Story of HATIL: From Humble Beginning to Changing Furniture Industry

Story of HATIL

HATIL Furniture is one of the leading manufacturing companies of branded furniture in the Bangladesh furniture industry. Despite the fact that traditional furniture manufacturers still dominate the country’s total furniture market, HATIL has been able to maintain its leading position in the market for branded furniture for more than three decades. Starting with a small shop as a door manufacturer, HATIL currently has 2 state-of-the-art factories and more than 70 sales outlets in Bangladesh. Along with manufacturing furniture using modern automated machinery, HATIL also focuses on quality maintenance, furniture design, and customer satisfaction. Besides, by adopting various innovative technologies from time to time, HATIL has been able to set the benchmark as a change maker in the furniture industry of Bangladesh.

The Beginning

HATIL’s journey began with its founder, Mr. Salim H. Rahman. He was born in 1965 in Gandaria, Dhaka. After completing his studies, Mr. Salim joined his father late Habibur Rahman’s H.A. Timber Industry Ltd, in Farashganj, Old Dhaka. Mr. Salim used to measure wood in his father’s business. However, with an entrepreneurial spirit, Salim H. Rahman often used to think about how to bring innovation to his father’s business. One day, when a buyer named Lata Hossain came to buy wood to make a door for her house, Salim H. Rahman offered to make the door directly for her. Lata Hossain also agreed to his proposal and paid BDT 50 thousand in advance for the job. Mr. Salim started making doors in his father’s workshop. While doing this, Mr. Salim noticed that there was still no established door-manufacturing brand in Bangladesh, and decided to take advantage of this opportunity to manufacture doors commercially.

As a result, he borrowed some money from his father Habibur Rahman, and established a door-selling shop called “HATIL Doors” in the Badda area of ​​Dhaka in 1988. Soon after the establishment of the shop, as the demand for HATIL doors began to increase, another outlet was established in Kazipara, Mirpur. As the demand continued to grow, in 1990, he hired a flour mill in Gandaria, Old Dhaka, and set up a door-making factory there. Due to the quality of HATIL doors, some buyers advised him to sell other wooden furniture too. Then, HATIL began selling teak wooden beds and dining tables. Later, in 1993, HATIL started manufacturing wooden furniture in a 5 thousand square feet factory in Kuril. This was the beginning of HATIL’s march.

HATIL has been focused on using advanced technology since its inception. In 2002, the company introduced the first “Lacquer Finish” in Bangladesh. Since customers started liking this brand-new finish, HATIL furniture is also becoming more popular. In view of this, in 2003, another HATIL factory was set up at Shyampur in Old Dhaka. As a result of the increased demand from buyers, they rented several additional sheds in Farashganj and its surrounding areas and started making furniture there. Since the beginning, HATIL has been very committed to the quality and designs of its products. HATIL even organized “HATIL Furniture Competition” for the first time in 2004 to promote contemporary furniture designs, which involved students from different engineering universities and fine arts institutes, as well as professionals and interior designers. By conducting furniture design workshops and implementing technology based furniture production, HATIL contributed to the development of the furniture industry in Bangladesh. By then, HATIL had become a popular brand, so the company started construction of a factory on 12 bigha land in Savar to consolidate the scattered factories. By 2008, when HATIL’s new factory was built at Jirani in Savar, HATIL began its next journey from there. In 2009, HATIL, which has been manufacturing teak wood furniture since its inception, changed its manufacturing process. Instead of using local teak wood, HATIL started using imported oak wood, and later it started using German-based The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified “oak and beech oak” to make furniture. Currently, HATIL manufacturers use different types of boards and steel, in addition to FSC-certified wood. As a result, HATIL’s factory is also able to obtain FSC certification.

In 2010, the company hired three British designers to design its furniture items. With their help, HATIL’s staff prepared various innovative designs of furniture, which were exhibited at the “Dhaka International Trade Fair” to test their demand and received a very positive response from buyers. As a result, HATIL started producing modern furniture based on these designs. In 2013, the company won the Green Operation Award and established HATIL’s first overseas sales center in Australia. In the same year, HATIL also started exporting its furniture to the Middle East through an agreement with US-based furniture brand “Paul Robert ”. The following year in 2014, another HATIL outlet was established in Canada. HATIL entered the market in Bhutan in 2016, and Nepal in 2017. In 2017, the company started its journey as a brand in neighboring India through a franchise system. Besides, in the same year, HATIL launched its own e-commerce site as well as a virtual store for the first time in Bangladesh. HATIL’s virtual store was a very innovative idea because customers could see HATIL’s products from anywhere on the Internet through a virtual reality headset. Apart from this, the company has also developed its own smartphone app.

Like many other businesses, HATIL’s business was negatively impacted by the Corona epidemic in 2020. However, the business is now starting to rebound. The company currently has more than 70 showrooms in Bangladesh, a total of 27 in India including with a newly established second showroom in Dhanbad, India. In addition, there are 2 franchises in Nepal, and 1 franchise in Bhutan.

Changing the Industry

Since 2002, HATIL has always tried to bring positive changes to the furniture industry of Bangladesh through new innovations. One of these new innovations is the “Lacquer Finish”, which is basically a type of varnish applied using automated machines. Earlier, furniture manufacturers in Bangladesh usually used workers to varnish by hand. In fact, traditional furniture manufacturers still do varnishing manually. This manual varnishing is hazardous to workers’ health. Moreover, it increases inconsistency and wastage in varnishing. Currently, HATIL uses UV lacquer for 2D furniture and a robotic arm for 3D furniture. In addition, since 2007, HATIL has been following the Japanese quality management philosophy “Kaizen” to ensure the highest quality of its own furniture. 

Earlier, Bangladeshi customers preferred furniture with complicated designs. But through these years, people’s taste has also evolved. Aiming to meet the changing tastes of the people, HATIL organized furniture design competitions within the country. Moreover, HATIL hired experienced designers from abroad to design furniture according to the changing tastes of customers, ensuring the quality and design of products. Nowadays customers prefer modern furniture with fashionable designs. As a result, Bangladesh’s top furniture brand HATIL is currently focusing on manufacturing and selling modern and modular furniture made of wood boards.

At the beginning, HATIL used to sell wooden furniture, but now the company is seeking to follow the tastes of its customers and adopt international cultures. In line with this, the company is currently manufacturing a variety of modern and lightweight design furniture from wood as well as plywood, plyboard, and steel. Since there is no planned forestry in the country, HATIL is the first to start making furniture with imported German-based FSC-certified “oak and beech oak” wood. Apart from solid wood, the company also makes beautiful furniture using bent wood and veneer boards. Veneer board is basically a type of engineered wood that is made by running wood chips through a hydraulic machine.

Apart from wood, HATIL also has its own metal industry where the latest technology machines from Japan and Italy are used to manufacture various metal furniture through precision punching, cutting, drilling, welding, grinding, and chemical treatment. In addition, the foam and tools necessary for furniture manufacture are made by the company itself. To properly maintain the foam density in its furniture, the company procures certified foam chemicals from international brands and manufactures foam as per the requirement in its own factory.

Besides, HATIL has its own e-commerce, virtual store, interior design team, and its own delivery service. Apart from building strong brand reputation, these have highlighted HATIL as a game changer in the furniture industry of Bangladesh. Thus, although 65 percent of the country’s furniture industry is occupied by traditional manufacturers, the domestic brand HATIL Furniture is leading the market with 10 percent of the market share.

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