Before setting up the EBOs, the brand was only available in a dozen shop-in-shop stores within Central, a department retail chain from the fashion retail arm of the group, Future Lifestyle Fashions Ltd.
The first exclusive outlet was opened at Infiniti Mall in Malad and since then the brand is available at 40 doors in 20 cities.
The clothes styles are inspired by international trends on catwalks as well as Instagram. Like international fast fashion brands Zara and H&M, Cover Story refreshes 10 per cent of its collection every week by adding new pieces. It then phases out 10 per cent of the older collection to even out the stock.
The clothes are priced competitively with entry price points at Rs 790, going up to Rs 4,000, or an average pricing of Rs 1,800.
What is Fast Fashion?
Fast fashion is used to describe designs that move from the catwalk to the shop floor extremely quickly, essentially capturing current trends. Retailers introduce new styles in quick succession, urging customers to make repeat purchases before a style exits the shop floor.
Globally, fast fashion is the fastest growing segment in apparel and lifestyle retail, made popular by brands like Uniqlo, H&M and Zara that are known to refresh their inventory and offer new collections to their consumers every week, and in some cases, twice a week.
Considering that Indian fashion is also evolving at a rapid pace, incorporating global trends and sensibilities, Biyani decided to launch Cover Story and seize the opportunity by creating an international design hub, a niche retail concept and a solid supply chain management.
The Creation of Future Style Lab
Future Style Lab, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Future Group, was created to develop cutting edge fast fashion from its London hub.
It was incorporated in 2015 under the leadership of Manjula Tiwari who comes with over 23 years of experience in the world of fashion retail. Her team leverages over 20 years’ of experience in London’s high street fashion and Future Group’s immense expertise in sourcing, manufacturing & supply chain management.
Extensive Market Research
The team travelled across India covering metros and tier-II cities over three months to deep-dive into consumer behaviour and buying patterns. This covered:
– Market Visits and Focus Groups
– Wardrobe Audits
– Personal Interviews
– Street Photography
– Western wear is growing at 25-30 per cent and the sector is getting more organised.
– Foreign brands are increasing the pie for all players. Estimates place the women’s western wear market at Rs 20,000 crore.
– However, there exists a gap between high-priced luxury segments and low-priced luxury segment and low-priced unorgranised brands, between the price point of Rs 1,000-5,000.
– Domestic brands do not offer fresh, global trends in a fast fashion format or focus on fusion wear.
– International brands are expensive and not curated for the Indian context.
– Western wear now occupies a larger share of the Indian woman’s wardrobe in metros and the trend is catching up in tier II cities.
– Styling is still a new language. Putting together a look at a nascent stage.
– Indians are shopping more than ever before and demanding newness and fresh collections.
– Shopping frequency is on the rise and averages around 8-10 times per year.
– Social media is helping people get well versed with global fashion trends
– The challenge, however, is to find a balance in adapting western wear to our cultural context.
– Some customers said they shopped for international brands only during sales.
What Sets Cover Story Apart From Others?
A London Design Team: which captures the latest trends around global fashion hubs.
Sourcing & Manufacturing: Quickly moves catwalk designs to the floor and brings new styles every week.
Vast Retail Experience: Partners with data science giant Dunhumby for microscopic insights into millions of customers.
Who is the Cover Story Woman?
The target audience is the 23 to 40 year old, financially independent woman with a rising disposable income which she loves to splurge on frequent shopping trips.
She thrives on social media, is a traveller in spirit and and embraces new experiences. She frequently seeks to refresh her wardrobe.
Feminine and eclectic, she switches effortlessly between Indian and western wear. Dressing up for her is a form of self-expression. She is modern but rooted.
– For the fashion-loving and value-conscious Indian woman, Cover Story delivers the latest from the fashion capitals of the world, while it is still ‘the latest’.
– Luxurious experience yet affordable priced.
– Polished and trendy clothes that exude a posh feel and easy glamour.
– Subtle, thoughtful detailing with feminine and flattering silhouettes.
– Styles that give her the confidence of being globally fashionable.
Decoding the Store
All Cover Story outlets are designed to recreate the intimate boutique, and provide a comfortable shopping experience. The layout is layers of transparency with opacity, which encourages a sense of discovery while shopping.
A warm and neutral palette has been chosen for the store as well as all the equipment in it. Colours such as Rose Gold have been opted for, to give the place a feminine touch, to help women identify with the store.
The display panels in the store are designed to look like magazine editorials. Exclusive fashion clusters display merchandise as if they were stories, luring women into reading them.
Visual merchandising is done by and premium in-store windows are designed by London stylists on the lines of international luxury brands.
The cash counter mimics a woman’s vanity bag, while changing rooms have seating for the comfort of waiting friends and family.
Customers can browse tablets with fashion content and styling tips. Cover Story’s in-store ‘selfie booths’ are bound to create brand excitement. Consumers can browse through stores and merchandise, share their personal information, and then have their shopping home delivered.
Shoppers can even make a request for sizes not currently available at the store. A personal shopper will then locate the size from other outlets and deliver it to the consumer.
Celebrating a Year of Success
In the last one year, Cover Story has opened six standalone stores across Delhi NCR, Mumbai and Surat. Apart from these stores, the brand has a nation-wide presence in multiple SIS formats including Central, Kapsons, Iconic and Sohum. It also has a strong presence online with partners such as Myntra and Jabong.
CEO, Future Style Lab, Manjula Tiwari said “We are excited to complete a year and are looking forward to launching multiple new stores, featuring the latest in trends showcased through our collections. Our design team in London keeps drawing inspirations from the world fashion trends and coming up with designs that can be worn on different occasions by the contemporary women in India.”
She further added, “In apparel, we have dresses, tops, tees, shirts, shorts, skirts, jumpsuits, jackets and jeans. We currently have bags and shoes as part of our accessories range. However, eventually we see Cover Story becoming the complete wardrobe solution for women, complete with all accessories and jewellery pieces.”
Cover Story plans to open 15 stores by the end of this fiscal. The brand which also sell out of Central, Shoppers Stop, Myntra and Jabong look forward to have 65-70 doors in the country by the end of this financial year.
Tiwari revealed, ” The brand has already entered Tier II cities like Surat, we are opening in Coimbatore, Cochin, we are there in Guwahati and Itanagar. And also our website will be live by June end this year.”
The brand which is aiming to double its revenue every year was initially concentrating on malls but now it is exploring the opportunities to set up stores at high streets in Bengaluru and Mumbai.