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Adding up to Existing Stores

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Mannoj Mehrra, CMD, Study By Janak, is a well-known name in men’s fashionwear. He feels customers today appreciate quality more than ever. In a tête-à-tête with Images Business of Fashion, Mehrra shares his views on menswear fashion business and explains how he has maintained his faith on being exclusive.

How did you start off?

The company just celebrated its 27th year. Study By Janak was born out of the passion to bring fashion to people the way they like – blending global trends with a twist of Indian sensibilities. Also, I did not want to enter a segment where pricing deters the clients to buy a product. Premium pricing with design element is what my focus was on.

How has the journey been so far?

So far so good. When I started off, there wasn’t really a retail brand working on menswear. There were expensive designers or the darzis would do the job. To put a mix of both at parity and justifying the price wasn’t there and that’s how I got into launching my own brand, which was based on the ideology of custom tailoring, experience and high creativity.

What is your opinion of fashion brands in India?

The Indian fashion and accessories market is contradictory. On the one hand, there are large retailers that are running their store without even getting benefits while other brands that are known for their exclusivity are making the moolah. The consumers have started understanding the fact that quality is above the money they spend. There are products for which a consumer is ready to spend that extra buck to get that finesse. Comparatively, there are products where a customer is aware about its short-term life and clinch their purse accordingly.

What is your opinion on luxury retail?

Though there are many who say how big the luxury retail is. For me, it is a roller coaster ride, we are still struggling with quite a few things like infrastructural challenges, pricing models and getting our consumers to believe and understand that luxury products are also available in this country at the same price as its western counterparts.

What is the USP of the company?

Our USP or core strength is our design and manufacturing unit, which gives us the leverage of being one of the few brands that can offer customisation in ethnicwear as well as made-to-measure suits. Also, Study By Janak is positioned as a brand for stylised occasionwear.

What are the product categories?

Indian ethnicwear like sherwanis, long suits, dogri sets, and kurta payjamas; Indo-westerns; made-to-measure suits; designer suits; prét wear like shirts, trousers, jackets; and women’s ethnicwear like saris, lehengas, and salwar kameez.

What is the price range of the products?

The pricing starts at Rs 5,000 for a shirt and goes up to Rs 5,00,000 for a suit or sherwani. However, each category is priced differently.

How do you describe your target customers?

Technically speaking, the client belongs to the income group B+, who travel globally and who understand global fashion. Putting it more subjectively, people who aspire to wear global fashion, but want it in their own comfort factor. Someone who understands what a made-to-measure suit or bespoke suit is like.

What has been your marketing or promotional strategy?

Our business strategy has been clearly on customer touchpoint experience, which starts from the moment they step out of the car and reach our door. Thus, our stores are designed to provide maximum comfort and plush feeling while customers shop for their important occasions. Our marketing and promotional strategy has been very focused wherein we have divided it into brand engagement (niche events and customer engagement) and mass awareness campaigns (through mass media).

Tell us something about your retail store format.

Our stores are based on one base objective – a luxurious ambience with plenty of comfort. As our product line is not designed to cater to a single individual, there are families that come to the store and spend close to 2-3 hours while selecting one purchase. Hence, there are a lot of cozy sitting arrangements across the store where a family can be on their own for hours and pick their best ensemble without being intimidated or disturbed by other clients.

What about the size and location of your stores?

We have in all five exclusive brand outlets – three in Delhi NCR (South Extension, Karol Bagh and Gurgaon), and one each in Ludhiana and Jalandhar. Along with a factory outlet in Noida, we have close to 50,000 sq.ft. of retail space.

How does the location of the stores help in generating business?

Our stores are located in high street and yet, they are away from the crowd. This is to ensure enough visibility to our prospective customers and filter out the people who might just walk in to look around. Our outlet in Gurgaon is located in a mall. There too we have ensured that we attract customers who are sure buyers, as the mall has a bunch of retailers who specialise in occasionwear.

What are your expansion plans?

Our plan for this year is to focus on our current retail space – upgrading and adding on more area to it. We also plan to expand into the northern Indian market and get a strong foothold there before we capture other parts of the country.

How important is training the staff at the stores?

Training our store staff as well as the backend staff is an integral part of the entire organisation. Our teams, in all our stores, are well versed in client handling. The belief that is imparted repeatedly to them is the reason why this brand exists.

How do you motivate people in your company?

We constantly have team-building exercises. In addition, we interact with the people on the floor on a daily basis. This is done to make them understand the dynamics and to make them feel connected to the brand.

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