Home Fashion I stepped away from offline retail to build private label brand online:...

I stepped away from offline retail to build private label brand online: Pretty Secrets’ Karan Behal

By  
SHARE

The size of the Indian intimate wear market – including the nightwear segment – is Rs 20,000 crore and has been growing at 20 percent CAGR over the past five years. It is estimated that this market is going to reach around Rs 30,000 crore by 2020. One brand that is looking forward to capitalise on this growing share is PrettySecrets, a versatile brand, with an objective to create aspirational intimate wear at a reasonable price.

I stepped away from offline retail to build an exclusive private label lingerie brand online, says Pretty Secrets' Karan Behal
Today the brand has a current standing of 23 stores across 14 cities in the country

Growth Story

Highlighting the growth story of the brand, Karan Behal, Founder & CEO, PrettySecrets (MTC Ecom Pvt Ltd.) told Indiaretailing, “My family has been in the apparel manufacturing and export business for three 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. Post 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 and although 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, the response was phenomenal,” he further added.

The success of the offline stores and the advent of e-commerce led me to launch www.mylace.in in 2011 – one of the first multi brand online lingerie stores – which was fundamentally taking the offline stores online.

“E-commerce was then in its nascent stages in India, but 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,” revealed Behal.

He further added, “Through my previous offline retail and e-commerce experience with Lace, www.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, the brand decided to go multi-channel to provide the 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, the brand – decided to launch their own brand outlets.

According to Behal, “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 two exclusive brand stores in Mumbai in April 2017.”

USP

As a brand one of the strength of is the width that it offers by going into the separate categories but more importantly the positioning of the brand and products is such that it is unique to the Indian market.

“Our products have functionality by which I mean that 95 percent of our product range is wearable everyday however these products do not need to be boring. So how do we upgrade everyday lingerie into a product that is actually interesting, fashionable, stylish and aspirational in nature. And such kind of brand positioning is not available in India so far and that is what lead to the early traction that we had,” revealed Behal.

Product Portfolio

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 the brand does, and it never stops.

According to Behal, “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, shapewear and swimwear.”

He further added, “We will soon be launching the athleisure wear and yoga wear also and expand into plus category.”

Pretty Secrets has 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, the brand puts in a lot of research into product development. The brand clearly stands out with their USP being our pop colours and prints.

“We also expand sizes every season on season. Today our nightwear is actually available from XS to XXL. We are among the few brands in India who have got XS as a size. When it comes to bras, most of our bras we have 28 SKUs (sizes) and it is constantly growing that,” asserted Behal.

He further added, “We have recently introduced three different shades of nude with a commitment to add one new nude shade every season as per the Indian skin-tone.”

TG

According to Behal, “Our broad TG is 20-35 years old and the core TG is 23-30 year old. So the women falling under this age group demand good quality product at a reasonable price but also something that is aspirational.”

The products of PrettySecrets meet the customer demands and the average price of bras at PrettySecrets is anywhere between Rs 600-650.

Technology Innovations

The last dozen stores opened by Pretty Secrets do not have any cash counters. All the staff have-held devices with the help of which they do product discovery, product recommendation, product feedback and billing.

“We also use technology for controlling, running and maintaining the stores along with managing back-end operations. Staff training and brand audit is also done through technology,” Behal revealed.

Fulfillment Centres

Pretty Secrets has a centralised warehousing facility at the outskirts of Mumbai spanning across 30,000 sq.ft. Right now we are the brand is shipping all over India from there.

According to Behal, “This year we are also opening small offices and fulfillment centres In Delhi and Bengaluru. These fulfillment centres will be spread across 3,000-5,000 sq.ft.”

Online Reach

In online category, at best, Pretty Secrets 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.

“From PrettySecrets.com, we currently deliver to 12,000 plus pincodes and from marketplaces around 19,000 plus pincodes,” asserted Behal.

International Reach

As far as international reach is unconcerned, Behal said, “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 are already available online in the Gulf, Middle-East and South-east Asia. Currently, we are also exploring a JV in Middle-East to extend our distribution channels over there.”

In international market, Pretty Secrets has grown 110 percent last financial year and this year, the brand is targeting a growth of 200 percent.

Current Retail Mapping and Expansion Targets

Today the brand has a current standing of 23 stores across 14 cities in the country.

“In terms of trade sales, we currently have about 250 active counters at MBOs where we sell the product. The target this year is to take it to about 600. 23 stores will expand up to about 60 stores by end of this year. Currently, we 12-15 SIS counters live and we plan to take the total count to 50 by December,” revealed Behal.

He further added, “Online marketplace will continue to be a target leader and our target for this year is 200 percent growth and PrettySecrets.com will continue to maintain organic growth and serve as the backbone to all the distribution channels.”

Path of Profitability

Behal revealed, “We are very capital efficient company. We are near profitability. Within next six months, we will be profitable.”

As Pretty Secrets is expanding at a rapid pace, so despite being profitable, the brand does require money for working capital and that is mainly towards the inventory, for which currently the company is well-funded.

“And, we are constantly in touch with venture capital/ private equity players. We will need capital…however, we are looking at debt options at this point of time,” concluded Behal.