Apparel retail May, 06 2010

Design your franchise future the ethnic way

Though Indian women has very well accepted and adopted the western wear brands but it has in no way led to the fading of her love for Indian traditional wear. Ethnic wear brands are successfully expanding themselves via franchise route. Read on to know mo

By Abha Garyali
Sub Editor
Design your franchise future the ethnic way

India is witnessing a remarkable growth of organised ethnic wear brands. India’s fashion heritage is known for its rich tradition. No doubt, Indians have acknowledged western wear and made it a part of their daily wear, but still Indians especially women prefer to adorn rich conventional wears for special occasions like weddings and festivals. This cherished love of Indians for rich cultural dressing has encouraged the brands in the sector to grow and inspired lot of unorganised players to join the bandwagon of franchise brands. Franchising has successfully paved the way for the successful expansion of these brands.

Franchising is the best way to make the ethnic wear more popular and accessible to the remotest corner of the nation. Saurabh Agarwal, MD, Ashika Fashionwear informed, “We began franchising a couple of years back. This concept is a hit amongst both the brands and investors and is a win-win situation for the stakeholders. The brands get a good foothold in terms of expansion in number of stores, and the investors can nurture their entrepreneurial dreams with investing in a good brand and getting the risk also shared to an extent.”

Moreover, the franchise industry has also benefited from the desire of women to look beautiful in the traditional attires. Appreciating the franchise model Jagdeep Chhbara, MD, Chhabra 555 informs,Chhabra 555 deals in women clothing segment, especially in sarees, lehenga-choli, suit dupatta, and bridal apparel. We started the dealership model in 2005 to expand our business network. By adopting the dealership model, we come in direct contact with our customers. Through this, we understood the needs and demands of our customers and then accordingly, we have introduced new designs and colour combinations in our product lines.”

Franchising of ethnic ladies wear

This term ‘ethnic wear’ includes the variety of traditional Indian women wear like saris, salwar-kameez, lehenga-choli etc. With the new entrants in the franchise apparel industry, the scope of creativity has grown with more and more unique designs coming up. Chabbra further talks on the changing trends in fashion saying, “Fashion is changing rapidly with time. The range in terms of variety, colour combination, and cost has increased a lot. Now, customer awareness has increased to manifold and their choices are changing with the changing trends.”

Factors leading to women wear franchising

The tremendous growth in the organised Indian ethnic wear can be attributed to many factors. Read on to know a few of them:

Increase in disposable income: The progressive middle class with the increase in disposable income can be considered a major factor for this growth. Middle-class women, who in the past were not so fashion conscious due to shortage of finances, now have the money to buy the latest variety of clothes and add to their wardrobes.

Popularity of designer wear: With fashion designers like Ritu Beri, Ritu Kumar, Rohit Bal, Rina Dhaka, Satya Paul, Tarun Tahiliani, JJ Valaya, and Manish Malhotra, the Indian wear has become multi-faceted to suit each and every woman. With these fashion designers, the traditional wear has been given a new status in fashion.

Increase of working women: The increase of working women has also fuelled the growth of organised Indian wear market. Working women need more fashionable and trendy Indian wear for their daily office wear and this is provided only by the branded Indian apparels only.

Brand consciousness: Indian consumers have become more brand conscious. They prefer buying apparels from branded shops. Moreover, now designer wears have become more affordable to the middle classes as well.

Grand weddings and festivals: Within the last few years, Indian weddings have become an occasion of great pomp and show. The bride usually finds it hard to shop for the wedding trousseau, which mostly includes traditional wear. Moreover, as Indian celebrates many festivals like Diwali, Eid, Dusshera etc, consumers flock in large numbers to the branded apparel stores to buy traditional wear.

Fashion as a career: With fashion designing gaining prominence as a lucrative career option, fashion instates like International Institute of Fashion Designing (INIFD) has come to the fore. This further allows people to be more aware of the benefits of buying from a branded apparel outlet.

Influence of international players: The success of international brands like Levi’s, Pepe Jeans London, and United Colors of Benetton etc through franchising, have also influenced the Indian ethnic apparel brands to expand their presence via franchising. Such Indian wear brands are aiming to gain more prominence in the world market through franchising.

Key players in Indian ethnic wear

Indian ethnic wear players who have ventured into franchising have gained lot of success in this field. The major players are Chhabra 555, Ashika Fashionwear, Anshu's Designer Studio, Kathak Fashion Mills etc. These players have been expanding their franchise network successfully. As said by Agarwal on the criteria regarding the selection of franchisees, “All potential franchisees should possess sound business acumen and have a hunger for generating sale at all times. We firmly believe in doing good business through hard work and sound planning.” Chhabra also informs, “We look at entrepreneurs, who can invest around Rs 40 lakh in the business and must be able to devote ample amount of time to the business to get succeeded in it. Besides this, the prospective dealers must own a store in a good location preferably high street area.”

Looking at the success of these brands it can be said that aspiring entrepreneurs have great scope in ethnic women wear. If you also have an interest in apparel, talent for fashion and zeal to succeed, franchising an apparel wear brand will undoubtedly offer profitable returns.

Related: More than 70 per cent of our stores are franchisee run

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