It all started small – from a small shop in AC Market in Kolkata in 1990, to be precise. Today Manyavar brand of men’s ethnic wear has 221 stores and boasts of a turnover of more than Rs 300 crore. The brand is present in more than 90 Indian cities with 221 exclusive business outlets (EBOs) and more than 800 multi-business outlets.
The company has aggressive growth plans for the future and plans to open 10 flagship stores every year in all metro cities and make its presence known in 100 cities. Also, Manyavar is looking at having no less than 500 EBOs in the next two years.
Vedant Fashions, the company that owns Manyavar brand, is also chalking out a global strategy – it already has stores in Dubai, Sharjah and Bangladesh. It now wants to cover all cities in the UAE as well as open one more store in Bangladesh and make a foray into the markets of Sri Lanka, Singapore, Nepal, the US and the UK in the near future.
For Ravi Modi, Chairman, Manyavar, the retail story started with dissatisfaction. “Even when we had just one store in Kolkata, I was not satisfied with men’s ethnic wear that we got from our suppliers.” Not only were the products they sourced over-priced, there was also a lack of creativity when it came to designs and fabrics. As if that wasn’t enough, Modi had to struggle with untimely supplies. “I decided to start my own line of men’s ethnic wear and thus was born Manyavar,” says Modi, with a satisfied smile.
The first Manyavar store opened in Bhubaneswar Forum Mart in 2008. The store was extremely well received, validating Modi’s point that there was a definite gap in the market when it came to affordable ethnic wear in men’s wear. In its first year itself, the company’s turnover was about Rs 40 crore, with 41 outlets all over India.
It wasn’t like there weren’t challenges, however. The company had to establish its brand of exclusive men’s ethnic wear at a time when other established men’s apparel companies that sold pin-stripe shirts and fabric were also selling a small collection of kurtas and sherwanis. “Men’s ethnic wear has been an extremely unorganized sector, be it fabric sourcing, embroidery and embellishments or stitching of the clothes,” reveals Modi. Not only that, the lack of creativity in the sector made the market drab and boring.
And therein lay the gap. Essentially catering to the wedding market where the groom and the men in the family also wanted to “dress up”, the ethnic wear segment had little to offer.
Manyavar took this challenge head-on and established its own manufacturing unit in Kolkata. With extensive research about fabrics, colors hues, and even international trends, the company today has an extensive catalogue of products that includes not just kurtas, shervanis and Indo-Western wear but also accessories such as scarves, brooches, safas, kilangis, dupattas, cummerbunds, jutis and bajubands.
Setting up its own manufacturing unit may have meant a substantial amount of capital investment for Modi in the beginning but it has more that paid off. Not only does it keep overheads and middlemen to the bare minimum, it also means the company has total control of the supply chain and ensures timely deliveries. The four manufacturing units in Kolkata have a capacity to produce one million products on an annual basis.
Manyavar’s pride and joy? The company’s EBO at Karol Bagh in Delhi, one of the biggest wedding markets in India. Sprawling over 21,000 sq ft, the Manyavar outlet in the western part of the capital, the outlet sings luxury and has even become a landmark in the area. Apart from company outlets, Manyavar is also considering to take the franchising route for its expansion plans. The company has gone on an expansion spree in the past one year and Modi feels it is in keeping with the changing times. As billboards, hoardings, print ads and more stores become more visible, Modi says, “It is time for extensive advertising and make everyone feel the presence of the brand.” In the pipeline is the launch of women’s ethnic wear with the brand name “Maanya”, which will be launched by next festive season. “It would be along the lines of Manyavar – ethnic festive occasional wear,” says Modi. The company is looking at a turnover of Rs 1,000 crore in the next two years. All dressed for the party, we say.
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