How to Start a Business

Myanmar's Next Big Thing: How to Start a Business and Build Your Own Fashion Brand

Si Thu Tun
January 22, 2024

Firstly we have to understand the Market size and population.

Myanmar has 54M population in 2023. Myanmar Population is equivalent to 0.68% of the total world population. The population density in Myanmar is 84 per/㎢(216 people per square mile). Myanmar GDP in 2023 is 74.86 and will be growing till 2028.

(Source : Statista)

Personal care Market of Myanmar growing 

  • The largest segment within the market is Personal Care, which is expected to have a market volume of US$1.44bn in 2023.
  • When considering the population, the per-person revenue in Myanmar is estimated to be US$56.06 in 2023.
  • Furthermore, online sales are projected to contribute 13.1% of the total revenue in the Beauty & Personal Care market by 2023.
  • Myanmar's Beauty & Personal Care market is witnessing a surge in demand for traditional Burmese skincare products, reflecting a growing preference for natural and culturally authentic beauty solutions.

Case study of a new brand starting in Myanmar

The expected compound annual growth rate for the next 4 years will be 3.2%, resulting in a projected market volume of US$246.6M by 2027.

In the context of how to start a business in Myanmar, I would like to share my own experience with my own brand ‘CottonConCept’.

(Source : CottonConcept)

How did CottonConcept start? 

CottonConcept has started from my experience and interest in a successful business. Having worked for Giordano(Apparel retailer brand popular in the Asia Pacific region) for about 17 years, I have learnt the whole process of fashion business operations. 

In addition to my knowledge, I have been very interested in the clothing and accessories design. Therefore I decided to start my own fashion brand in 2013. I chose the cotton accessories as the business item instead of the apparel business which is a red ocean market.

CottonConcept could kick-start thanks to having been invited to SEA games held in Myanmar in 2013 to sell the souvenirs. Since it was successful, we have opened the first offline store in Capital City Yangon and have expanded to more cities for 3 years. 

From this experience, I can’t stress enough the importance of the competitor analysis. It has been my priority from day one. Comparing our brand’s capacity measured in financial status, resources and strengths to other companies is the key point in doing business. Since I had done this analysis, I could choose a blue ocean market and differentiated items - the cotton bags and accessories. 

How has it been operated?

Now I would like to share my know-how that I have absorbed from the several years of business operation. CottonConcept has a clear operation method when it comes to the business components to be local or international.

(Source : CottonConcept)

For example, the production, sales and marketing has been run internally. Especially when it comes to the production team, CottonConcept is dedicated to give job opportunities to local people. Most of our staff have been working here since 2013. 

On the other hand, raw materials are sourced from China and Thailand. Although we mix the local materials for our brand’s specification ‘Made in Myanmar’ collection, mainly we source them overseas. Also, we get inspired by the global market for product design. 

CottonConcept has a customer centric marketing strategy. We have opened more offline shops rather than using the big budget for the advertisement to have closer relationships with our customers. Our offline marketing staffs are trained to be friendly and kind to the customers and our online staffs use social media for the company news release as it’s low cost and efficient. 

How does it go now?

Of course CottonConcept also struggled when COVID-19 pandemic hit. We were growing the business and expanding the market in 2019. Then we had to face the crisis that happened because of COVID-19 pandemic. Just like other companies, CottonConcept business had to slow down as well. 

However, we changed this negative situation into a new chance by moving aggressively to the digital business and using more local resources. 

Now CottonConcept has been in the business for 10 years. We have stayed friendly and sincere to our customers and educated ourselves with our own business operations and experiences. Furthermore, we could be agile to survive when we had to face an inevitable crisis. Now CottonConcept has 13 shops in Myanmar. 


According to our database, Myanmar Market demand in these categories are high and competition level is low. If investors can do production in Myanmar, there will be job opportunities for local people. Then we can create some spending portions from them. Our Market weak point is low infrastructure but we have a substitution idea. 

Here are some reference photos of the shopping mall and center.

Written by Si Thu Tun (CottonConcept)


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Si Thu Tun
Retail Business Consultant in Myanmar