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Solemio and Fitz: Indian brands with international outlook

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Ramavtar Maheshwari, Director, Texperts India Private Limited talks on how Texperts clicked on the idea of launching Solemio and Fitz and how these brands have webbed a success story for the company.

Texperts is a specialist company for textile sourcing and marketing. Since its inception in 2002, Texperts has been providing expert solutions for the supply of fibre, yarn, fabrics and garments from the most sought after destinations of the world.

This expertise has given rise to category specific brands like Solemio and Fitz under the mother brand of Texperts. These brands cater to the young brigade of customers in the age groups of 20 to 35 years old.

Solemio is a range of formal apparels that defines professionalism. It is crafted for young and dynamic professionals who always wish to make a lasting impression.
Fitz is an evolved range of sports and activity gears dedicated to sports enthusiasts.

EXCERPTS FROM THE INTERVIEW
Tell us about Texperts? The company originates from textile background, what was the thought behind starting ready to wear brands like Solemio and Fitz?
Ramavtar Maheshwari (RM): We as an organisation have grown rapidly right from the year of our establishment in 2002. Our company was a partnership of two persons who shared similar passion for marketing and sourcing of textiles. The name of our company itself reflects our expertise in textiles, ‘Texperts’. It was not only about the passion but also the technical know-how that has contributed to Texperts consistent growth. Today, we are a strong team of more than 350 people working relentlessly for the reinforcement of the entire textile industry.

We handle our pan India operations through our five offices based at Mumbai (2), Delhi, Ahmedabad and Coimbatore. These workplaces receive technical support from our channel partners and respective network. We have gone international and have established offices in countries like Sri Lanka, China and Bangladesh. We primarily source and sell in China. We have also entered the USA market by setting up an office in Canada. On the whole, we at Texperts are selling in 70 countries and sourcing from 15 countries.

From many years, our core team felt the need to take our expertise in textiles directly to end users. Hence, we choose two key segments in apparels – men’s formal apparels and men’s sportswear. This is how our two retail brands were born – Solemio and Fitz.

Tell us in detail about both the brands Solemio and Fitz. What is their vision and positioning in the Indian market?
RM: For understanding these brands, knowing their philosophy is very essential. Starting with Solemio, it is a brand which consists of formal apparels exclusively designed for young and dynamic male professionals, and that too for all occasions.

Fitz, it is a brand for leisure and active wear. Through this line of apparel, we aimed at making India more active in terms of sports and active lifestyle. And, adding more style to sportswear was crucial. We came up with sports-centric fabrics and designed them in a stylised manner. All over the world, Italians are known for their chic fashion. So, we blended their style with the beauty of Italy itself. This is how the two brands are creating a difference in the men’s apparel segment.

How would you define the target audience for both these brands…what will be the psychographic and demographic profile of the consumers?
RM: Frankly speaking, the target audience of these brands clearly reflect in their designs and makes. Solemio is a brand fuelled by passion, meant for the aspirant group of 20 to 35 years. The phase that demands more from life and work. Therefore the apparel of this brand personify energy and boldness. Similarly, Fitz, as we call it active wear, is meant for enthusiastic and fitness conscious people in the same age group. The psychographic overview says that the consumers for these brands are ambitious and career oriented, travelers, fashion conscious, frugal, followers, tech savvy while the demographic overview shows that the consumers include  male groups of 20 to 35 years, MBA’s, married, staying in metros or two tier cities, professionals having an income up to 3-8 lakh.

Tell us how well do you define the handling of two diverse portfolio’s of formal wear with Solemio and sportswear with Fitz within the company and in the market?
RM: We do have subscriptions of designing with fashion forecasting agencies. Moreover when it comes to different portfolios, we have in-house team of dedicated designers for both the brands. These designers have an in-depth understanding of designs and are experienced to create innovative styles. They usually travel high street and malls in India as well as fashion capitals of the world to study the fashion trends and anticipate designs.
We also have affiliations with international designers and designing websites to get inspiration and current trends. Distribution is managed by team of RSM/ASM and supply chain executives which is done with the combination of ERP & .

Tell us about the complete product portfolio individually for both these brands with its price points? 
RM: Solemio has four sub brands to cater to the diverse need of the young and ambitious professionals. These sub brands took their inspiration from different classical and magnificent cities of Italy which reflect in their look and feel.

FORMAL – DI CLASSE – Rome: Di Classe, a finely crafted collection of formal wear, designed and created with the unique style and precision of the famous Roman art.

CASUAL – CONFORTO – Florence: It is a wide selection of cool wear, from the breath-taking beauty of Florence for your after-hours that promises great looks with a completely relaxed feel.

