With its first standalone store having opened in Inorbit Malad, Mumbai in 2004, today BIBA has 87 stand alone stores across India and plans to reach 150 stores by 2013. Expanding its wiongs, the brand has created a niche for itself. In an Interaction with Neha Malhotra, Siddhartha Bindra, Managing Director, BIBA shares the brand's journey.
Neha Malhotra (NM): How would you describe the retail presence of Biba? From where do you garner maximum revenues?
Siddhartha Bindra (SB): BIBA, with humble beginning in Mumbai, today, has Pan India presence through 87 exclusive outlets in over 40 cities.
Out of these, roughly one third of our exclusive outlets are in the five major metros, and the remaining in the tier II & III cities like Ahmedabad, Patna, Lucknow, Siliguri, Zirakpur Aurangabad, Jabalpur to name a few. Apart from this, we are also available at major retail chains in the country like Shopper’s Stop, Lifestyle, Pantaloons and Central.
While the metros are our largest markets, the brand receives great response from tier I and II cities as well. Infact, owing to phenomenal response and demand for our products in Gujarat, we have opened our first flagship store in Ahmedabad.
NM: Looking at the competition struck market, what is the USP of Biba which sets it apart from the other prominent players?
SB: Biba as a brand stands for variety and affordable designer wear. BIBA clothes are simple, elegant and stylish. Every month we launch new ‘mix n match’ collections and 30 new salwar kameez dupatta designs so that our customers enjoy a wide range of choice. Biba’s style echoes the Indian woman’s sensibility. The brand has evolved alongside the evolving taste of the consumers.
Biba clothes flatter the Indian woman’s silhouette rather than trying to make them ‘fit into’ a particular style or silhouette. This is the difference between Biba and other brands in the category. This is why Biba enjoys a wide range of loyal consumers across age groups and body types.
BIBA specialises in ethnic garments with a modern and contemporary look. We keep changing our designs in keeping with the global trends and incorporating strong influence of our rich cultural heritage of Hand Block printing with vegetable dyes, embroideries, patterns etc. We use pure fabrics like cotton, silks, chiffons, georgettes etc. for all our products. The vibrant colours and styles are well suited to the Indian palette. The emphasis here is on fashionable yet affordable designer clothing.
NM: Where will you focus for expansion? Can you share phase wise growth plans? Did you indulge in any kind of research before deciding on the same?
SB: We feel we are on the right growth trajectory and want to concentrate on the domestic market for the time being. We plan to open about 100 odd exclusive stores in the next two years across India, including tier II & III cities.
For the current year, we plan to open 40 exclusive stores out of which six will be BIBA flagship stores and will be operational by Diwali. Some of the cities that we have finalised our locations are Phatankot, Bhubaneshwar, Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Allahabad and Cuttack.
Before deciding on any new launch, we do exhaustive research. Like, we have finalised on the above centers keeping demand forecast, catchment analysis and government norms for the zone in mind. Being a pan-India brand, we keep a close watch on demographic growth, nationally. Moreover, sometimes depending on customer’s feedback and requests, we plan our launches.
NM: In your opinion, how is the new-age ethnic wear industry growing? What is your expectation in terms of future overall growth in the sector?
SB: Over the past few years, the ethnic wear category has transformed drastically. The evolution of fusion wear within the segment and customisation of Indian wear to suit current requirements is giving the industry significant impetus.
The growth in retail sector coupled with other factors like growing numbers of working women leading to higher disposable incomes as well as the fact that their mobility leads to salwar kameez dupatta being the preferred work wear, will further fuel demand.
NM: How do you plan your marketing strategy?
SB: We as a brand have been growing at a CAGR of 36 per cent without much marketing investments. This year onwards, we have started becoming media active too and are going to be very visible in print as well as outdoors. We will be present nationally in premium magazines as well as newspapers. OOH is our lead medium and we are investing in some 12 cities this year.
Our marketing initiatives are based on our brand strategy and the vision for Biba in the next 2-3 years. We prioritise our markets and then make our investments accordingly.
NM: Since how long has Biba been operational in the country?
SB: My mother Meena Bindra started BIBA from our house in Bombay in 1988, with a loan of Rs 8,000, which my father arranged for her! So, it has been close to two and a half decades, since BIBA started. However, the first exclusive BIBA store was launched in 2004 in Mumbai.
NM: Who is your target audience? Has it grown over the period of time? Do plan to expand the same? What is the price range of the products on offer?
SB: Biba caters to Indian women of all ages and of all walks of life – homemakers, working women, college students, among others. A 45 year old woman will also find something she likes in the store as well as a 20 year old. We have an unmatched range of mix n match category, unstitched fabric, salwar kameez dupatta and recently introduced BIBA Girls, a dedicated range especially for young girls aged between 2-12 years.
As I have said earlier, we aim to provide affordable designer wear. The price range at BIBA starts from Rs 599 and goes up to Rs7999, which I am sure you will agree, is very reasonable for branded wear.
NM: What is your take on the recent FDI updates that have made waves in the country?
SB: I am neutral about the opening up of the FDI in the retail sector, as I actually do not foresee any International competition in the category in which we operate in.