We are looking at opening 14-15 exclusive stores this year: Manish Mandhana

In an exclusive conversation with Manish Mandhana, CEO, The Mandhana Retail Ventures Ltd, global licensee of Being Human Clothing sheds light on the growth strategy of the brand.
“We are looking at opening 14-15 exclusive stores this year”: Manish Mandhana

What is your take on current fashion and lifestyle market in India?? How do you see this market growing in the next five years?

The Indian retail industry has emerged as one of the most dynamic and fast-paced industries due to the entry of several new players. India is the world’s fifth-largest global destination in the retail space. It has witnessed increasing participation from foreign and private players which have given boost to retail infrastructure and the rapid urbanization with increasing purchasing power has led to growing demand. With increasing brand awareness amongst the Indian youth and the purchasing power of the upper class in tier II and III cities, Indian consumer spending are expected to grow four times. Also, there is great support from the government’s policies and to provide a level-playing field to stakeholders, the government is planning to synchronize policies of retail, FMCG and e-commerce within a single policy framework.

Kindly highlight your current distribution in the online and offline space. What are the strategies to scale-up the distribution?

Online retail business is the next generation format which has high potential for growth in the near future. After conquering physical stores worldwide, wewill soon foray into the domain of e-retailing. Currently the brand has over600 point-of-sales worldwide and is available in over 15 countries across Europe, Fiji, Mauritius,Middle East, Nepal and India. Since the inception we are retailing via our online partners such as Flipkart.com, GoFynd.com, Koovs.com,Myntra.com amongst others. We are looking at every avenue to not just grow the brand domestically but also internationally.

According to you, what are the major challenges of fashion retailing in India?

Some key challenges faced by retailers in general, and fashion retailers in particular, are the heterogeneity of the market, evolving customer needs, rising real estate rentals, a complex tax regime, and infrastructural bottlenecks. These challenges have been addressed through innovative thinking by some retailers, but many of these issues need to be addressed by collective bargaining and mutual collaboration at industry level. In a world rapidly adapting to Information Technology and digital devices consumers are now buying more things online than in stores.Increase in the number of low footfalls, customer engagement and retaining loyalty which is an intense concern.That’s a wakeup call for retailers, especially traditional department chains. To keep customers on shop floors for a longer time and increase conversions, retailers are now pitching to partner with manufacturers, service providers, financial companies, etc. to create a buzz around certain product categories.

Kindly shed light on your pricing strategy. Also what is your strategy to compete with steep discounting offered on marketplaces?

Being Human is a fast fashion casual wear brand and it’s pricing strategy is designed to be at par with its competitors and also friendly for its consumers. Be it online or offline, we firmly believe in uniform pricing and hence have controlled direct discounting offered on marketplaces. One will always see the same pricing and offers running across all Being Human’s point-of-sale.

Off late, Indian market has become flooded with fast fashion brands Such as ZARA, FOREVER21, H&M and many more. What is your strategy to counter the competition coming from these brands?

Entry of foreign players in the market and e-retailers has intensified competition along with andcustomers’ low switching cost. It is important that the brands reinvent themselves continuously to stay relevant to their target group. Players need to establish strong distribution channels and achieve economies of scale to compete.Our aim is to make Being Human brand available to every consumer across the length and breadth of the country. Hence, you’ll find the brand not only in metros but also in cities such as Bhilwara, Ambala, Bhopal, Coimbatore amongst others. Tier-II and -III towns are showing strong momentum with an improved demand appetite and one should not be surprised to learn that today luxury cars sell more in small cities than in the metros.Everyone wants to do good. Being Human enables you to do good by the simple act of slipping on a t-shirt or a pair of jeans. All lifestyle products are about making you look good, Being Human also helps you do good. This has helped the brand to distinct itself from its competition.

Kindly shed light on your best performing categories. Also what would you expand the existing and adding new categories?

Being Human Clothing’s best performing categories have been T-shirts, Denims and Shirts.New product development has been at the core of the brand and new styles and categories are constantly being added. Last year, we introduced with Maxi Dresses in women’s wear and in Selvedged Denims and Drop Crotch Joggers in men’s wear. This year, we have introduced knitted shirts, vests and scarves.

Kindly shed light on your store profiles. Going forward, what would be the ideal locations for the brand to extend further mall or highstreets?

The brand has over 600 point-of-sales worldwide and is available in over 15 countries across Europe, Fiji, Mauritius, Middle East, Nepal and India.The brand has achieved such fast-paced growth in just 5 years due to its diligent business development strategies. Choosing an ideal location depends upon the catchment areas in different cities. In certain Tier 2 and 3 cities the catchment areas are around highstreets whilst in other upcoming cities are metros the mall culture has evolved as they serve as one-stop destinations for customers. Brands benefit from competition and other forms of entertainment offered by the mall.

At last, kindly highlight your growth plans.

We are looking at opening 14-15 exclusive stores this year and also planning to increase global footprints.


Manish Mandhana