By bringing leading designer labels under one roof and making them available at affordable prices, Karmik (by Kimaya) has created a niche for itself in the designer wear market. In a tête-à-tête with Parina Sood; Pradeep Hirani, Chairman, Kimaya Fashions talks about the importance of franchising and the road ahead for designer wear.
When did Karmik start out? How has the experience been?
Karmik commenced business in 2012. At that time, it was a unique concept with no competing players in the market. Customers, for the first time, could browse through collections of different leading couturiers under one roof, that too at an affordable range of average $ 100. This helped in the smooth start for the company.
Having enjoyed the first mover’s advantage, Karmik has top of the mind recall when it comes to multi-brand designer outlet selling affordable prêt labels.
When and why did you start franchising?
A rise in the standard of living and emergence of new class of novae rich has resulted in the increased demand for luxury fashion products in the metros, tier I and even tier II cities. This phenomenon triggered a string of franchisee enquiries for our brand and quickly made us realise that franchising was the fastest and easiest mode of expanding our reach. Thus we ventured into franchising in 2012.
The strategy has proved to be fulfilling, both in terms of expanding in the domestic market and also successfully creating cross-border economic relationship catering to a diverse population in Pakistan.
How do you make sure you stay one step ahead of the competition especially the international brands?
At Karmik, we avoid complacency and continue to proactively increase relative service levels. Even though high-end customers can be fickle, we have sustained a superior service position in the market and can attract and retain customers who are more valuable over time, even in the face of rising competition from international brands. We personalise the shopping experience for all our clients. Our staff is trained to build a rapport with the clients and quickly gauge their preferences to deliver results. Adding personal touch goes a long way in customer relationship.
What training and support can the franchisees expect from you?
We hand hold our franchisees showing them the way forward, creating base for them to perform successfully. Our terms are aimed at guiding our franchisees from the very onset of the business; beginning from the store fit-out and layout selection. We have a training team to coach the franchisees’ staff in store operations to ensure smooth functioning and guide them out of glitches. Our dedicated 30 member merchandising team helps in analysing the local market and allocation of the right stock for our franchisees. Our attractive incentive policy is specially designed to motivate franchisees to give their best.
Talk us through one new trend that you feel will change the retail landscape.
Two major trends are hitting the world of franchising. One being international-ization and the second being increased use of technology, with the internet playing a critical role right from finding right franchise partners to streamlining operating procedures to getting sales leads.
Your thoughts on the current FDI policy and will it auger well or not for the apparel industry?
The FDI liberalisation, in one stroke has made India an attractive market for starting business; prompting a number of international brands to land in the country.However, this has not really impacted the trend of expanding through franchising. Luxury retailers opt for the franchise route because it is a safer way to test their brands in a new market. Furthermore, franchising provides them with enough information of the local market and its trends through their local partners, helping the parent company tighten its grip in the new market and cater their customers’ diverse demands.