PARTY WEAR – FESTA – Venice: This collection stands for vibrant colors and magical experiences of this floating city ‘Venice’ into its dazzling designs and styles, leaving an unforgettable impression on everyone!
2 IN 1 – VOLTE – Milan: This collection is a masterpiece that is crafted for the exciting times, when the outfits suits both, formal as well as casual occasions.

Fitz sports two major sub-brands – Fitz@action and Fitz@zero°
Fitz@action is intended with a view of merging ‘active with style’. It offers a complete range of apparels designed specifically to encourage and support active people. It helps them to perform their best, while they feel at ease.
Fitz@zero° offers you the rare combination of being stylish as well as comfortable. The breathe-through fabrics of @zero, apart from being classy and hip, ensure complete comfort and relaxation.

Solemio includes corporate wear like trousers, shirts etc. Fitz is for active wear, sportswear and casual wear. We are mainly in the mid segment but you can compare our products with any multinational brands. Because of their brand name they are more than three-four times expensive than us. We are giving quality product as per the market trend. Instead of promoting our brand through various electronic and print media, hoardings and other materials we prefer to transfer that margin to the customers. We want customers to get better quality product, with better fit and service at affordable price.

Moving ahead what would be your product expansion plans?
RM: We really have a big and international exposure despite being a young company. Our company is constantly evolving and experimenting with innovative products and strategies. And, we wish to carry everything good beyond borders. Having an exposure to the world markets and having international presence we bring the latest innovations in our garments and plan to launch many new products in future.

Tell us about your retail network.
RM: Our network for Solemio and Fitz is well spread; be it online or offline. Solemio alone is available in India in more than 150 large format and retail stores. And we are glad that it one of the highest selling brands in all the stores. For Fitz, it is available across India in more than 125 large format stores. Even Fitz tops the charts in terms of sales in all of these retail stores.

The most interesting part in apparel business is that the market is constantly evolving and throws interesting challenges. For last six years the organised retail and mall culture is growing big in India. So, now there is future in this concept. There are so many formats like franchisee, MBOs and large format stores and conventional formats like agency or dealership business. So, we choose to have our presence in large format stores because young generation goes to the malls and you are directly in touch with the consumer. The feedback is much quicker and also costs less and the growth in retail is expected from this segment.

What are your expansion plans? What are your plans in terms of exploring new markets in India?
RM: As mentioned earlier, we have been a constantly growing company. We have a plan to work with the MBOs which have a lot of growth potential. We are very active and growing faster than industry average in e-commerce business. We are looking at this as a very big future as youngsters are mainly buying online today.

Do you have plans to establish your own ? If yes; when do you wish to start the same and with what city? What are the initial roll-out plans?
RM: We are working on a strategy to design the whole format of exclusive brand outlets (own stores and franchise models). We will disclose as soon as the plan is finalised.

Please share the progress which you have made in the online sphere.
RM: We are proud to say that we have created a big market with our innovative strategies applied to our online sales. We enjoy a very loyal customer base when it comes to online buying.

Both our brands have shown its remarkable presence at eminent online channel partners such as , , , Amazon, Ebay and more. Along with its presence on these big channel partners, it has also gained recognition through social media platforms such as Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Google plus and more. The online presence of both brands has made it easier to build relationship with customer and potential customers. It goes without saying that everything of all this was possible because of our channel partners.

What’s new this season: Solemio and Fitz
The new collection is up-and-coming with 4 main themes which are Coalescent Culture, Off-Beat Blends, Ethnic Bohemian & Bold Sartorial.

Coalescent Culture is a mix of punk and skater. This collection is a cocktail of animal prints, graphic prints, poly-yarns. It brims with an edgy attitude and is a mixed bag of unexpected elements.

Bold Sartorial is the classic sartorial fabrics turn eccentric this season. Inject traditional fabrics with a new twist for a modern eccentric look that is classic and contemporary.

Off-Beat Blends is a logo driven look, mash-up of city checks, stripes, solid and a mix of material that don’t necessarily belong together.

Ethnic Bohemian
is the ethnic boho story, which includes paisley prints, polka dot prints for a sophisticated take on sartorial tailoring.

The new styles would include cut-n-sew, mix-n-match, narrow bottoms, collar styles, contrast trimming, etc. The colour spectrum for this would be tints and shades of royal, turquoise, navy, charcoal, red, wine, maroon, black, white, orange, green, fluorescent green, yellow, grey etc.

To be able to choose from a variety of fit that suits an individual, the brands include smart fit (regular fit), slim fit, v-slim fit (tummy tucker). The fabrics trends are 100 per cent cotton, cotton-lycra, rich cotton-blend, jacquard, prints, indigo collection, dry-fit, etc.