Hashtag Barcode celebrates 10 years: Looks to a promising future

Thursday, 6 May 2021 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Inside Hashtag Barcode 


Hashtag Barcode Director Hifnaz Jiffrey

Hashtag Barcode is a ‘one-stop shop’ offering unique men’s casual collection which is trendy and stylish. It was established in 2011 and located at Ramakrishna Road, Colombo- 6, and is well-known as the rectangle-shaped fashion store with a strapping collection of men’s casual wear. 

“I realised early on the dearth for good, fashionable, and comfortable casual menswear,” says Hashtag Barcode Director Hifnaz Jiffrey, while reflecting on its history as it celebrates a decade of operation. The family-owned business was born after Hifnaz sought to keep his elderly father occupied with a venture that was not stressful. 

Never forgetting these humble roots, Hashtag Barcode has grown from strength to strength, surviving even a pandemic, and continues to thrive as a rising provider of fashionable and comfortable casual menswear.

At the time of Hashtag Barcode’s founding, Hifnaz, while working at ODEL, saw the department store grow from a stock lot seller to a franchisee for international brands. From this experience, he gained an in-depth understanding of the retail industry’s inner workings. In his own words: “I held many different roles at the time and I learned how to walk, and talk retail.”

Soon, Hifnaz spotted an opportunity. Whenever a season ended, any retailer had a large amount of excess inventory. Seeing this, Hifnaz approached Otara Gunewardene and requested to buy this excess inventory for his father’s operation. With zero hesitation, Otara gave her fullest support. After obtaining this stock, his father began selling it out of their garage. It was an instant hit.

Hashtag Barcode eventually took on the role of filling a gap in the market. It became the store that offered true value for men’s casual wear that’s fashionable. “We have something for everyone irrespective of their size, taste, price, and style. Whenever someone comes into the store, they always walk out with something they like,” Hifnaz added. 

Despite stiff competition in the fashion retail industry, Hashtag Barcode has customers from all parts of Sri Lanka and even overseas who make purchases via social media. It’s a feat that’s possible due to Hashtag Barcode staying true to its DNA and offering personalised service to its customers.

Although Hifnaz’s parents are not alive today, he believes he is living their dream. “When you see the potential this has, in terms of a business model, it’s astounding.” He attributes his decade-long experience in the retail sector, working alongside two of its titans Otara Gunewardene and Ashok Pathirage, to have laid the best possible foundation. 

“I’ve learned not only the nitty-gritty of retail but also how to build brands, manage large teams, the science of product development, signing up international brands, and everything in between that’s to do with expanding a retail business.”

Although the store is small, the collection is mighty. With the ever-growing need for casual menswear and increasing demand, Hifnaz has his eyes set on the game plan that will take the outlet further and far. “There is a need for casual clothing, and this demand is not something that will go away with time.” 

He adds that his retail sector background is what has led to the growth of this small yet humble store. In the near future, Hashtag Barcode will be expanding its line-up with the launch of Sa’cuir shoes and is looking into introducing its own clothing label as a key element of the business.