A 40-cr investment for 20 One Friday Stores: Neel Sawhney
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A 40-cr investment for 20 One Friday Stores: Neel Sawhney

Hailing from a family with a history of business ownership in garment manufacturing for 38 years, Neel went to London’s American Intercontinental University to pursue his BBA. But after getting bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, he gave up his studies in the middle to take the legacy ahead along with his brother – Meet Sawhney. He opened his own garment factory, which, with employee strength of nearly 1200 people, was supplying to global retail leaders.

After learning the nuances of garment manufacturing as a factory owner, he eventually shifted to retailing in 2012. It was during this period that Neel noticed an existing gap in India’s kidswear fashion, especially for kids in the 4-12 years demographic; the segment was lacking fashion standards that could appeal to these young adults, who are imaginative, innocent, and adventurous.

One Friday is also venturing into babywear, due to popular demand. He felt the need for a brand that could bridge the widening quality-fashion supply gap in the apparel segment. Thus, with the help of a few consultants from Hong Kong and backed by his own experience in the garment manufacturing, he – along with Meet Sawhney – came up with the kidswear brand One Friday.

With the joint efforts of his designing team, manufacturers and other employees, Neel is now passionate about creating a new value to his brand on the international platform in terms of designing. Aiming to create a greater impact, he envisions emerging as a potential competitor to the major brands already existing in those markets. Retailer media talks to Neel Sawhney, One Friday about the brand’s USP, challenges in his line of business and future plans.

What’s the USP of brand One Friday?
One Friday passes the European quality standards as a child-friendly brand that takes pride in being Azo-free. All fabrics are mill-made and are tested in in-house laboratories for physical properties like shrinkage, garment, appearance and tensile strength. The brand’s creative in-house collections of designers based in Europe are in-sync with the global fashion trends and use their expertise to design each garment in a unique way. The garments and accessories thus fall in line with international style aesthetics and the designers integrate them with global trends, thus placing Indian kids at par with their global peers on the fashion and style quotient.

Who is your target consumer?
Targeting an urban, aspirational and experimental customer base, our brand celebrates the spirit of childhood by bringing in a perfect balance of style through complete wardrobe choices for girls as well as boys aged between 1-12, ranging from casual wear to occasion wear and also accessories. We are also venturing into babywear, due to popular demand.

What is your current distribution in brick and mortar space?
Currently, we have established 3 EBO’s in Delhi/NCR and have opened our fourth store in Kanpur. We are planning aggressively to expand across the country especially in Tier-1 and -2 cities like Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Kanpur, Varanasi and Indrapuram. The company has envisioned opening 20 new stores by the end of this year.

What is your team size? What is your office culture like?
Launched in November 2015, we had a core team of just 5 people. Within mere six months, the brand has boosted its team strength to 100 employees brought together with the steadfast motto to celebrate the spirit of childhood. It has beefed up recruitment mainly in the areas of sales, manufacturing and backend that includes HRM, Accounts, and Designing. The brand is aiming to employ 200 more people this year in its factory.

What has been your biggest challenge so far in scaling-up? How are you addressing it?
Big global retailers have such a huge presence in the market, in advertising campaigns and multiplying stores popping up everywhere. We hope that customers who come to us, appreciate the added special value, and the exclusiveness and boutique shopping experience which we provide.

How do you see growth scenario is this business? What are your future scale-up plans?
One Friday now aims to expand across the country in the next two years and bridge the widening quality-fashion supply gap in the apparel segment in the long term. With a firm finger on the pulse of what Indian kids and parents seek in a kids-wear brand of global tastes, One Friday is steadily geared to emerge as the most sought-after brand in India that celebrates the spirit of childhood. The company has envisioned opening 20 new stores by the end of this year for which we are ready to make 40 crore investment.

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