In conversation with Karan Behal, CEO, PrettySecrets, who talks about the Indian lingerie industry and the challenges it faces.
In an unorganized lingerie market in India, this brand has carved a niche and made women come out and speak about their choices. PrettySecrets has not just grown store wise and in numbers, but also in terms of taking the lingerie trends in a positive direction. The man behind the victorious show, Karan Behal tells us more about the challenges for this industry and some tips for running a successful lingerie business. Read through!
How has franchising proved to be a boon for your business?
Franchising has helped us expand faster across various parts of India, be it North, South, East or West. Also, when franchisees come on board they bring their own passion and local network to the system. They have helped us understand business regionally and locally, their feedback helps us improve various verticals of the business.
The total number of stores and how many out of them are franchisee-run?
Our total franchise stores are 20 whereas company owned are two. We also have Stand Alone Stores in Mumbai in Infinity Mall, Phoenix Market City, Linking Road, Lokhandwala, Borivali, Dombivali, Gujarat: Surat (Vr Mall, Canopus), Baroda (Eva Mall, Trivia Complex), Punjab: Ludhiana (Pavillion Mall), Jalandhar (Model Town), Kolkata: City Centre 1, Goa: Margao, Manipur: Imphal, Chhatisgarh: Raipur ( Ambuja City Centre Mall, Coming Up: Hyderabad, Chennai, Itanagar, Dhanbad, Naharlagun. Globus – 30 Different Locations Across India, Central – Surat, Kandivali, Brand Factory – Hyderabad, Ghaziabad, Bengaluru, Mumbai.
Which is your best performing store? Why?
It would be difficult to pinpoint any one store in particular that we could call our most successful store, as we have stores spread across different geographies, leading to different rentals, overheads, and sales. On the one hand, we have a highly successful and profitable store in Imphal, which has been consistently hitting great sales numbers. On the other end of the spectrum, we also have our flagship stores in Mumbai – for example, our Linking Road and Lokhandwala stores which do great numbers for us and because of their fantastic location also serve as a great branding tool for the company.
Challenges that you still face as a lingerie player in India.
I would say trying to build a national brand in such a regionally fragmented and highly unorganised industry where the segment is still at its nascent stage is a challenge for any entrepreneur in this industry. We’re building an extremely strong online and offline multi-distribution strategy to ensure we are available wherever our customer is. The lingerie market has been rapidly growing in India, but we’re still way behind the western markets. Women in India used to consider lingerie a luxury and not a necessity. However, we’ve seen this trend slowly changing in the positive direction. Our product offering and marketing communication has always been centred on urging women to redefine their everyday basic wear. In most places in India, lingerie is still considered a taboo and is hush – hush where women are uncomfortable talking about it in the open. At PrettySecrets, all our communication that is directed to our consumers showcases lingerie and women in an extremely empowering light. This has led to a change in the openness of women to talk about their lingerie choices openly on a social forum. Another unfortunate situation in a country like ours, for a segment like lingerie, is a product for women, in an industry run by men. I don’t necessarily mention this as a setback to me in particular, but it’s more worthy of being pointed out for the sake of the way the industry is structured in India.
Expansion plans for this year
We opened our first brand-exclusive retail outlet in April 2017 and now have 22 stores across 10 states panning all 4 corners of the country. We have already set stage to ensure we have 100 stores open by the end of 2018 and 300 stores by the end of 2019. We currently sell through 350 trade stores across the country and we aim to get to 1500 stores by end of 2019. All of this coupled with growing our market share on online marketplaces and making PrettySecrets.com the largest culmination of brand loyalists.
You have achieved a 100% Year on Year growth. What made it practically possible as you became the fastest successful brand in India in your segment?
The first point here would be having a product with wide acceptance. Once we established that we have a great product with consistent demand, we worked on our channel distribution strategy. Today, PrettySecrets is available across multiple channels.
Top 3 tips to be successful in a lingerie business.
- Extensive Product assortment covering all Lingerie needs of a customer - multi-category like sleepwear/bras/briefs etc.
- Efficient supply chain focused at a large distribution network and low margins.
- Excellent Products focused on size and fits.