Two premium fashion brands in India – Hidesign and Kazo – are upbeat about establishing themselves as a truly global Indian brand. From Puducherry to stores in Australia, United States, Norway, Russia, United Kingdom, Greece, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates and South Africa apart from India, the journey for luxury leather accessory brand Hidesign has been nothing short of a fairytale. Kazo, the premium fashionwear brand, has design studios in Spain, London, Paris, Milan and Delhi.
What is the driving philosophy behind your retail operation?
DK: We offer the experience of luxury that is highly personalised and that clearly expresses the values of the brand – natural, eco-friendly and handcrafted.
DA: The retail philosophy of Kazo has been to offer international trends and fashion wear at commercial prices.
While expanding your retail presence in India, what has been the biggest learning from the slowdown?
DK: That we should concentrate on fast growing emerging markets. We didn’t face a slowdown in India, Vietnam and Malaysia. We will be opening seven stores in Vietnam this year. America and western Europe experienced a slow down but the signs have been positive in the past six months.
DA: Kazo being an recently established retail chain remained largely unaffected by the slowdown and rather stores across achieved growth in sales over the previous years as targeted.
Your personal vision when it comes to leading your retail team.
DK: The whole company from design to manufacture should be led by the customer who walks into our store. Our exclusive stores are our windows to the world where the interaction with the consumers is at its best.
DA: Retailing, by its very nature, is dynamic and involves a constant churn, thus continuous analysis and evaluation of efficiency and quality of current activities and offerings ensure that the team is focused.
Given the two schools of thought that are currently dominating the Indian retail industry – ‘aggressive expansion’ versus ‘consolidation’ – which has been your retail strategy?
DK: It has always been one of individually strategising each option and being present wherever our customer is present in large enough numbers to make the store profitable within a year.
DA: Steady expansion in locations offering prime retail presence . Therefore, as we are in the process of expanding our company owned outlets, we are working with the property owners to evolve mutually profitable franchise models in viable catchments and markets.
According to you, which are the three most ‘powerful retailers’ in the world and why?
DK: We hate the term owerful retailer’. We feel extremely humble in front of the customer.
DA: The retailer who wins over the consumers trust is the most powerful retailer. For me, the powerful retailers today include Starbucks with their strong network of only company-owned outlets, Zara can shelve a design in less than three weeks and Wal-Mart for its operational efficiencies and customer value proposition.