Derby, a Chennai-based men's fashion brand, has come a long way since its humble beginnings as a tailoring shop in December 1994. Present in 15 exclusive outlets and over 100 multi-brand outlets (MBOs) today, the brand is confident of a 100 per cent growth over the previous year, up from the 65 per cent growth it registered last year.
"The market is so huge, and the organised readymade sector is very small. Only now is the organised sector growing, especially in the mid-level segment. It is also a challenging market, and people who do not have the vision to grow get left out of the race. It is not how big or small you are, but it's your determination and attitude to grow that make the difference," stressed Vijay Kapoor, Managing Director, Derby Clothing.
The brand's optimism is based as much on its continuing success in an industry growing by 12-15 per cent annually, according to research figures, we are reminded. Derby is in the mid-level segment, offering shirts priced from Rs 600 upwards and trousers from Rs 900 upwards.
Derby's growth will also extend geographically, to add to its presence in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka and Gujarat. The number of exclusive outlets is slated to up to around 25 by March 2006 as the brand expands in existing geographies. While 10 more would come up by March 2007, another 15 would be added in 2007-08, shared Kapoor.
One new market that Derby will foray into is Kolkata, where the brand will set up its own exclusive outlet later this financial year. The potential was huge, said the brand's owner, who is targeting people in the income bracket of Rs 10,000 to Rs 25,000 per month.
Kapoor further said that the expansion to Kolkata was an attempt to get a foothold in the eastern market, which had been neglected by most brands. This apart, the brand had set shop in Gujarat a month ago. The feedback for the first store seems to have been encouraging, and the brand has scheduled three stores for launch by March 2006 in Gujarat.
"The reason why we are getting into Gujarat and not Maharashtra in the west, is that we are using it as a test market. The reality is contrary to what we come to know from the media about the place. It is very close to Mumbai in terms of the profile of its people and the cosmopolitan feel," explained Kapoor.
That's another profitable strategy adopted by Derby, which claims to have been profitable since its days of being a tailoring unit. Refusing to divulge the revenues of the company, the spokesperson shared that 8-10 per cent of revenues had always been set aside for brand building.
"The brand is for people who march to a different beat. Since the last six years, we've stuck to the proposition of 'Get Unusual' and this has been powerfully taken forward with advertising. All our campaigns have been attitude-based, macho," he explained.
Though the tag reads 'Get Unusual', experience has taught Derby that there are limits to experimentation. Kapoor added, "The problem with garments, especially men's garments, is that you have to be subtle with what you do – you can't go overboard. We have tried things like multi-collared shirts, but the acceptability levels haven't been that great. Unusual doesn't mean 'wacko'. It's about being pleasingly different, and giving them a different experience."