Home Interview Professional Icon: Rezwan Habib

Professional Icon: Rezwan Habib

Rezwan Habib
Head of Operation
DBL Lifestyles Limited

Rezwan Habib, the Head of Operations at DBL Lifestyles Limited, embodies professional excellence and strategic leadership in the lifestyle industry. With a proven track record of driving operational efficiency and fostering innovation, Habib sets a benchmark for industry professionals. His dedication to quality and customer satisfaction defines a new standard in global business operations.

Let’s learn about his journey.

Mr Rezwan Habib, please share your professional and academic peregrination for our readers!

Hello! Thank you for asking me to do that. We remain so occupied in our day-to-day activities that we tend to keep running out of time to take a pause and reflect on our journey.

My journey started from the Fuller Road of Dhaka University (DU) quarters. My father was a professor in the University of Dhaka and I had the privilege to grow up in the campus colony. I believe my childhood learning from the neighborhood helped me to shape up my personality a lot. My school was Udayan from where I passed SSC which is located in the DU campus and was one of the most popular schools of our time. Then I have joined Dhaka City College (DCC) for my HSC since DCC was the best college for Business Studies. I had my higher studies (BBA) from North South University (NSU) majoring in Marketing & HR. Later, I have pursued a residential training for business and functional leaders titled Management Development Programme on Managerial Leadership and Team Effectiveness from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Calcutta.

In the early days of my career, I joined a private commercial bank and then subsequently a local conglomerate. Initially, I wanted to establish my career in Marketing and Brand Communication. After a while, I realized that to learn Brand Communication more effectively, it is always better to learn from an Advertising Agency and work with different brands. This will enhance your knowledge as well as help you create a network in the corporate world. So, I have worked for a few advertising agencies and startups in the early days of my career where I have learned a lot.

My learning helped me realize that it is imperative to join an agency or a startup in the early days of your career to learn. Because in such organizations you are getting involved in every aspect of the overall flow of business thus enabling you to have a holistic learning which helps to you to grow as a well-rounded business professional.

As my ambition grown, I joined a diversified conglomerate DBL Group in the year 2015 as a Brand Communication professional. When I joined nine years back at DBL, the Group was approaching towards its silver jubilee. I started from scratch to build the Brand & Communication team. I wanted to first work on the basics – what the company stands for on its 25th year and its vision for the future.

Working with HR, we set the vision, mission and values, and redesigned our logo.

We came up with a vision to “Sustain and grow as a diversified global conglomerate” with sustainability at its core. The colours of the DBL logo represents the company’s environmental consciousness – blue representing water and green representing nature.

The new logo needed a tagline to encapsulate DBL’s legacy, and we came up with “crafting happiness, since 1991”. The cycle of making and purchasing clothes ensures that our workers have a fulfilling job and that consumers are pleased with their purchase. We are trying to craft happiness for the 45,000 people working at DBL. We decided that DBL needed a corporate brand image, resulting in the subsequent launch of DBL’s newsletter ‘INSIGHT’, our corporate websites along with curating corporate videos. I helped structure the corporate brand identity for the company.

We moved to diversify and branched into new businesses like Sewing Thread which is Eco Threads & Yarns, with the purpose to compete with global brands that are operating in the country. We launched a semiconductor design center which we call Neural Semiconductor. Our plan is to design microchips from Bangladesh. To meet excavating needs of the country, we launched DBL Dredging.

We launched DBL Ceramics in 2017 and can be considered as a leading brand in the ceramic tiles category of Bangladesh. The ceramic tiles market is very competitive, with 32 manufacturers currently in the country, and new entrants emerging every year. DBL always believes in innovation breaking shackles by creating new trends. Since its inception, DBL Ceramics has positioned itself in such a way that whenever people hear the name DBL Ceramics, they recall the words- Innovation, Quality and Design. DBL is the perfect synonym of these 3 words. DBL Ceramics aspires to work as a lifestyle brand which beliefs in #BetterLiving. We sell dreams, not tiles. the long-cherished dream of a heavenly house; nature in the bedroom, a universe in the child’s room.

Along with the conventional approach of the building material industry, which mostly focuses on Trade Marketing and other Below the Line (BTL) activities, DBL Ceramics is considering other communication platforms as well. In this digital era, we can proudly say that we are the pioneer in digital media in the ceramic tiles industry of Bangladesh. Having foreseen the potential of digital media before it became the norm. We prioritized and started our digital activities from day one, By maintaining an active presence in digital media and Above the Line (ATL), we have introduced versatile actress Jaya Ahsan and then world’s number 1 cricketing allrounder Shakib Al Hasan as our Brand Ambassador. We are working on both pull and push strategy simultaneously which is a bold decision and eventually we believe it will pay off.

We also launched a pharma brand – DBL Pharmaceuticals and a digital solution services entity called DBL Digital. These were made possible because of the innovators and creative minds of DBL.

Since DBL is a diversified conglomerate, each and every venture has its own marketing aspect. The values of quality, innovation and sustainability are the common threads that tie DBL Group’s ventures together launching and nurturing new brands have always been my passion. In continuing to live this dream, DBL has been recognized as a Superbrand. DBL Group has been awarded as one of the Superbrands of the country by Superbrands Bangladesh authority consecutively for 3 times in a row. Based in the UK, Superbrands is the world’s largest independent arbiter of branding that pays tribute to exceptional brands all over the world.

