Some Brands enter so quietly into our lifestyle that we don’t even realize it. Call it Organic growth, or a consumer’s pull towards those brands, some companies manage to pull it off! Manyavar is one such brand. For a company that started off with Rs. 10,000 in seed capital all the way back in 1999, Manyavar has come a long way.
Manyavar founder Ravi Modi, then 22, used to work at his family’s garments store in Kolkata’s AC Market. He’d graduated from St. Xavier’s College, and realized that there were no players in the ethnic men’s fashion space in the country. “I saw it…like an opportunity of a lifetime; not only to build a business but also to change men’s fashion in the country,” he told in an interview.
Growing Fast, without any Major Funding
Manyavar started off selling its traditional wedding wear through larger retailers like Pantaloons, but Modi’s vision was already established. In 2002, he incorporated Vedanta Fashions Private Limited (VFPL), and the company set up its first store in Bhubaneshwar in 2008. Today, Manyavar has become an ethnic wear behemoth — The brand has 450 stores spread across 170 locations in India, Bangladesh, UAE, Nepal, and the US. It has 100 flagship stores—along the lines of an expansive 16,000 sq ft showroom in Mumbai’s Lower Parel—and 12 international stores.
Founder – Ravi Modi
All this growth has come without any venture capital or significant borrowings. Manyavar is completely bootstrapped and is light on debt. According to company research platform Tofler, VFPL’s regulatory filings show that the company had a turnover of ₹504 crore in FY16 and a profit before tax (PBT) of ₹139 crore, implying a healthy PBT margin of 28 percent.
Manyavar does several things differently from traditional retailers. Unlike traditional clothing companies, it doesn’t have an End of Season sale, a mainstay for most retailers to get rid of excess inventory. “We are the only brand in the country that does not have an EOSS (end of season sale). This is our USP,” says Modi. Manyavar instead relies on data analytics to manage inventory, including unique merchandise ownership of stock, automatic stock replenishment at stores and even inter-store stock transfer depending on demand.
The company also keeps its costs in check by running operations out of its home base in Kolkata, where it has a network of reasonably-priced craftsmen who dish out delicately embroidered clothes for the world to buy. And despite running a large global operation, Manyavar still operates as a family business — Modi’s wife Shilpi Modi is a trained fashion designer and the company’s chief visualizer of merchandise and design.
The Master Stroke – Marketing!
What’s really helped Manyavar stand out from the competition is its Marketing. It managed to pull off what can only be described as a marketing coup by having on board two of the country’s hottest young stars as brand ambassadors while they were being wedded in real life. Manyavar had had Virat Kohli as a brand ambassador since 2015; it brought Anushka Sharma along for a viral campaign in late 2017. When Virat and Anushka got married in a breathlessly-watched ceremony, Manyavar managed to position its wedding apparel business in a way no conventional marketing campaign possibly could.
Manyavar’s national appeal in a country where people’s culture and sartorial tastes differ from state to state is, in no small measure, also a function of its massive splurge on round-the-year advertising. From outdoor billboards, newspapers, and magazines to TV and movie theatres, Manyavar’s commercials can be seen everywhere. The brand’s logo also features on the jerseys of popular sporting league franchises like the Kolkata Knight Riders in the India Premier League.
Growth and Newer Avenues!
While its focus till recently was mostly on men’s clothing, the brand is also extending itself to women’s and children’s wear. In 2016, VFPL launched Mohey, a women’s celebration wear label, to sell the likes of lehengas and saris. “We have now forayed into women’s ethnic wear with Mohey, which has grown to over 50 stores across 40 cities. We are also in talks to make acquisitions in this space,” Modi says.
With an eye on a much bigger Game, Modi aims to touch INR 2,000 Crore by FY-2021. He has got all the right ingredients and a perfect recipe, now it’s just a matter of time.