As it goes without saying, India is still a market which is governed more by designs than brand names. Right from local boutiques to traditional and even regional retailers, everybody is striving for a share of consumer’s wallet in this competitive ethnic wear market of the country.
A market which was initially restricted to older age segment, is now finding huge acceptance amongst the youth (especially women). This is because of the synergy brought between ethnic and western wear by one of India’s largest retail outlet chains Fabindia. The New Delhi-based firm, started back in 1960 to market craft traditions of India globally, transformed this ‘old school’ ethnic wear industry with its crafts-based, contemporary and affordable product line.
Here are reasons that made Fabindia one of India’s exclusive retail outlet chains:-
A unique ‘traditional, yet modern’ product line
The major portion of Fabindia’s product range is textile based. Non-textile introductions to this range are home products including organic food products and Fabindia’s range of authentic personal care products. The company also has two large sections named ‘Fabindia Organic’ which carries products like grains, cereals, pulses, spices, coffee, sugar, honey, and so on, and ‘Fabindia Sana’ which includes products like soaps, shampoos, hair oils, pure oils, hair conditioners and other special skin care products.
Launch of its western apparel brand, ‘Febel’
The brand took the overall perception of ethnic to a whole new level infusing a pinch of western culture. Fabindia’s strength and knowledge of traditionally crafted textiles and hand based skills created Febel, a truly western idiom with a traditional pinch. Fabindia is the only retail brand in the country that flags Indian culture and tradition on an international podium. The products are at par with its global competitors such as Zara, Levi’s, GAP and many other retail giants.
The Omni-channel route
Fabindia was one of the earliest adopters of the Omni-channel strategy in retail. With a thinking that the future of retail would lie in a combination of eCommerce and Brick-and-Mortar, it started betting equally on both the channels to cater to the new age customer appropriately. The online website almost doubled the traction and the popularity, which included entry into Tier II and Tier III markets, rose like none other. The company started working towards the learning of the market in the West, and leapfrogging into a seamless integration of online and physical models.
With a strong belief that there was a need of a medium that could spread vast and diverse crafts of India at every nook and corner of the country as well as aboard, Fabindia links over 55,000 craft based rural producers to the urban market. The products are sourced from villages all over the country. Fabindia works closely with artisans by providing various inputs including design, quality control, access to raw materials and production coordination. Maximising handmade element in their products, whether it is hand-woven textiles, hand-block printing, hand embroidery or handcrafting home products, Fabindia helped fulfill the need to provide and sustain rural employment.
Franchising is the other area that the company explored as a growth driver. This has enabled it to leverage local knowledge and relationships, especially in the smaller Tier III and Tier IV towns. Currently, the company runs more than 400 stores across the country including franchisee and fully-owned stores.
With all these above mentioned ‘mantras’, the company today proudly stands to be a Rs 1,000 Cr (plus) retail apparel brand of the country (as reported by IndianRetailer earlier). What started as a regular small scale export house, has today transformed into a massive retail business not only uplifting Indian textile in varieties, but also posing as the most watchable sheep in the herd.