We want to take Khadi to a premium level: Usha Suresh
We want to take Khadi to a premium level: Usha Suresh

Partnering with Raymond, Khadi & Village Industries Commission (KVIC) is all set to take Khadi to the next level, while positioning it in the premium space. Also, by end 2017, the commission is planning to widespread its retail footprint by launching Khadi lounges, Khadi plazas and expanding its number of exclusive outlets to across districts marketplaces to airports through franchising. Thus, while revealing that the commission is targeting to have Rs 5000 cr of revenue by 2018, Usha Suresh, CEO, KVIC spoke to Indianretailer.com on the occasion of signing a MoU with Raymond.  

Post forging a tie-up with Raymond, what are your plans with Khadi?
From just being a fabric of masses, we want to take Khadi to a premium level to grab high end customers as well. Similarly, we are targeting youth and transforming khadi into a youth centric fabric. For youngsters, we are also launching denims and for which we will look forward to tie-up with more brands.

Will you place Khadi By Raymond in all your stores?
In reality it is not possible to keep Khadi By Raymond collection in all our outlets, but we will place the same in some of our premium outlets like Khadi lounge which will exclusively showcase Khadi By Raymond products.
We have taken the initiative of Khadi mark, so that without getting certificate from us, no brand can use it.

How is KVIC leveraging on the presence of Raymond Stores?
In the coming days we will see how can we get leverage out of Raymond. We are hoping that Raymond will give the kind of premium niche segment, for which we have no access so far.

Please tell us about your upcoming Khadi Lounge?
Soon we are planning to launch Khadi lounge in Dehli, Mumbai, Jaipur, Bhopal among other leading cities in the coming 2-3 months. The lounge will showcase the premium products like Pashmina shawls and other products of Khadi and designer garments to cater the premium needs of the consumer.

What is your current retail presence and expansion plans?
Currently, we have around 26 exclusive Khadi outlets and the presence across 7050 MBOs, which includes institutional Khadi outlets.
Thus, to widen our retail presence, with increasing the man hours of employment and easy accessibility of Khadi to the consumers, we are planning to have two franchise outlets in each district of the country along with setting up four outlets in the capital of every state. As many franchisees we will get from metros, we will go for it. In line with lounges, we will also have 6 Khadi Plazas which will house all kinds of products in few towns. The plazas will be in the prominent cities of North, South, East, West and North-East and Central zones of the country.
Also, we will have our exclusive outlets at every major airport in the country by mid 2017. Recently we launched one at Vishakhapatnam airport.

What are your e-Commerce expansion plans?
Soon we are planning to launch our own e-commerce portal to sell Khadi products along with tie-up with Paytm, so that we will be able to reach more and more people.

Apart from the domestic market, are international brands also showing interests for Khadi?
We have not yet received any offer from international brands.  

What kind of budgetary support you are expecting from the govt and ADB?
We are expecting the budgetary support from the govt to buy new model l8 spindle charkhas. According to our survey, presently there are 9 lakh charkhas of which 6 lakhs are old single spindle charkhas with low productivity.
Also, we have applied for restructured loan of $1.05mn with ADB (Asian Development Bank) to provide charkhas and looms to Khadi institutions. Under the Khadi Reform and Development Programme, ADB is extending this loan. The money will be used for Khadi interventions where there will be soft and hard interventions. The hard intervention will mean the replacement of charkhas and looms. And, the soft intervention will involve training to the spinners and weavers and providing them with IT and managerial support.

What is your target of revenue by 2018?
Our current revenue is Rs 1500 cr and we are targeting to achieve about Rs 5000cr by 2018. This will be a five year agreement with Raymond, so hopefully we expect at least 10 percent increase in demand and growth. And the employment to be generated is likely to be multifold to 2 lakh man hours every year.

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