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Jun, 07 2014

Bollywood, business and being human

Being Human, a clothing line with a heart. Being Human clothes help you look good and do good at the same time. What good this brand has in store for its business partners and patrons?

Salman Khan (SK), Founder, Being Human & Manish Mandhana (MM), MD, Mandhana Industries tell Beny Sachdeva of TFW about the brand's business stars.

Tell us about the inception and growth of Being Human

SK :We grew up watching our parents help the underprivileged. However, we realised money in individual hands is prone to misuse. Hence, the foundation was started in order to contribute in a more structured manner and we decided to focus on the areas of healthcare and education.

I believe that if a contribution to Being Human could be built into products of daily use such as clothing, it would help people make a contribution by the simple everyday act of wearing that clothing. So what started as a t-shirt is now a global fashion brand available across 16 countries and growing everyday.

What is the USP of your brand?

SK: Ours is a clothing line with a heart. There aren't too many brands in India which help you to look good and do good at the same time. It is an aspirational fashion brand with the added benefit that every item of clothing helps shapes a life through education or save a life through healthcare.

What kind of growth do you see for your brand in the next five years?

SK: The brand has been received very well. We will continue to give it our best and hope that the love for the brand grows. 

MM: Being Human Clothing is eying up to 60 per cent growth in turnover in the next three years as the brand expands its overseas presence to Sri Lanka, South Africa and the UK. We aim to grow the retail footprint in India by 50% by the end of FY 14-15. Whats promising is that the brand has already won many accolades in the retail industry and has been profitable with a turnover of Rs 145 crore in FY 13-14. On the product side, the brand is constantly innovating with its product range and is adding new product categories with each season.

Being Human's customer loyalty is because of Salman Khan's fan club. Do you agree with the same if not what are the other marketing or sales strategies you have adopted for brand building?

SK: Being Human has an identity of its own and is available even in countries where Indian cinema doesn't have a wide relese or following. People respond to a good cause. And while the clothing brand supports a cause, it must first work as a fashion brand and hold its own against other retail fashion brands. The design, quality and the shopping environment at Being Human stores is as good as the best in the world. In fact, with its first time participation in the trade fair 'Who's next' in France it is already rated as the top 15 brands to look out for.

MM: Keeping in mind that we support humanitarian causes of education and healthcare we plan our marketing activities very strategically so as to give it our maximum support. Our strategy is to promote the brand extensively through online activities via social media and new collaborations. This year we have planned special events and offline activities to create conversations and generate viral presence through special events besides doing print, radio and outdoor advertisements. Celebrities are no doubt good at generating attention, recall and positive attitudes towards advertising provided that they are supporting a good idea and there is an explicit fit between them and the brand.

How do you see the Indian franchise retail industry performing and where do you see the industry five years down the line?

MM: The Indian retail market is among the largest and the fastest growing sectors in the world. Opportunities are knocking retail industry doors as the industry size is getting bigger in India. Franchising is critical for retailers to achieve exponential growth. Due to rising aspirations of the second generation, there is huge potential for franchise growth in the retail sector. Retail franchising in India is a crowded playing field which is emerging as a prospective hub offering numerous franchise opportunities from apparel industry to robot retailing, grocery stores to vending machines.

What do you understand by the term franchising and why did you choose the same for your business expansion?

MM: The profile of Mandhana Industries Ltd and Being Human Clothing brand almost confers the success of its franchise business. The Being Human Clothing franchising model is a great opportunity for persons already in the retail business especially in tier II and III cities. Our brand is a pull brand and one of the only brands with fashion and charity as our USP.  Being Human Clothing provides sufficient support system to its franchisees or dealers. The support system includes training at the head office, other assistance from the head office to open franchises, field assistance, markeing etc. Thus investing for the franchise of Being Human Clothing is definitely a business opportunity which can be grabbed if available. For having a foothold in the tier II and III cities, the franchisee vertical was chosen, as India being a huge country, its difficult to reach everywhere. Also Salman Khan's fan following and reach is all over across all ages.


Franchise facts 

Expansion plans: Jammu, Bhopal, Mohali, Varasnadi, Kanpur, Ludhiana, Jaipur, Rajkot, Shillong, Kohlapur, Jodhpur among others.

Present outlets: 17 company owned and 6 franchise internationally as of FY 13-14.

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