Lankan entrepreneur brings luxury brand HEMA to Colombo | Daily News


Lankan entrepreneur brings luxury brand HEMA to Colombo

Founder of HMGO - Hema Gunawardana, Lalit Gupta Head of Sales HMGO, Edita Frackowiak COO of Semahead Agency, Micheal Frackowiak Head of  Finance HMGO, Faniya Igamova with their families
Founder of HMGO - Hema Gunawardana, Lalit Gupta Head of Sales HMGO, Edita Frackowiak COO of Semahead Agency, Micheal Frackowiak Head of  Finance HMGO, Faniya Igamova with their families

In Sanskrit Hema means beautiful or golden. For Sri Lankan-born, global entrepreneur Hema Gunawardena, that name gave a golden opportunity to create a successful venture of beautiful leather products in Poland where the consumers are highly driven by upmarket products and services.

Hema who domiciled in Poland now has spent the early years of his career as an IT professional working in the corporate world. He has worked with several Fortune 500 companies including Xerox, HCL and Aon. Having worked as a highly motivated and accomplished leader within the IT managed services field, with over 20 years of diversified international experience - developing and implementing global IT solutions – one fine day, he decided to set up his own business in an area where his creative genes can be put into some use.

As an avid traveler and lover of fashion he observed how the fashion markets are moving in Europe. He saw how consumer behaviour is changing from ‘necessities to lifestyles.’ “I started making wallets and soon I realized they were not good enough for an international market. However he observed beautiful and neatly crafted handbags and wallets in the market and determined to go ahead with the projects by choosing the right people who can take the concept forward.

After a short ‘trial and error’ period, Hema started building a product range based on leather and his current collection comprises hand bags, belts, wallets, travel bags and other accessories for both men and women. Today his company known as HEMAGO Pvt Ltd is a European top-notch company and the products are branded under the names - HEMA and HMGO. The HMGO range carries over 15 designs catering to both men and women. “We began very small and started working with top designers and highly successful craftsmen and designers of Poland,” says Hema.

HMGO’s Branding and Art Director Damian Aliberti is originally from Argentina; he is an award-winning designer and entrepreneur with a passion for people, technology and design. He has worked in TV and the advertising industry as a copywriter, art director and brand creative. He emigrated to the USA and teamed with Cartoon Network for more than a decade as a writer and artist. Later, he opened his own studio creating digital products for Nickelodeon, Adidas, Sony, Starbucks, LEGO and United Airlines.

Hema adds, “Our products are made of 100% natural leather obtained from proven sources,” Hema was in Colombo early this week to launch HEMA range of products in Colombo.

Hema says the products are manufactured in Poland out of the best Italian leather. “Ours is not just a brand. We design and build style so you can express yourself without words. Our leather goods made from the finest Italian leather are beautiful and simple in form and function and are made with artistry and craftsmanship that define style and create desire.”

Having seen success in Europe and in Poland in particular over the last few years, Hema decided to expand his business in Asia.  

The desire to break into a new market alone may not be a good strategy. How does he expect to grow with the Lankan market, we queried. “Well Sri Lanka is still not a large market as far as life style and high fashions are concerned. But there is great potential here as there is a segment of people already into it. We are looking at that potential,” he says with confidence.

Talking about future plans Hema said, his company is now working on a project to introduce ‘vege leather’ products to the market. “The most exciting development is that we are working on a plant based leather and items manufactured from this novel and environmental friendly material. These products are likely to be on the market by August this year. We will also launch a line of luxury sunglasses and jewellery. In Sri Lanka for the launch were some of the HMGO team including Lalit Gupta who heads Sales,  Micheal Frackowiak who heads Finance and Edita Frackowiak who is the COO of Semahead Agency which is responsible for the global marketing strategy for HMGO.

“Sri Lanka launch comes as part of our expansion program and this is our first stop in Asia. After Sri Lanka we have plans to move into several other Asian countries,” says Lalit Gupta who heads Sales. “We are constantly developing our product portfolio to meet the expectations of our customers,” he added.  “We also constantly monitor quality at every stage of production. In our view, it is quality that most customers appreciate. Our products are always top shelf and this is what we are proud of.”


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