KALKI Fashion, a brand with a 15-year legacy, embarked on its journey with a distinctive promise - to deliver high-quality, high-fashion products at an attractive price point. In its early years, the brand identified a significant gap in the market: between mass-produced, inferior-quality brands and ultra-premium, hard-to-access designer labels. KALKI positioned itself to bridge this divide by offering designer-quality products that were not only on-trend but also affordable.
“The initial phase (2007-2013) involved navigating the intricacies of the industry, understanding operations, and establishing a solid foundation. In 2013, a pivotal rebranding took place, transforming us into a dynamic and contemporary brand, becoming the voice of the youth. Recognizing that traditional communication approaches in ethnic wear didn't resonate with the modern, globally exposed youth, we aimed to infuse a young and urban vibe into our brand identity,” said Nishit Gupta, Director and Co-Founder at KALKI Fashion.
Strategic moves in the digital realm, particularly on Instagram, set KALKI apart as one of the first brands to actively engage with the platform in 2013. This not only cultivated a connection with the youth but also attracted attention from stylists for celebrities and major events, affirming the brand's growing popularity. A significant milestone came in 2017 with KALKI's inaugural fashion show, where they showcased their designs, featuring Kriti Sanon as the showstopper. This event marked a turning point, further narrowing the gap between KALKI's positioning and high-end designer labels.
“The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 unexpectedly worked in our favor as our online business flourished, showcasing the trust and love customers had for us. Despite the challenges, we successfully conducted video consultations, revealing the extent of brand awareness and loyalty. Post-pandemic, the opening of a store in Delhi in 2022 demonstrated our confidence and ambition to dominate both the Mumbai and Delhi markets. This move proved fruitful, with Delhi emerging as the highest-performing store,” he added.
KALKI's diverse offerings are categorized into three main segments: festive wear, attire for wedding attendees, and wedding ensembles for the bride and groom. This three-fold approach enables the brand to cater to a wide spectrum of occasions and celebrations.
Within the festive wear segment, KALKI meticulously curates collections tailored to various festivals, ensuring that each event is marked by a distinct and appropriate ensemble. Whether it's Eid, Diwali, or a festive card party, the brand offers a range of choices, reflecting the cultural richness and diversity of celebrations.
In the wedding segment, KALKI's offerings span the entire spectrum of wedding-related events. From destination weddings and airport looks to pool parties, Mehendi, Haldi ceremonies, and traditional wedding functions, the brand caters to every facet of the matrimonial journey.
Expanding its product mix, KALKI introduced menswear two years ago and ventured into kidswear just last year. “Accessories hold a significant place within our product lineup, and we are actively working towards elevating their role to become a more integral and central aspect of our offerings. We intend to emphasize and establish accessories as a core element of our brand identity,” asserted Gupta.
KALKI has strategically positioned itself in over 20 multi-designer stores, both within and outside India, showcasing its curated selection among 10 to 15 designer labels. In addition to these partnerships, the physical retail footprint of KALKI extends to 5 flagship stores in key cities - Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, and Surat. With plans to open a new store in Hyderabad in the coming month, the brand is set further to solidify its presence in both metropolitan and emerging markets.
“Looking ahead, we envision expanding our retail network with the launch of 4 additional stores in 2024. The potential cities under consideration include Lucknow, Chennai, Jaipur, Ludhiana, and Indore,” highlighted Gupta.
Presently, offline sales constitute approximately 65 percent of KALKI's overall revenue, while online sales account for the remaining 35 percent.
The brand's digital journey, initiated in 2012, witnessed a transformative evolution in response to shifting market dynamics, particularly in India. Initially targeting the NRI market, the brand focused on a D2C strategy, tapping into the online space when the Indian market showed a limited appetite for high-ticket purchases. However, the tide turned during the COVID era, as Indians increasingly made substantial non-electronic purchases online, signaling a shift in consumer confidence.
Apart from its D2C website, the brand is present on prominent platforms like Myntra and Nykaa, with the latter two going live just this year.
In the pursuit of global expansion, KALKI has taken significant strides, exemplified by its world tour conducted last year. This extensive tour comprised private shows held across 18 cities in the United States, spanning an impressive 40-day duration. The success of these private pop-ups, strategically organized by a dedicated team, has fueled the brand's ambition to conduct additional world tours in the coming year. These upcoming tours are designed not only to showcase KALKI's offerings but also to gain invaluable insights into the preferences and needs of the international customer base. By delving deeper into customer behaviors, understanding their purchasing patterns, and identifying cultural nuances, KALKI aims to tailor its business model to align seamlessly with the expectations of customers abroad.
“Looking ahead to 2025, we envision a significant milestone - the establishment of our stores in the US,” he stated.
Over the past three years, the brand’s Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) has exceeded 50 percent. “In the current fiscal year, we project a closing figure of Rs 230 crore, factoring in the addition of three new stores in the second half. Looking forward, our ambitious target for the next fiscal year is set between Rs 330-340 crore, demonstrating our commitment to sustained growth,” noted Gupta.
As a part of its ongoing expansion plan, KALKI aims to open three to four new stores annually. “This deliberate expansion is part of our commitment to reach diverse demographics and cater to the evolving preferences of our customers,” he said.
“Additionally, a noteworthy area of emphasis is the menswear market, where we perceive a significant gap. We are keen on further exploring and expanding our presence in this segment,” he concluded.
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