Puneet Nanda, MD of Genesis Colors Pvt Ltd and the man behind India’s premium brand Satya Paul is also a connoisseur of art and music. Here he talks about fashion and the retail industry.
Varun Jain (VJ): What channels do you retail your products from?
Puneet Nanda (PN): We have 35 exclusive stores across the country with a presence of around 250 dealers’ network. Internationally we have around 75 retail stores present along with other international distributors in place as well. We are also present in duty free shops, hotels and other large format multi brand stores. (Primarily avail in NRI markets US, UK, Australia etc).
VJ: What traits have to be ingrained in a designer's store so that it stands apart? What are the areas you generally focus on? An example.
PN: Based on the product line, there is inherent care taken to train the staff about the product. A designer’s store should be the reflection of the designer and given the designs we make, our stores would reflect the richness of the Indian Culture. Having said that, we also try to keep the designing of the store fresh and you will find that all our stores although designed on the same line will have a touch of difference and freshness, so that it doesn’t become boring.
Given my deep interest in every aspect of the product, I have personally taken interest in creating a wonderful store experience in each of our stores. There is a creative input to make them feel charming and not generic as most brand stores tend to become...
VJ: What are the further expansion plans of Satya Paul?
PN: Our main objective at this point of time is to mainly to consolidate the market space that we are in. We can expand across different verticals like more accessory stores. We can even open a store if we come across an important location. But currently expansion is not the area where we are focusing. We still see a lot of potential in our already functioning stores and we would like to concentrate on that.
VJ: How do you think the fashion weeks create an opportunity for the retailers?
PN: If we look at the currently concluded Delhi Couture Week or say the different Fashion weeks we have, I’ll say, they are generally a waste of time from the retailers point of view. The main reason for the same is that neither the designers are making products that could appeal to the larger retail community, nor the retailers understand the business of 'selling Design' rather than a commodity based sale of clothing. It is kind of a two way catch. When ideally, during these Fashion weeks we should have 1000s of retailers ready to buy the stuff, we are actually having half a dozen of same retailers who are interested in the same. Everyone is playing safe. We can say that designer industry is bit stagnated in this respect.
VJ: What are the current trends in fashion industry that you see with respect to retail?
PN: There are lots of designers who do not have their exclusive stores. The few who do are not enough to warrant trends. The industry is nascent at best.
VJ: How do you think the corporate world and the fashion designers can work in synergy to give a boost to the retail industry?
PN: I don’t think that this is going to happen because if this would have been a possibility, then this would have been already in place. The main reason why I say this is because of the reason mentioned above that the designers do not make the products that retailers or the corporate world see to invest in and consistently The kind of design the designers make, makes it difficult for the retailers to buy it in bulk. So, there is a huge gap.
VJ: What is your take on the fashion and personality licensing?
PN: The problem with licensing is that it becomes very important for the licensor to understand the product. If they do not understand the ideology of the brand , then it is like your name being downgraded. The brand image that you have built can be lost. Having said that, we are open to the concept of licensing only in the category that we are not servicing or catering to.
VJ: What marketing strategy do Satya Paul employ?
PN: We rely a lot on our customers. It is more like a positive word of mouth that is the best. We constantly are a part of some or the other events to remind our customers that we are there. We do a little bit of various mediums, advertising, web, events, shows, in-store, point of purchase etc. We are presently in the key markets, and location wise we have strategically placed stores.