We plan to reach out to the top 50 cities and increase our store set up to 200: Paras Mahajan

In conversation with Paras Mahajan, CEO, Red Riding Scarves, who talks about his brand and future expansion.
Paras Mahajan, CEO, Red Riding Scarves

Red Riding Scarves started their journey in April, 2016 and completed their anniversary this year. This young brand symbolizes style, elegance and craftsmanship all at once. Their essential quality is to offer customers quality fabric of a varied range and a fashion that is affordable. Talking to the CEO of the brand, Paras Mahajan, revealed some insights into this maiden brand.

What motivated you to venture into a brand dealing with scarves and stoles? What makes your brand exclusive?
Stoles and scarves, as a part of the fashion industry is an unorganized sector mostly. In a 10,000 crore Indian market, it comprises 95% share marking a yearly turnover of 1000 crore, so we thought, why not stoles! We saw that demand for stoles and scarves were high in semi-urban, tier 1 and tier 2 cities where girls were being influenced by fashion trends of Bollywood, but they were not getting enough options in terms of materials. In that sense we provide ample options to our customers and this motivated us to start our brand on 28th April, 2016 with our first store in Kolkata.

The exclusiveness of our brand is we work with around 15 to 20 types of fabrics, while all over India, there is only three to four options available. We offer more than 2,000 designs varying between cotton, silk, chiffon, georgette etc while average female customers do not get more than 20 to 25 designs in any store. Our products are meant for various purposes like casual, formal, party wear etc.

What is the size of fashion accessory retail market in India? What is its growth rate? Discuss a few factors driving the growth.
Stoles and scarves were not even considered upon as an essential part of the fashion segment until seven years ago and now, it covers around 1,000 crore. Big retail chains like Pantaloons or brands like Zara, Forever21 etc did not even have a separate section for scarves and now they are venturing into the same domain and every store has a separate scarves’ section.

Customers in your country, especially female customers who fall into a wide age range of 16 years to 40years, are more and more conscious about fashion and trends, thanks to social media. Now they are not refraining from spending more for apparels as long as they satisfy their tastes and preferences. In the same way, Red Riding Scarves has grown in terms of the wide range of options, variety and designing it offers.

What is your market share? What are your yearly growth rates?
It has been a year and three months since we came into the scenario and in a 1,000 crore industry we cover only a 0.5% share. As meager as it might be now, I am very happy with our growth and in the last year.

What was your turnover in the last fiscal and what do you expect this year?
In the last fiscal, we achieved a 50 crore turnover and we plan on touching 100 crore by 2018. You could say, we are working on the goal ‘100 crore 100 store’ to be met by March 2018. Currently we have 50 stores and our latest 51st store will be functional within two to three days in Siliguri, West Bengal.

What kind of funding have you had till now and what are your plans for the same?
Our team, when we started was really a bunch of people paying for something we believe in out of our pockets. But as it turned out positively for us, things have been upscale. In terms of expanding through franchising, we have considered the option and we might come up with something in three to four months.

What is the average consumer bill value? How do you plan to expand your business?
Our average customer bill value ranges between Rs 500 to Rs 600. One of the attractive factors of our brand is we offer a very economical range with a base price at Rs 99 and going up to Rs 999. Such a vast range ensures that we cater to customers of every type and who has the option to choose according to their budget. Consciousness about trending fashion and style is the talk of the town but, an essential factor of the Indian market is a price range that suits the customers. They want fashion that does not fall heavy on the pocket. Our target group consists of 80% youth consumers, so being budget friendly is our primary goal.

How are your offline market and businesses coming off? Tell us about your online contribution in sales.
In offline marketing we follow two patterns, one is the store module the other is the distribution model. As I said earlier, we have more than 50 stores and our distribution moderl has more than 200 network spreaded over 26 states and our stores are located in 17 states. Opening and maintaining stores in cities,   comes with its own expenses but we have it all covered. Although we have a vast presence in the offline market collaborating with all big offline retailers and e-commerce platform, amazingly, our offline sales are more than online, which is hardly about 20%.

Tell our readers about the brand’s future plans.
Across India, we plan to reach out to the top 50 cities and increase our store set up to 200. Currently, we are trying to expand our designer range up to 2,500 by next month. I can also say that, this winter, Red Riding Scarves will bring in a surprise for its customers and offer something on the international level which is not yet popular in the Indian market.

Paras Mahajan