Abhay Shah, a man with a vision and dream to make kids denimwear market flourish in India, shares the fascinating tales about his brand Tales & Stories. The brand’s vision, mission and core values are a great source of inspiration and guidance for budding entrepreneurs.
Inception of Tales & Stories
Abhay Shah had a dream to make innovative apparel for kids and become the most sought after apparel manufacturing company. This led him to start Artex Apparels in 1981. Since its inception, the company has laid prime focus on quality, innovation and consistency. With time, Artex Apparels started exporting their goods to countries like Russia, South-East Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
Shah was aware of the fact that manufacturing quality kids’ denimwear was no easy job! Hence, after gaining significant expertise in manufacturing apparels for nearly three decades, and having won several coveted awards, he ventured into a niche segment and laid the foundation of an exclusive denim brand for kids and teens known as Tales & Stories.
Artex Apparels has several awards to its credit, such as the National Award for Quality Products (2002 and 2007), Small-Scale Quality Products (2002), CMAI – Arvind Mills Trophy (1997), Award for Excellence in Exports (2005-06), Vijayshree Award and Udyog Excellence Award. Right from the inception of Tales & Stories, Shah ensured that the entire product line was well-defined keeping in mind international fashion trends and quality. Each child has a distinctive personality and character. Hence, the designs at Tales & Stories identify with every kid’s personality and present a style that is both unique and individualistic. In April 2014, Artex Apparels started selling readymade garments
through various retail outlets in India.
Values & Ethics
Tales & Stories believes that kids can be explorers, wonder makers, thinkers, believers, innocent or brave. Such diversity in personalities can be threaded along by adopting fashion style complimenting these different roles. Keeping these requirements in mind, Shah abides by the various policy standards related to quality; identifying the customer’s exact requirements, offering ingenious inputs, if vital, for meeting the requisites, sourcing raw material of the highest quality from reliable and reputed suppliers, placing defined process control at each stage of manufacturing with state-of-the-art technology, and implementing quality management system standards.
Mission & Vision
Talking about the company’s mission, Shah said, “Our mission is to make a kid glitter, glow, shine and smile by providing them eco-friendly superior products. As far as our vision is concerned, we want to make Tales & Stories the most trusted global brand for kidswear. Hence, we are looking at expanding our network across the globe.”
The Kidswear Market
Shah sounded optimistic regarding the kids’ denimwear market in India. He said that although the Indian market for kids’ denimwear has great potential to grow and expand, it remains largely unorganised in most of the sectors. “This segment is currently estimated at Rs.45,220 crore (US$ 8,222 million) in India and is projected to reach Rs.1,23,030 crore (US$ 22,369 million) by 2023. The overall apparel market in India is slated to grow at a positive nine percent. We are one of the few organised kids’ denimwear brands to follow international standards of quality and trends,” he informed.
Shah also shared his viewpoint about kids’ denimwear market, “Denim is a versatile fabric that can be played in various appearances and looks. One can achieve various effects and finishes by using different techniques. Denim fabric is extremely comfortable for kids and they can be worn 365 days a year. Hence, one can play with the washes and fabric construction and team it well with colourful accessories and trims.”
The brand has recently entered into collaboration with retail giants like Big Bazaar, Shoppers Stop, Toon Kids, Pantaloons, Lifestyle, Max Retail, etc. Being an ISO 9001:2000 certified company, Artex Apparels has brought the same level of quality and style to its Tales & Stories brand. The fashion tastes and aspirations of both kids and parents have changed over the years. The deviation is towards international trends now. Today’s brand conscious customers demand innovation in fashion and look for products that will give them value for their money. Shah says that in kids’ fashion, the preference is to look smart and not too funky or jazzy.
Product & Pricing
The product range consists of boys’ and girlswear including infants in the age group of 0-16 years. In boyswear, the product line includes bermudas, dungarees, shirts, shorts, t-shirts and trousers. For girls, the brand offers bermudas, dungarees, shirts, shorts, t-shirts, trousers, tunics, leggings, dresses and jeggings.
The products have been reasonably priced to make them affordable for all. Clothing at Tales & Stories is available from Rs.399 to Rs.1,499. The most popular price bands are Rs.699, Rs.799, Rs.899 and Rs.999. Tales & Stories does not completely agree that the key to competition is pricing.
They believe in providing right fashion at right quality and the right price. They maintain the right amount of inventory on hand and maintain a stock to sales ratio of 3:1. Their fabric and accessories are sourced from well-known brands like KG Denim, Vardhman Mills, Arvind Mills, Nahar Group of Companies, Soma Textiles, Ashima Group, Madura Coats, etc.
Currently, the brand has two stores in Ahmedabad and Surat, and both are placed in premium malls. The average size of the stores is 700-100 sq.ft. The stores are designed in a logical way to make it easy for parents and kids to find the products suiting their requirements. The sales team at all the stores is well trained and readily available to help customers choose the right product and design.
The overall look and layout of the stores has been kept subtle, which makes it pleasing to the eye. Usage of dummies has been kept appealing and the presentation is done in an attractive way inspired by top kids’ international brands. The idea is to keep the overall store look decent and elegant, so that customers can have a soothing and fulfilling shopping experience.
The brand’s main channels of distribution are through distributors, agents and trade fairs. They are also present through multi-brand outlets (MBOs) and franchisee EBOs. Looking forward, the brand plans to come up with shop-in-shop format through large format stores (LFS). To lure customers and build brand loyalty, several promotional activities are done like clicking snaps of their little customers in the store and post them on various social networking sites like Facebook, etc.
In addition, the brand has plans to hold various promotional activities in schools. They also publish about latest offers in quarterly, monthly and yearly magazines. According to Shah, the brand will soon introduce attractive customer loyalty programmes.
Expansion Plans & Future Strategy
Since Tales & Stories is based in Gujarat, they are keen to expand in the same state for now and thereafter move to other cities. Also they are planning to tap the international markets through online sites. For store expansion, they are targeting the metros and tier-II cities. Franchisee enquiries are also welcomed provided the stores are based at prominent locations with at least 700-1,000 sq.ft. carpet area.
The E-commerce Zone
Tales & Stories has recently forayed into the e-commerce market. They are selling kids denimwear on Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal. Physical stores have limitations when it comes to reaching out to all target customers. Thus, the online medium has made it possible for them to reach out to places where they do not have physical stores. Shah informed, “For future we are trying to join hands and form partnerships with popular online brands.”