Way back in 1990, the residents of Kolkata queued up in front of a boutique that offered stunning collections of ethnicwear for men and women. It was the swanky boutique, located in the prime area of Gariahat, which became a landmark destination for ethnicwear over the years. Spearheaded by Praveen Agarwal, the boutique evolved into an ethnicwear brand in 2010. Between in 2010 and 2014, the brand saw a meteoric rise in the ethnicwear segment and expanded its network to 32 stores and clocked a turnover of Rs 80 crore in FY 2013-14 from a humble Rs 5 crore.
“When Prapti opened its store in Gariahat, the organised retail was unexplored and there was no one in the category that specialised in ethnicwear retailing. We were the only retailer that catered to this segment, both for men’s and womenswear. Hence, we received
phenomenal response. However, until then we did not think of exploring the category further through organised retail. We started only in 2010 and it has seen exponential growth since then,” says Praveen Agarwal, director, Prapti Fashions.
All the way through its journey from 1990-2010, Prapti redefi ned the concept of ethnicwear retailing. It was through its craftsmanship, design and quality that Prapti earned a loyal customer base not only in Kolkata but also in other parts of eastern India. In spite of being a one-store retailer, Prapti established itself as a brand in ethnicwear. “In fact, it was such a landmark destination that even the first Pantaloons store in Gariahat opened bang opposite to Prapti store,” informs Agarwal.
Prapti Fashions was incorporated in 1985 and since then it has been one of the leading names among ethnicwear fashion brands in India. Currently, the fashionable traditional attire offered by Prapti is retailed across the country by company-owned outlets. In the last four years, under the company’s flagship, 32 EBOs have been set up across major metropolitan areas nationwide. The stores are strategically placed in malls and high streets to offer convenience to shoppers.
Headquartered in Kolkata, the brand’s design philosophy brings out the beauty and aesthetic appeal of Kolkata’s creative milieu. The collection at Prapti draws its design inspiration from use of natural fabric, traditional craftsmanship infused with modern styling and cuts. The brand mirrors the splendour of Indian craftsmanship. From the gorgeous zardozi work of Uttar Pradesh, the intricate kantha stitch of Bengal, to the detailed dabka embroidery of Rajasthan – Prapti represents the true essence of Indian culture. “Through our ethnicwear and accessory collection, we are constantly striving to bring back the fascinating trend of Indian karigari by embracing our roots,” says Agarwal.
Today, Prapti boasts of being the only designer ethnicwear brand that caters to both men and women. The brand offers 40: 60 ratio for men and women. One of primary reasons for the brand’s success has been its ability to adopt changing ethnicwear. “We have seen that even in ethnicwear, the fashion trends are changing fast. Films and TV soaps are becoming style inspirations,” explains Agarwal.
Hence, we focus on offering new collections designs every 15 days. We have a strong backend team comprising best designers responsible for creating beautiful designs for our customers,” adds Agarwal. Apart from having a strong USP in terms of design and quality, the brand has incorporated technology at every level of its operations. Right from its manufacturing to store operations, every level has technology integrated into the system to offer convenient service and transparency of operations. The company plans to invest at least Rs 20 crore to strengthen its backend technology.
Apart from offering best quality control methods and customer services, the brand believes in creating the right retail ambience that builds the image of the brand in the consumer’s mind. “We have some of the best visual merchandising professionals, who bring out the essence of Prapti’s ethnic styling and help the customer connect with the brand through our stores,” shares Agarwal.
Though it started late but Prapti is now all set to expand its wings across India. Although 70 percent of its EBOs are in eastern India, the brand has plans to emphasise on other regions as well. In its attempt to reach out to more customers across India, the brand has already started retailing through large format stores like Pantaloons and Globus.
By the end of FY 2014-15, the brand plans to roll out six more EBOs in locations like Bhubaneshwar, Bishnupur (Jamshedpur), etc. Apart from Bengal, the brand has a strong market in Hyderabad and Bangladesh. By 2016, the brand will open 12 more stores and 75 percent of it will be catering to the tier -II and -III markets.
Other than launching EBOs, the brand has recently ventured in online sales. It has already tied up with Flipkart and is currently in talks with other e-commerce platforms. The brand has projected a turnover of `95 crore by the end of 2014-15, and it aims to achieve a turnover of `125 crore by 2016.