The retail journey of Da Milano

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Da Milano’s journey from a few SKU’s of leather accessories to a one-stop destination for all affordable luxury leather retail products, is nothing short of entrepreneurial excellence and astute retail sense. Managing Director, Da Milano, Sahil Malik has spent a quarter of a century bringing out innovative products and designs that meet customer aspirations, have utility and meet all leather accessory needs of today’s discerning client. From clutch to sling bags for ladies, from wallets to differentiated computer bags, from leather accessories to leather luggage, from a simple belt to a designer leather jacket, and perfectly crafted hand bags, each product is designed by blending innovative craftsmanship with automation. Innovative service delivery is at the heart of Da Milano retail. In an exclusive interaction with IMAGES Retail, Malik reveals the future plans of his business.
The Market
Leather accessories have just scratched the surface in India. Our current strategy is about producing a one-stop leather portfolio for all the aspirational needs of leather products of the customer who is an executive, to the lady who has to attend an evening social gathering and can exude confidence with a Da Milano bag at her side; from an octogenarian who prides himself with a seven-insert leather wallet to the young engineering student setting a swag standard with his sleek computer bag. Scalability is about synchronizing technology with Indian craftsmanship, using a semi-skilled force and using rural talent to the most. The result is a burgeoning revenue that grows at a CAGR of + 25 per cent over next five years. Economies of scale result in cost competitiveness resulting in leaving behind the competition.
The Footprint
58 stores and growing in 17 cities in India. The plan is to grow to 100 outlets across 34 cities in the next five years. Destination Dubai has just opened its horizons with 2 stores in Ibn Battuta and Burjuman Mall each. With 4 more stores planned in the Middle East, 2 in Europe and 2 in Singapore, Da Milano is all set to mark its presence at the best locations in 3 continents over the next 3 years with leadership and a dedicated customer base in 2 other continents. Da Milano expects to be a global brand in the next 3-4 years. The array of products shall meet every aspirational requirement of a discerning leather product user across the globe.
The Customers
Da Milano has a versatile range. It is for men and women. It is for fashion-focused people, for young women, smart executives, at leisure travelers, and senior citizens. In short from apparel, to bags to accessories, the range takes care of all leather fashion needs of all between the age groups of 14 to 75 years. A change in profile of the customer, in different seasons or otherwise is therefore no challenge for Da Milano. Rather it is an opportunity to duck seasonal vagaries and bolster sale. Da Milano is quick on turn out time for a range. The marketing plan shall evolve around PAX profiling and around specific events that bring a specified class of passengers. The range, array of colors and prices shall be sensitized around that to back the marketing effort to communicate through mailers (stand alone and with event organizers) to communicate and build comfort and camaraderie with the passengers.
The Products
The brand proposition for both men and women is to provide a range that caters to all their leather needs – from bags, to travel bags and travel luggage to belts and leather apparel, portfolios and computer bags, footwear and accessories.
Location Strategy
The location for every store should be chosen with care, a place that has high traffic count – malls, high streets and even airports. However, malls afford a more family experience and makes it very easy for customers to shop across brands in the same category and compare to make a wise choice.
Developing and growing retail operations at high footfall locations is about customer profiling, events, product range that blends with customer aspirations and about quick adaptation of seasonal variation and customer requirement. High footfall areas are profiled for customers and their aspirations, their feedback is quickly translated by design and the production team to roll out products at optimum price points.
Shop-in-shops is still not in the retail strategy of the brand as far as the Indian market goes, but we are open to the idea of a franchising model overseas.

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