Centex Exports has been quietly building up its reputation in the luxury market for almost 4 decades now, in tete-a-tete with Mr. Vineet Sood, Managing Director, Centex Exports, we come to understand how exactly the brand has developed over the years.
Aadeetya Sriram (AS): What is Centex Exports all about?
Vineet Sood (VS): Centex Export is a 100% EOU, established in the year 1969. We specialize in luxury high-end scarves. Our biggest strength is that under one roof, we can produce high-quality cashmere, wool, silk, super-fined cottons, blend, handle multiple yarns, natural fibers, and we blend the design element into these fibers, we have the capacity to use variants of fibers, and the blend in design is the philosophy at Centex.
AS: Which products are you dealing in? Do you manufacture them as well?
VS: We manufacture luxury scarves; as a matter of fact we are a vertical unit. We outsource nothing, everything is being done in house, that is one of primary reasons the high end luxury brands have shortlisted Centex as huge brand, and potentially viable to partner with them to carry. Brands require units, and seasonal requirements with different materials cannot be met by everyone and that too at the kind of level we attain, such capacity of manufacturing requires one to have high degree of bandwidth in terms of designing, the infrastructure to handle heavy production. The knowledge and expertise to finish luxury products is a very big challenge. The sort of investment when has to undertake in order to comply with standards of these brands is very high. Our scarves retail for 200-300 sterling pounds, each piece, which is one of the most expensive products available in our country.
AS: When you talk about luxury scarves being manufactured by Centex Exports, is it the core priority of your brand?
VS: We have been in this business for around 4 decades, which is a very long time. Our major focus is luxury, however having said that, we also cater to a notch below the high-end segment. U.S is one of our largest market, Europe fares on the same level, the brands which we handle in these markets comprise of; Laura Ashley, which is a medium, John Lewis, which is also a medium, Hugo Boss is a notch higher, and then Giorgio Armani, Burberry, Mulberry etc. These are the top players which form the core of luxury. Our infrastructure set-up, bandwidth in terms of volume enable us to cater to the regular as well.
AS: Where do you have your manufacturing units in the country?
VS: We have 5 manufacturing units in Ludhiana, and these are located within the radius of 1km, we have an ambitious project lined up, wherein we will be setting up under one-roof complete 50 acre factory, which will be the best in the world, for our category of luxury products. We produce 10,000 units per day, packed and shipped. We also deal in home furnishing but that exists on a limited scale, which is extreme high-end luxury, cashmere, silk etc. This is not a commodity business, if it was a cotton mill business; you need your connectivity to be as near as possible. Every design and piece needs to be inspected; colours need to be synchronised etc.
AS: Manufacturing such products requires one to acquire set skills, are you providing any sort of training?
VS: Definitely, learning is a continuous process that never ends at Centex, so we have regular training period for staff, to upgrade them, they also travel with us to overseas, to various textile trade fairs, seminars, where technicalities of manufacturing are discussed, and our capability of handling multiple high-end brand under one roof, is a unique identity of Centex.
AS: Do you have your designer outsourced?
VS: We are operating 100% through in-house. We have our own design studio in U.K, and we have a special team of English designers, we also have our sales operations over there.
AS: Which are the brands that Centex Exports handles?
VS: We handle Hugo Boss, Burberry; we are one of the first outside Europe Union to be approved for manufacturing for them as long term partners.
AS: How do your view the current export scenario in India? What are the challenges ahead of us?
VS: Indian exports are certainly growing, but the biggest challenge has been the dreaded recession that has hit the global market. Due to recession, nowadays the manufacturers have to mettle the rise in input costs, virtually in the last year or so, the prices of cotton have rocketed sky-high, and with such high rising costs, the manufacturers were being compelled to reduce the prices of the commodities, although there is a lot of demand, but the rising costs have crippled the manufacturers to a large extent.
AS: Do you have your exclusive stores in the country?
VS: Presently we do not have our stores, but down the line, we will eventually be launching our brand. We have a long term target to establish our brand overseas.
AS: Do you have R&D set-up is place?
VS: We do have R&D process; our customers have recognised Centex, as the best in product development in the world. R&D and product development go hand-in-hand. Unless you conclude with your research and development process, product development does not begin; it’s a stage 2 process. R&D is a continuous process for us. This has enabled us to execute the most difficult design patterns ever produced.
AS: How has Centex Exports fared financially?
VS: The last year we clocked at Rs.80cr, and with our new plant coming in, our 3-year target is very optimistic, and we aim to reach the figure of Rs.200cr within the next 4 years. We will be investing Rs.100cr for the new plant, for building and infrastructure.