Just as India opened its doors wide to welcome international fashion in the country, one retail visionary thought of taking a lead to set an example. The vision was to create a brand that would beautifully merge Indian aesthetics and Western cuts and offer women in India a perfect combination of chic Indo-Western wear. This retail brand is TCNS, which includes W, Aurelia and Wishful.
Inception & Initial Years
TCNS’s journey started in 2001 with a single store. In less than a decade- and-a-half, TCNS reached the milestone of 100 stores. A gigantic leap was taken in another four years thereon when it expanded to a commendable number of 380 stores across the country and even forayed internationally in markets like Mauritius, Sri Lanka and Nepal.
Vice President – Sales, TCNS Clothing Company Pvt. Ltd, Lalit Raghuvanshi shares with a sense of pride, “We are proud to have been awarded ‘The Most Admired Indian Women’s Wear brand’ in 2015 and 2016. We have also been awarded ‘Images Most Admired Retailer 2016 – Turnaround story’ and our path-breaking marketing campaigns #Unlikeboring and #Unusuals have also won several important marketing awards.”
Recounting the Achievements
TCNS was gaining ground but they were still a distant third in the pecking order in the category of women’s wear in 2013-14. Raghuvanshi, says, “We were able to change the order in 2015 when we took the second spot. In FY16, we gained further ground and became the largest women’s wear company in India which is a matter of great pride for all of us at TCNS.”
The last four years have been remarkable for the company where they have reached the zenith becoming five times of their business size. Raghuvanshi makes it a point to add, “We are a brick-and-mortar company which has grown at a pace which is usually talked about for online companies. This rapid topline growth rate came with an even higher growth rate in the bottom-line which basically illustrates the quality of growth we have been able to achieve.”
Adding further he shares, “Being awarded the ‘Images Best Women’s Wear Brand’ back-to-back in 2015 and 2016 is a huge recognition of all the hard work that has gone in. Also recognition from our partners like Myntra, Shoppers Stop, Reliance Trends as the best performing ethnic wear brand bears testimony to the fact that we have been able to add significant value to our partners as well.”
A company/ brand is only as good as the people working for it. The very fact that W has managed to surpass all expectations in terms of its growth, speaks volumes about the minds and hands working behind the scenes.
Raghuvanshi, says, “We at TCNS believe in team work and if there is one single reason behind this growth then that reason would be the ‘team’ here. Usually companies divide people into departments but here all of us working at TCNS are united by the vision that we have for our company. A lot of credit for this goes to our Managing Director for creating a culture that thrives on innovation, promotes meritocracy, challenges the existing norms and overall promotes a feeling of ownership for all the employees. Any company would stand to gain a lot if all the employees think about how to take a company forward rather than just a select few individuals at the top trying to make things happen.”
Understanding what Women Want
With fashion becoming readily available, the consumer today is spoilt for choice but then only brands that cater to specific needs of a consumer would be able to survive the market pressure.
As Raghuvanshi rightly puts, “The consumer of today is extremely well connected to what is happening globally in terms of fashion.” Citing the key learning that they have come across, he adds, “Our biggest learning while catering to this segment has been that women prefer something which conforms to the traditional aesthetic yet is extremely modern in its language. Keeping this in mind, traditional Indian wear is merging with western wear for everyday use.”
According to Raghuvanshi, there is good growth opportunity in the category of women’s ethnic wear, as branded women’s apparel is still an extremely under-penetrated category.
Elaborating on the current dynamics, he says, “Women prefer to go out wearing something which permeates traditional wear in the work environment which is why most companies experiment with fusion clothing instead of just ethnic, which are reserved for special occasions. There is a strong and emerging market for fusion Indian wear which cuts across all other product segments.”
The women’s wear category has witnessed an unprecedented growth in the last two years. The onset of online retail has led many aspiring entrepreneurs to enter the category, each offering something different.
Talking about what 2017 holds for the sector, Raghuvanshi says, “2017 will be an interesting year. The migration of consumers to ready to wear garments and from unbranded to branded wear is happening at a much faster pace than one can imagine. There is huge scope for all the players in the segment to grow and gain from this shift. The challenge for the brands is to stay relevant and not to get complacent.”
What’s on the Cards
W will soon be positioned as a lifestyle brand. To hear it from Raghuvanshi, “We are planning to make our Indo-Western brand W, a lifestyle brand by extending categories and keeping our focus right on quality and fit of the products. In the past, we have successfully added jewelry as a category under the W brand. We are now adding bags and we might very soon come up with footwear. Looking at the pace at which the brand is growing – both geographically and monetarily – it will not be long before it gets turned into a complete lifestyle brand, of course keeping our core competencies intact. Plans are also afoot to make our premium brand Wishful (priced between Rs 2,999 – Rs 7,999) as a standalone brand. It is currently sold as a private label at most of the W outlets. Aurelia will continue to gain momentum. The new format of Aurelia stores have really been well received by the consumers. Aurelia clocked Rs 350 crore of consumer sales in this FY and our next year’s plan include taking this to more than Rs 500 crore. Having tasted success with our existing international stores, we will look to add rapidly to our footprint outside of India. We see tremendous potential for our brands in countries which have huge Indian sub-continent diaspora.”
Today the company, has grown into 380 outlets in 100 cities across India. Brand Aurelia is the fastest to reach the milestone of 150 stores since inception in our category. The total retail space for the brands EBOs and SIS is 6,07,000 sq. ft.