After working for the Brand & Communication department for 8 long years and having the opportunity to work with different brands of DBL, right now, I am leading the business operation for DBL Lifestyles Ltd., which is the retail business concern of the Group. We are the franchise partner of PUMA, Nike, Adidas, Levi’s, etc. global brands.

We entered the retail business by launching PUMA in Bangladesh in the year 2019. Our objective has always been to bring the taste of global brands to the footstep of our local customers and shape up the retail landscape of Bangladesh. In continuing to do so, with time the brand has now 5 stores in Bangladesh including 1 in Chattogram. Last year, we have launched Nike as well. Recently, we have launched the global leader in denim – Levi’s. Now, all these global brands are expanding their horizon with DBL to spread the visibility in different parts of the country.

What inspired you to pursue a career in business operations, particularly within the lifestyle industry?

When I started my career in Brand Communication, I was eager to only learn and implement the strategies from one aspect which was to connect with the stakeholders with the most effective communication material using the best possible communication platform.

But, there was something missing. Later, I figured out the missing block in the puzzle. I found that the holistic purpose or perspective of the business was missing in the decision-making. To understand the business, I started to get into different functions of business which enabled me to learn more and helped to understand the business better.

This is what has inspired me to pursue my career in business operations.

Why lifestyle? It is because I have always been very keen to follow the fashion trends across the world and blend it with my persona. The lifestyle brands also always attracted me more than any other brands that belong to the other industries. I used to follow the merchandise, and the designs/styles, and also used to often get blamed for being a shopaholic! Haha!

So, I feel that I have joined the industry that I have been always a part of unknowingly.

As Head of Business Operations at DBL Lifestyles Limited, what strategies have you implemented to navigate the ever-changing landscape of international commerce?

Ensuring the right product at the right time is crucial in retail. It is always imperative to launch your latest collections every season. Ensuring the right assortment of products at the stores at the right time can be greatly affected by the ever-changing geo-political and international commerce. Since we are catering to the customers with global brands so we needed to ensure the availability of the products based on the demand and forecast by analyzing the sales trend, we have worked with our supply chain and merchandising team to ensure the availability of the right styles and sizes from the latest collections.

In your opinion, what are the key factors driving success in the lifestyle sector on a global scale, and how does DBL Lifestyles stay ahead in this competitive environment?

There are multiple factors that are driving the success of DBL Lifestyles and keeping us ahead in the competitive environment. As you know we are working with top-notch global brands, therefore ensuring the brand authenticity is imperative in a country like Bangladesh so that customers can be rest assured that the products are value for money. In order to do that, we have launched the brands following all the global guidelines and strategies.

  • Right location: In retail, right location selection is very important. We have never compromised in selecting the best possible store locations for our brands. We have always considered the catchment of the property, neighborhood, visibility, and accessibility.
  • Right environment: We have tied up with the enlisted vendors of the brands and followed the guidelines to invest in the interior and exterior of the stores. Thus, ensuring a global brand experience at the stores.
  • Right product: Ensuring the availability of the right product assortment at the right time is crucial for success. We have worked with our supply chain and merchandising team to ensure that with respect to the local demand.
  • Right manpower: Having the right team is very important. We have a very dedicated and professional team. We are arranging regular training programs for the team by our global brand principals both virtually and physically through classroom training. We are also sending our team regularly to attend different trainings at home and abroad. We also exchange team members with the global brands to ensure on-the-job learning opportunities. We are fostering an environment and culture of continuous learning and development.

What personal values or principles guide your approach to leadership and decision-making within the organization?

‘Leadership is not about power, it is about responsibility’ – this is the guiding principle that I follow. As a leader, I tend to foster more of a participatory leadership model throughout the entire value chain. It gives autonomy to the team members as well as makes people more responsible and accountable for their actions. Thus, micromanagement is discouraged and we tend to create responsible team members who drive with passion.
Integrity, Passion, Adaptability, Care, and Excellence are the core values our team members uphold.

Mr Rezwan Habib, please say something to the readers!

Dream big. Humans are not aware of their own potentials and abilities. Thus, I found a lot of people around who are not ambitious enough to think big. But, do not put a lot of pressure on your shoulders by having a strong urge to fulfill the dreams, just enjoy your work and keep working towards your goals passionately. This will certainly take you closer to your dream. You just need to be focused and keep thriving for more. Sky is the limit.

Quick Chat Rezwan Habib

The most outstanding achievement of your life as of now:
Launching the powerhouse brands like PUMA, Nike, Levi’s in Bangladesh.

Best Philosophy in your view:
Challenges ahead are never greater than the forces behind.

Your Icon:
M. A. Jabbar, Managing Director of DBL Group. I like his leadership style.

Name the most influential books you have read:
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Your greatest fear:
To fail. You can’t avoid failing though, but it is the fear of failure is something that keeps you on your toes and helps you go forward in life.

Best piece of advice you’ve received:
As you sow, so shall you reap.

You in only four words:
Honest, Optimist, Passionate and Determined.

The InCAP: Thank you, Mr. Rezwan Habib! It’s a glittering conversation with you!

Rezwan Habib: My pleasure! Wish you all the best! Thank you.

To read more about Professional’s stories, Please Click Here!