in its 33rd year of operation, opened the doors to it’s newest Flagship store. Aarong is Bangladesh’s leading fashion and lifestyle brand. At 36,000 sq. ft. the new outlet, located in Uttara is currently the country’s largest retail store. True to the Aarong tradition of continuously raising the bar, this store utilises state of the art layout and décor to create an unparalleled shopping experience. While shopping at Aarong, one can appreciate the fact that Aarong is creating employment for rural women who have very few work opportunities. Aarong’s value chain incorporates rural Bangladeshi artisans, mostly women, who have kept the age old tradition of Bangladesh’s arts and crafts alive.
Aarong was seeded by the late Mrs. Ayesha Abed who wanted to provide a market linkage for the products made by women in the villages. Three decades later, Aarong has expanded it’s operations to include 10 stoes across Bangladesh and a workforce of 65,000 rural artisans. It is difficult to find another example of a successful lifestyle retailer with the sole mission of providing employment to rural artisans, at the scale Aarong has achieved.
Nakshi Kantha, a traditional Bangladeshi embroidery, has been chosen as the overall theme for the store, to reflect Aarong’s pioneering role in the revival of this unique Bangladeshi craft. Spanning the north wall of the building is a six story mural titled “Aarong’s Tree of Life” – in which Aarong’s story is interwoven with the many thousands of stories of its family of artisans. The network of roots and branches of the tree is in fact an image of the rivers of Bangladesh. The motifs that form the tree use unique Nakshi Kantha patterns shaped from natural materials – metal, wood, clay, leather and bamboo-indigenous to the work of the country’s artisans.
This new flagship store is a testament to BRAC’s commitment towards generating employment for the rural artisan workforce for the last 33 years. A wide array of Bangladeshi arts and crafts have been featured in the store, both in the product offering and the store decor itself. This includes beautiful Nakshi Kantha embroidery work, hand loomed fabrics, delicate Jamdani (hand-loomed lace) saris, handcrafted footwear and accesories, apparel, brass sculptures and trendy home-furnishings, just to name a few.
“All our efforts culminate in the creation of a complete, state-of-the-art retail experience for the customer. For the past three decades, our customers have relied on Aarong not only for the unique design and impeccable quality of our products, but to also set standards in Bangladesh’s retail industry with regard to the quality and extent of our customer satisfaction efforts. We hope that the unparalleled shopping experience we are offering at our flagship store will add a whole new dimension to the country’s retail industry”, said Tamara Abed, Director, Aarong.
The outlet was inaugurated by Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Founder & Chairperson BRAC. Muhammad A. (Rumee) Ali, Managing Director, BRAC Enterprises, Tamara Abed, Director, Aarong and other senior officials from Aarong and BRAC.