From desi weave to global fabric: How Modi made Khadi a profitable proposition

Khadi’s share in textile production doubled in the last five fiscals. On National Handloom Day, we find how the success of Khadi is proof of marketing done right

e4m by Tasmayee Laha Roy
Updated: Aug 7, 2019 8:01 AM

It is the fifth National Handloom Day today. In the five years that the country celebrated indigenous weave, Khadi has set the perfect example of marketing done right. Thanks to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ‘Make in India’ pitch, Khadi is now a global brand. A profitable one too.

From 4.23 % to 8.49, Khadi’s share in textile production has doubled in the last five fiscals. Khadi has also seen increase in its production by 65.42 million square meters in last five years. The production has grown from 103.22 million square meters in 2014-15 to 170.80 million square meters in 2018-19.

The Modi government has done everything it takes to get the fabric all the attention and funds it needs to grab the attention of the fashion conscious millenials.

According to KVIC (Khadi and Village Industries Commission) chairman VK Saxena it is Khadi’s brand ambassador that has taken the fabric places and also influenced millennials to endorse it. The ambassador of the desi fabric is none other than Modi himself.

“The way our Prime Minister has donned the khadi kurta and jacket look, it has influenced lakhs of people to support the fabric. Among the readymade items, our NaMo jackets are the favourite product for the buyers of all age groups. NaMo App users purchased as many as 7,000 Modi jackets from KVIC in the last two months. Besides on an average most of our outlets sell minimum of 200 Modi jackets and Kurtas per day,” Saxena said.

Khadi also got an increased allocation in the 2019-20 budget to help build a strong positioning in global markets. There was a 3 per cent increase in allocation towards Khadi in line with Modi’s vision to make the fabric a global brand. 

Besides the Prime Minister’s push, Saxena gives the credit to KVIC’s aggressive marketing and proper utilization of manpower for their success. From being heavily active on moment marketing, to promoting the fabric as sustainable fashion, to dressing up Bollywood actors and being part of fashion weeks, the once almost dead fabric has got a new lease of life with marketing its product well not just in India but also on international forums.

What other strategies have worked for the brand? “Quality, price and service are the three aspects we have worked on. Aggressive marketing and branding exercises have given us the much required push. We have employed Ritu Beri to glamorize our collection, we have participated in all major fashion weeks such as Lakme Fashion Week to showcase our clothesline and gone to at least 10 international markets exhibiting our products,” said Saxena.  KVIC is also setting up export cells to promote overseas sales of their products.

“Sponsoring fabric for Bollywood films is another way we grabbed eyeballs,” he added.

With a limited budget of Rs 8 crore to advertise the brand, Khadi has worked on increasing visibility with the right kind of strategic partnerships.

“We have made ourselves available in malls in shop formats and tied up with corporates. They have advertised their Khadi line and that has given us the required publicity. Raymond, Arvind Mills Limited, Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Limited (ABFRL) are our three major partners who have aggressively promoted Khadi,” Saxena said.

The brand has also got its number-crunching game on point. In the fiscal 2014-15, Khadi’s sale was Rs 1,310.90 crore and in 2018-19, sales figure touched Rs 3215.13 crore. Riding high on the upsurge in demand for Khadi products, the KVIC expects to surpass the sales target of Rs 5,000 crore by the end of 2019-20.


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