Titan is a restless company, believing in constant exploration of new ventures. Restless to make acquisitions, foray into new categories, break new ground. Recently, the company entered into the premium sarees and women’s ethnic wear category under the brand name ‘Taneira’.
The word ‘Taneira’ is derived from Sanskrit – ‘Tan’ meaning body and ‘Eira’ denotes Goddess Saraswati, symbolic of skill and craft.
“Sarees as a product category has been on our mind for a long time. In 2015-16, we decided to explore sarees as new category incubation. As a company, we believe that sarees are a natural extension of our value proposition – we have created design-led lifestyle brands that enable self-expression – Titan, Tanishq, Fastrack, Xylys, Raga, Skinn (fragrances) and now Taneira. From engineered design to crafted design, Titan has seamlessly moved across many product categories from watches to jewellery to eyewear to fragrances. This new category too is fragmented, unorganized and the consumer has been underserved especially when it comes to authentic handlooms and diverse craftsmanship,” says Senior Vice President – Strategy & Business Incubation, Titan Company Ltd, Ajoy Chawla.
Thus, began Titan’s foray into sarees. The company met with the Handloom Commissioner of India, and simultaneously began detailed consumer research, evolved a value proposition, visited weavers, craftsmen and artisans in every nook and corner of the country, and launched its first trunk show in October 2016.
“Our first pilot store in the country was launched in February 2017. We now have two pilot stores operational in Bangalore and look forward to opening 1-2 more by the end of the year,” says Chawla.
As a concept, Taneira is a one-stop-shop for Indian special occasion dress wear needs – sarees for all occasions, ethnic wear like Lehenga Choli sets, Dupattas, and Stoles to name a few styles. Offering only natural materials such as silks, cottons, and linens, Taneira has chosen to operate in a unique space, enabling consumers to be able to experience authentic, natural handwoven cloth, curated to a refined taste.
Store Design & Brand Experience
The Taneira store provides an intimate retail experience that allows for relaxed, self-browsing. It also offers the convenience of a full-fledged ’Style Studio’ that carries ready-to-wear clothes and customization-cum-tailoring services to complete the perfect ensemble.
The central message of Taneira – Handmade with Love – positions it as a warm, approachable yet sophisticated brand that celebrates authentic handcrafted and handlooms. The brand celebrates spontaneity.
“Our product range comprises sarees from 20+ clusters of the country from the popular Chanderi/ Maheshwar to Bhagalpuri Tussars to Banarasi silks; Classic Kanjeevarams to Bengal cottons with jamdhani work, Patolas from Gujarat to Ikkats from Orissa & AP; Kotas from Rajasthan to Muga from North East, etc. These are all in natural fabrics: Cottons, Silk cottons, Linens, Tussars, Organza, Georgettes and heavy silks with brocades,” says Chwala.
india’s ethnic wear market
The market for special occasion wear is growing in advanced double digits and expected to continue this trajectory over next few years.
There are some key trends that the ethnic wear market in India is following. As India emerges as a growing and developing economy, Indians are more and more confident and proud of their heritage. They are happy to wear their Indian-ness even at international events. There seems to be a renewed buzz in the saree category over the last two or three years.
Apart from this, weddings and festivals have always been the key drivers of consumer spending in India. With Bollywood influencing multiple days of celebration across the entire country, there is even more of a spend on the Big Fat Indian wedding!
Further, our country is witnessing a brand driven premiumization thrust across categories. Consumers seek authenticity and meaning in brands,” explains Chawla.
Titan’s approach is to be comparable to the market pricing for similar authentic products. While the offering may be at higher price bands (compared to synthetics and powerloom products), the company has consciously chosen not to take significant premiums.
“We have a good selection for customers in all price ranges. We start at Rs 2000 for daily/formal wear, while a large part of our selection is concentrated in Rs.4000-Rs.8000 for smart, festive wear and Rs 12000-Rs.30000 for heavier occasions and exclusive pieces. Our pure zari and bridal sarees go up to Rs 2.5 lakh,” says Chawla.
The primary target audience is predominantly women over 30 years of age who prefer sarees and Indian wear.
“Our secondary target audience are women below 30 years of age who seek Indian wear for important occasions in their lives including weddings, work occasions, and festivals. In terms of a mindset, this woman is progressive yet rooted. Her choices reflect her refined taste and self-expression. We see her as independent, balanced and celebrating tradition while not being bound by it,” explains Chawla.
challenges of the ethnic wear market in india
The opportunities for such products in India and beyond are large. In a large and fragmented market, there is ample opportunity for brands to build a special niche. However, there are challenges, he says.
Some of them are:
1. Ensuring quality and authenticity in materials, handlooms and craftsmanship
2. Scaling up the supply chain
3. Building a profitable and sustainable retail business model
4. Reviving some dying clusters which have a rich heritage of craft that could go away if a new generation of artisans don’t take over
Currently, the company does not have an Omnichannel operation.
“As the brand is still in its pilot phase, the immediate focus is to learn how customers interact with the product and develop the best possible environment and experience for customers to be able to touch and feel the product. It is too early to comment on Omnichannel for now,” says Chawla.
“However, in a year’s time, Taneira will have 3-4 stores running in different parts of the country. Our growth will really be measured in terms of brand awareness, a solid understanding of local preferences, the customer’s response to our value proposition and ability to build a sustainable supply chain and business model in the category,” he adds.
“There are many brands that have done a great job and are serving this market well across various categories. Being new in this category, we are learning all the time. This year, the continuation of the pilot phase is centered around our learning curve in the industry,” concludes Chawla.