The success formula
The discussion began with the success story of leading women’s western wear brand 109°F from Creative Lifestyles. In a short span of just six years, 109°F has achieved heights which most brands would aspire for. The brains behind this brand’s success are Birendra Agarwal, Chairman who handles design and product development and Rahul Mehta, Managing Director, who handles the marketing.
The brand’s journey and success formula was narrated by Mehta. From one EBO and one shop-in-shop in seven years it has reached 28 EBOs, 338 shop-in shops and 191 MBOs. In addition, the brand has a presence in 38 outlets in the UAE, Nepal, Iraq, Australia and Sri Lanka.
Elaborating on the entire process from conceptualization to implementation, Mehta said, “If you look at the companies which are originating from the export background, for them to understand the domestic market was a difficult task. The process was totally different, in exports your orders are confirmed and then you start buying the fabric, manufacturing and there are bulk orders. Whereas in the domestic market you don’t know what will sell, it is all estimation about the season and you have to be prepared well in advance to showcase your product. The risk was more. It was a big psychological decision which we had to take by stepping into the domestic market.”
The company decided to venture into the women’s western wear market sighting less competition, while the segment was showcasing very interesting prospects. They expertise in women’s wear, since they supply to all top brands in Europe. “Market size was very small and the growth potential was very high. We felt that the women’s ethnic wear had reached a certain level and on the other hand western wear market was about to take off. We were right in our selection and we launched 109°F,” avers Mehta.
“We feel the scale is going up and it would be risky to manufacture everything in-house, so we are trying to increase our outsourcing. When we started we worked with our own money, later we started some bank finance. And moving further we would evaluate the scope of private equity and IPO,” Mehta sums up on a positive note.
Manyavar’s inspiring tale
The second success story was that of Manyavar narrated by Shreyansh Baid, Consultant, Manyavar. The brand is perhaps one of the youngest brands on the block led by the youngest entrepreneur in the country today. Manyavar is eleven years old and a leader in men’s ethnic wear. It started with a 150 square feet shop in Kolkata and now has 300 exclusive stores worldwide. It’s the only fashion brand in India that doesn’t have an EOSS. It’s the only brand in India opening about two EBOs a week, worldwide. “We have been growing at 55 percent for the last five years. It started with a capital of Rs 10,000. Today we will post a turnover of Rs 500 crores. The production capacity is five million pieces a year,” explains Baid.
“It’s the brand that created the men’s ethnic wear category. We have various brands following us. It began in 2001 by primarily supplying to MBOs. From there we went to chain stores. In 2008 we began our EBO journey. We have two stores in Karol Bagh, Delhi, spread over 10,000 square feet and 20,000 square feet each,” he adds.
Baid feels, purity is the soul of Manyavar. The brand has grown from regular wear to fashion wear, from groom wear to celebration wear. “Two years back, our focus was grooms wear and the major share would come from sherwanis. This year we went from groom wear to celebration wear because we want Manyavar to be a part of every Indian ceremony,” he says.
By 2016, the company plans to have 600 EBOs with one million square feet of retail space and from 40 fashion stores today, it wants to reach 100.