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Ethnic Wear Brand Neeru’s Journey: From humble beginnings to international plans

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From a humble beginning of supplying raw material to fashion retailers to being counted among the top fashion brands in India today, Neeru’s has come a long way. The brand is synonymous with ethnic fashion. With its active participation in fashion weeks and close engagement with celebrity fashion influencers, Neeru’s has come a long way from its humble beginnings.

The journey of Harish Kumar, CMD – Neeru’s, along with his mother Basant Kaur, the founder of Neeru’s, began in 1971 with tailoring and embroidery of superior and intricate designs in Hyderabad. In 1983, Kumar started manufacturing and wholesale supplying of fabric to over 1,000 retailers across India.

Spotting a potential, he was quick to introduce handloom and other natural fabrics. This not only came as a fresh boon to the fabric market, which was till then saturated with man-made fibers, but also gave a respite to weavers from South India helping them generate due economic benefits from their skills of weaving natural fibers.

It would be no exaggeration to say that Harish Kumar worked towards making handloom look fashionable and trendy thus giving it a facelift from its earlier avatar of being considered a choice for people who could not afford expensive fabric.

The turning point came in 1991 when he realised that there was a dearth of good ethnic wear brands in the country, specially so when ethnic wear had a strong underlying demand. This is when Neeru’s journey started as a brand.

Avnish Kumar, Director, Neeru’s told IMAGES Retail Bureau, “The brand has grown multi-fold since the day of its inception as the trend of ethnic wear is growing in India. Earlier, malls were hesitant to give space to ethnic wear retailers. Today, the situation has completely reversed with shopping centres realising the value ethnic wear brings to them and are dedicating separate floors to this mode of fashion. This is also a big reason why we as a brand are planning to spread to our wings.”

Market Presence

Today, with 40 EBO and 22 MBO stores (including the one in Dubai) and approximately 4.5 lakh sq. ft. of retail space, Neeru’s is redefining designer ethnic wear in India, making it available to patrons who are connoisseurs of fine design but shy away from buying due to expensive designer tags.

Kumar said about the brand’s USP is “selling the latest and the best of Indian ethnic wear at a reasonable price tag”.

The locations of Neeru’s exclusive stores include Hyderabad, Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru, Vijaywada, Tirupati, Nellore, Vizag, Guntur, Mumbai, Lucknow, Nizamabad and Dubai.

Neeru’s is also associated with large format retailers like Central and Lifestyle.

According to Kumar: “By March 2018, we are planning to take our total store count to 50.”

The Flagship Concept Store

Neeru’s Emporio, The Ethnic Palace of India, which recently opened in Santacruz, Mumbai is a visual treat spread over a sprawling 40,000 sq. ft. area. The store is dedicated to men, women, and kids ethnic wear fashion – a one-stop destination for wedding shopping.

The design aesthetics of the store is at par with international luxury stores with Italian marble inlays, a waterfall inside the store, a one of its kind 3D history wall, a 15 foot LED screen wall display and a live handloom machine where customers can watch weavers creating sarees right in front of their eyes.

The brand has another Neeru’s Emporio in Banjara Hills, Hyderabad.

Apart from this Kumar revealed, they have two other formats. “Our small format stores known as Be Desi by Neeru’s, a fast-fashion brand, has a store size ranging from 500 to 800 sq. ft. The other format is the proper Neeru’s store which spans 15,000 sq. ft.”

Product Line

The product line includes lehengas, sarees, silks, suits, mix-and-match, accessories, men’s ethnic and kids’ wear. Women’s wear includes lehengas, ghagras, silks, sarees, half sarees, blouses, tunics, and mix and match in both ready-to-wear, and unstitched formats. Men’s wear includes kurta pyjamas, Indo western wear, sherwanis, suits, shirts and trousers.

Neeru’s is also going strong on a sub-brand expansion, with the most prominent being Neeru’s Mix & Match – an exclusive collection of tunics, kurtis and bottoms. This is led by the Signature Neeru Kumar collection. Then there is Neeru’s Menz which is an exclusive collection for men.

The other collections include Little Neeru’s which is dedicated to children up to 14 years of age and Yuva which includes fashion jewellery, clutches, bags and footwear. The brand also forayed into the world of prêt with the launch of their signature collection, Neeru Kumar Collection.

“Our target audience ranges from infant to 60-year old men and women as we have an extensive product range to cater to all their ethnic needs,” explained Kumar.

Marketing & Promotions

Neeru’s has signed Bollywood star and fashionista Sonam Kapoor as its brand ambassador. The brand believes that this association will leverage the versatility and legacy of both the brand and the actor, as she represents the brand promise ‘Fashion’.

Talking about the appointment, Kumar said, “We are proud to welcome Sonam Kapoor to the Neeru’s family. The style diva’s fashion style complements the brand’s legacy and her vibrant persona, elegance and popularity makes her a great fit for our brand.”

Expansion Plans

Today, apart from its own outlets, Neeru’s is looking towards expansion through both the franchise as well as the dealership route. According to Avnish Kumar, the franchise terms of Neeru’s require a space of about 1,500 to 4,500 sq. ft. The requirement for its sub-brands is between 500 and 1,000 sq. ft.

The Future

With an aim to spread the brand’s reach across the country, Harish Kumar and Avnish Kumar, envisage opening EBOs of the brand in the metro cities and are also looking forward to a presence in Tier II & III cities.

New EBOs are being planned in Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Tirupati, Hubli, Raipur, Nagpur, Pune and many more along with all major Tier II and III cities in India. Neeru’s also plans to expand internationally by adding stores in the Middle East as well as the United States of America.

Currently, Neeru’s has a presence in 2 countries, 11 states and 20 cities. “We are eyeing to hit a revenue target of Rs 220 to 230 crore this fiscal,” concluded Kumar.

Brand Ambassador

Neeru’s has recently signed Bollywood star and fashionista Sonam Kapoor as its brand ambassador. The company says that this association will leverage the versatility and legacy of both Neeru’s and Sonam Kapoor, as she represents the brand promise ‘Fashion’.

Commenting on the announcement, Director, Neeru’s, Avnish Kumar said, “We are proud to welcome Sonam Kapoor to Neeru’s family. The style diva’s fashion style complements the brand’s legacy and her vibrant persona, elegance and popularity makes her a great fit for our brand.”

Neeru’s recently had a glamorous shoot with their new brand ambassador Sonam Kapoor. However, Neil Nitin Mukesh kept it traditional yet cool with a colorful palette of royal sherwanis.

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