PrettySecrets (MTC Ecom Pvt Ltd.), headquartered in Mumbai, is one of the fastest growing lingerie brands in India. Created by Karan Behal in 2011, PrettySecrets started out as a women’s sleepwear brand. And almost eleven years ago with its presence in major departmental stores as well as a good strategic number of key MBO’s. From its advent as a solitary category the brand diversified its range in 2012 through e-tailing on PrettySecrets.com.
In a span of five years, PrettySecrets has raised multiple rounds of private equity investment from prominent investors like RB Investments Pte Ltd, Orios Venture Partners, Indian Angel Network, India Quotient and Harvard Business School Angels India.
Today the brand’s portfolio consists of 1,200+ products including lingerie, nightwear, active wear and swimwear.
In an exclusive interview with Indiaretailing.com, Karan Behal, Founder & CEO, PrettySecrets share the transformation they have brought to the lingerie industry with its innovative retailing strategies and introducing higher fashion quotients in India.
Excerpts from the interview:
Tell us about PrettySecrets and its journey till date?
My family has been in the apparel manufacturing and export business for 3 decades now. This strong background and in-depth knowledge in manufacturing, supply chain and inventory planning led me to launch PrettySecrets as a nightwear boutique in 2005 in Mumbai.
Soon, we started retailing PrettySecrets nightwear at nearly 200 points of sale including large format stores like Shoppers Stop, Pantaloons, and Globus and also through mom-n-pop lingerie stores across the country. Succeeding this, I went on to launch ‘Lace’ – The Lingerie Club which was a multi-brand lingerie store. We had 12 outlets across the country in Mumbai, Ludhiana and Pune. The success of the offline stores and the advent of e-commerce led me to launch mylace.in which was fundamentally taking the offline stores online.
My foray into the lingerie industry in India started with Lace – The Lingerie Club and the response was phenomenal. But we faced challenges in scaling its offline retail base since India’s retail market was highly unorganised and was riddled with problems like uneducated sales staff, limited space and poor ambience. I made my e-commerce move in 2011 with ‘mylace.in’, which was one of the first multi brand online lingerie stores.
E-commerce was then at its nascent stage but was fast growing. This is when I realised, that the opportunity lies in building an exclusive private label lingerie brand online. As a result, I eventually decided to step away from offline retail and channel my entire focus on building my own lingerie brand, hence the birth of PrettySecrets.com took place.
Through my previous offline retail and e-commerce experience with Lace, mylace.in and PrettySecrets nightwear; I wanted to ensure that for PrettySecrets.com, we removed the bottlenecks of middlemen and put the brand directly in the hands of the only people who truly mattered- the consumers. We wanted to concentrate on product development and quality and strive to create a niche for ourselves in terms of our product offering and brand experience. This led me to launch PrettySecrets.com.
After the success of PrettySecrets.com, we decided to go multi-channel to provide our customers a seamless shopping experience. Since, the intimate nature of the category requires a specific sales environment and sadly the unorganized market does not do 100 percent justice in providing the perfect lingerie shopping experience, we decided to launch our own brand outlets.
By this time we had built a large customer base across the country and we constantly received requests asking about the opening of our own stores. This conviction of the customers in PrettySecrets coupled with a lot of R&D, inventory and supply chain planning and management and the right franchise partners – all coming together to work in tandem, led us to open our first 2 exclusive brand stores in Mumbai in April 2017.
Today the brand has a current standing of 21 stores across 14 cities in the country, where 19 of these 21 stores are owned by franchisees.
Elaborate on your product profile and its complete expansion plans?
PrettySecrets has been instrumental in introducing higher fashion quotients in line with global trends to the market but at reasonable prices. Innovation is at the core of everything we do, we never stop. We are a style seeking brand where fashion meets function and comfort, and the choice for every woman’s lingerie needs. The brand’s portfolio consists of 1,200+ products including lingerie, nightwear, active wear and swimwear.
We have two seasonal launches (Spring-Summer) and (Autumn -Winter) with 300 style collection in each season spread across cross-category. With 2 season launches and 2 injection rounds per season, we put in a lot of research into product development. We clearly stand out with our USP being our pop colours and prints.
Kindly share your complete retail mapping currently? What are you expansion plans in terms of EBO’s MBOs and Large Format Stores?
We opened our first brand exclusive retail outlet in April 2017 and now have 19 stores across 10 states panning all 4 corners of the country. We have already set stage to ensure we have 100 stores open by the end of 2018 and 300 stores by the end of 2019.
We currently sell through 350 trade stores across the country and we aim to get to 1,500 stores by end of 2019. All of this coupled with growing our market share on online marketplaces and making PrettySecrets.com the largest culmination of brand loyalists.
What has been your progress online? What are its new expansion plans?
The size of the intimate wear market including the nightwear segment, is Rs 20,000 crore and has been growing at 20 perent CAGR over the past 5 years and it is going to reach around Rs 30,000 crore by 2020.
In online category, at best, we see a contribution of anywhere between 8-10 percent by 2020. This may not seem like a large number, but it is a tremendous increase from the current 1-2 percent contribution. With PrettySecrets.com we now cater and deliver to more than 19,000+ pin codes in the country, and we have our own 21 exclusive PrettySecrets outlet across 14 cities in the country. The next 1-2 years will see a continued awareness building up on our extensive plan for increased retail foot print, with 300 franchise owned stores in the next two years, presence in over 150 SIS counters and 1,000 MBO’s.
Is the brand looking at international markets? Share your plans.
We have been partnering with International online marketplaces for over 2 years. Our international exposure is currently limited but we are aiming to grow that exponentially this year. We have partnered with some of the biggest e-commerce websites of UAE and South East Asia, Souq.com and Lazada.com respectively.