Madame, a retail fashion brand for women launched in 1993, caters to a wide range of apparel, handbags, footwear & accessories for women. In the early ’90s, the Indian market for women's western clothing was dominated by imports from China and Thailand, which inspired the company to launch Madame to create a world-class brand of fashionable western wear for Indian women. Today, Madame has 150+ exclusive stores spread across India and is available in 500+ Multi-Brand Outlets (MBOs) and Large Format Stores.
In 2018, Madame launched Glamly.com, its online eCommerce platform catering to the group’s full range of products, Madame, Camla, and M-Secret, and since then, especially after the lockdown Glamly sales have been showing extremely robust growth.
In an exclusive interview with IndianRetailer.com, Akhil Jain, Executive Director, Madame, talks about the present scenario of the fashion and retail sector in India. He further elaborates on the brand’s expansion strategy, business model, and future plans.
• Can you give a brief overview of the current state of the fashion and retail sector in India?
The Indian fashion sector is at about $67 bn and expected to grow at 10% by 2025. It is dominated by the western wear segment which contributes to about 67%. Of this, women’s western wear is currently at 17% share, expected to grow to 19% by 2025. India’s domestic consumption is at 59%, and she is young, with the median age being just 26 years. Increasing middle-class, growing urbanization, discretionary spending ability, and extreme brand consciousness are driving the fashion segment. We at Madame believe that the age group 15 to 29 will drive our growth.
Further, there has been a growing trend of casualization of fashion with casualwear contributing to 77% of western wear. Affordable fashion is an emerging trend for women, men, teenagers, and children and brands are now conceiving ideas to showcase lifestyle brands at a better value. Since fast fashion is constantly changing, new strategies in the manufacturing, retailing, and distribution sectors are constantly being devised to cater to the emerging westernized style of clothing.
Digitalization will drive the next wave of growth for the fashion industry. Apart from eCommerce becoming a strong vehicle of sale, we will see AI being used increasingly to support the offline-to-online movement.
• How consumer behavior has evolved as far as fashion consumption is concerned?
With changing consumer information, preferences too go through a change. Fashion-conscious people aspire to be global citizens and are also in-trend with global fashion. Some of the women’s wear which is always in demand are winter wear, jackets, sweaters, long coat, sweatshirts, denim, dresses, night suit, cardigans, tops, and tracksuits.
People are willing to spend approximately Rs 2000-4500 on average for well-designed jackets, sweaters, long coats, tops, dresses, night suits, tracksuits, and cardigans. People prefer Madame because of its international style brand with bold fashion statements with experimental fabrics.
• What kind of role do emerging technologies play in transforming this industry?
The technological advancement that the world has experienced over the last three decades has brought the world on a single platform, offering innumerable opportunities to transact. The world has come closer with faster travel and digitalization. Such changes have given brands like Madame a chance to expose all our inventories to all the target markets at the same time.
Digitalization allows companies to adjust products based upon demand using real-time sales information, allowing them to accelerate the production of best-sellers and cutting losses on the laggards. The opportunities surrounding digitalization have made it possible for supply chains to access, store and process a large amount of data both from within a firm and externally. For example, manufacturing firms are now able to obtain individualized customer data to personalize the sales process, product design, and service.
• Tell us about your current distribution in the online as well as offline space. Going forward, what are the plans to scale-up the distribution?
Earlier last year, we strengthened our online presence through the launch of an exclusive online shopping website Glamly.com. We have now revamped and modified our website to incorporate diversified products and provide a personalized customer experience. In India, we have more than 700 points of sales. Our distribution mechanics have started focusing on market penetration. Ever since the pandemic, the e-commerce industry has witnessed a boom and thus on some of the platforms like Glamly, Myntra, Amazon and Ajio, have given us massive sales.
We keep devising new strategies in the manufacturing, retailing, and distribution sectors to cater to the emerging westernized style of clothing. Some of these markets were earlier dominated by Chinese and Thai imports, however now this landscape has undergone tremendous changes in the past decade. We have our distribution channels all across India and some of the neighboring countries as well.
• Considering you sell on multiple platforms, retail stores, and e-commerce portal, how do you ensure efficiency in the process?
In the past few months, Madame has been able to culminate various experiences and aspects of selling from our offline on to online platforms. The virtual look and feel of the products have been magnified for the customers through in-depth experiences. Our teams ensure smooth supplies and high warehouse management efficiency. We are also successfully providing an end-to-end customer experience through exceptional data management and analysis.
We plan to invest further in technology which is going to become a vital tool for bettering customer experiences. With these investments, we aim to boost the online shopping experience.
• At last, kindly highlight your growth plans?
We are targeting aggressive growth in the coming years. We had a vision that when the market is subdued, we must spend more on marketing, new designs, and new launches. This has proven to be a success and we were able to overcome the business pressures of Covid without much trouble.
Fashion is all about change, and change in clothes brings about some impact on the environment. However, Madame has always maintained its commitment towards nature and sustainability and we create innovative designs that minimize textile waste in the manufacturing process. Our designs are very precise and created with environmental responsibility in mind. We often experiment with recycled materials and try reusing unusual materials that speak about the local culture.
We feel "Sustainable fashion" is a philosophy and the trend is now moving towards environmentally-friendly fashion. We are committed to providing environment-friendly fashion and spreading awareness by constantly looking for ways to redefine fashion by creating sustainable and ethical products. Our long-term sustainability goal is to move towards becoming a 100% eco-friendly organization.
We also plan to reduce the carbon footprint by at least 80% and then become a carbon-negative company by 2030.