Bhutanese outlet flourishing in Bangladesh

In a groundbreaking move to promote ‘Brand Bhutan’ and foster stronger ties between Bhutan and Bangladesh, the State Trading Corporation of Bhutan Limited (STCBL) opened the first exclusive outlet for Bhutanese products in Dhaka.  Featuring a portfolio of approximately 140 natural products sourced from Bhutan, the Bhutan outlet serves as a testament to the richness and authenticity of Bhutanese craftsmanship.

The outlet, located in the prestigious Banani commercial area offers a diverse range of high-quality Bhutanese products, including food items, beverages, bottled spring water, collectible postage stamps, books, and more that are naturally grown and produced in Bhutan.

Sonam Tobgye, officiating head of the home store division shared that the Bhutan outlet has already made a significant impact on the local community, attracting an average of 50–60 customers daily and over 100 visitors, and they are optimistic that over time the revenue will experience steady growth.

He said that the local community has shown a positive response, given the well-established popularity of Bhutanese products among the Bangladeshi people due to authenticity. “Individuals appreciate our innovative initiative and express relief at having easy access to organic Bhutanese products,” Sonam said.

The outlet operates seven days a week from 9 am to 9 pm, providing a convenient destination for customers with easy access to authentic Bhutanese products, while immersing themselves in Bhutan’s rich cultural heritage through the traditional interior designs of the store.

He further emphasized that the outlet aims to offer a unique and innovative shopping experience, providing easy access to organic Bhutanese products for consumers in Dhaka.

Despite facing initial challenges related to documentation and logistics, including time-consuming testing processes at the Bangladeshi border, the outlet aims to overcome these hurdles and provide a seamless shopping experience for customers.

Sonam also shared that in the future, based on the financial performance of the current outlet, they are also planning to open similar outlets in other regions and major cities across Bangladesh to meet the growing demand for Bhutanese products.

The opening of outlet was supported by the Royal Bhutanese Embassy in Dhaka, emphasizing the close ties between the two nations and their shared history of friendship. Sonam shared that the opening of outlet in Banani offers a latest addition to STCBL’s business portfolio.

The outlet is managed and operated by STCBL’s branch office in Dhaka. It is located at the century-old trade center in the Banani commercial area. Banani is a commercial area located in Dhaka. It is one of the most upscale and prominent neighborhoods in the city, known for its vibrant commercial activities, shopping centers, restaurants, and offices.

Banani is situated just adjacent to the Gulshan commercial area, which is a prime commercial area in Dhaka. The outlet is opened in the Banani area considering these factors.

Sonam said that their goal is to bring all Bhutanese products under one umbrella and expressed interest in enlisting more suppliers and manufacturers from every corner of Bhutan to support Cottage and Small Industries (CSIs) in reaching international markets.

By Nidup Lhamo, Thimphu