We've seen double-digit revenue growth due to sustainable fashion: Karan Kumar, Fabindia

Karan Kumar, Chief of Marketing, Fabindia, talks about their growth trajectory, how the brand stands out in a cluttered digital space, their marketing strategies and more

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Oct 24, 2019 8:31 AM
Karan Kumar

Touted to be India's largest private platform for products that are made from traditional techniques, skills and hand-based processes, Fabindia has witnessed double-digit growth in revenues in last one year, thanks to the inclination towards sustainable fashion.

Karan Kumar, Chief of Marketing, Fabindia, talks about their growth trajectory, how the brand stands out in the cluttered digital space, what drives consumers loyalties in the long run and their marketing strategies going forward.

Fabindia endeavours to bring alive products and encourage lifestyles that celebrate our rich Indian culture, craft traditions and wisdom. The brand has recently opened their experience centre in Andheri, Mumbai. The experience centre is a mix of an interior design studio, alteration studio, Tug Bug and Fabcafe along with home accessories, lifestyle and personal care range.

”This is the 24th experience centre, we have our centres in Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Bombay, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Pune. We are open in more than 10 locations. So, the idea is to have close to 25% of our own retail footprint by the end of this year which will probably contribute or should probably contribute around 35% of our revenues. So, 45% of retail space and 35% of revenue", Kumar explains.

Touching on the point on how with the number of portals promising hand-crafted products, does Fabindia distinct itself from the others in the similar segment, Kumar said, “Our philosophy has been clear that the brand sees itself as that essential bridge between our rich cultural past and modernity at one level, and at another, a brand that connects that rural artisan and craftsperson with the discerning urban consumer.”

 “I think craft should truly be preserved and should be invaluable for craft and craftspeople to thrive in a suitable market.  We more than welcome other brands who want to follow the same belief and can provide access to craftspeople and link them to the consumer market. We welcome more and more people joining the bandwagon. We are perhaps the largest platform that reaches out to a maximum number of people and customers in urban India. An advantage that we have built over a period of time is that we have invested in our supply chain and our sourcing ability. So, I think that gives us certain leverage in terms of reaching a greater number of people and connecting a greater number of people with consumers.”

Since, the festive season is around the corner, when asked Kumar about how brands have evolved over the years in terms of their offerings for the festive season. While earlier, there used to be flat discounts, now, however, there are specifically designed campaigns to attract consumers.

Kumar said, “Brands these days are offerings more customised solutions. We, as a brand also do bespoke clothing which is offered both through our online platform, as well as our stores. As consumers evolve as brands evolve, you always have more options being provided which are more customised, which are more bespoke. I don’t think a discount is the only way of growing business, people are looking for good and meaningful products. They are looking for brands which stand for a certain cause, certain value. Consumers are also becoming cautious about using a natural alternative

“Overall I think responsible consumption is on an upswing and brands which drive products which do justice to that philosophy of responsible consumption are brands that have a slightly higher upside than the others. But India is a massive market, there is no 'one India', there are many Indias inside of India. So, different geographies behave differently. Overall consumption is going to increase and become wider. People have access to production brands in smaller markets, unlike earlier times. Everybody is moving towards more responsible consumption. Everybody is using products which have certain value or cause attached to it.”

Speaking about what drives consumer loyalty in the long run, Kumar told us, “I think customer loyalty, in the long run, is driven fundamentally by brands, which offer customers an alternative lifestyle choice. At Fabindia, the kind of product language that we follow, it is our belief that we provide consumers with the opportunity to make certain conscious alternative choices when it comes to consumption. And that is the reason we promote products which are handcrafted/handmade.”

Telling us about their marketing strategy and marketing mix going forward, Kumar explains, “Our marketing strategy has always been a good mix of above the line, below the line, digital and CRM.”

“We do a lot of Print ads, especially in newspapers on product announcement and collection launches. Apart from that, we do a lot of work on Digital and Social, videos and influencer marketing. And that keeps happening almost on a monthly basis,” adds Kumar.

Kumar also talked about the economic slump which the industry is currently facing, he said, “There is a general sense of lightness in the market. I think is unmistakable. There is a suppressed sentiment when it comes to purchasing and the consumer sentiment is slightly low. But for us, I think we're doing reasonably ok. We had our Malhar and Rajwadha collection a few months ago and received positive reviews from everyone.”

Kumar further explained, “I think consumers these days are looking at their purchase decision through a slightly finer lens, they are weighing their purchase slightly more than they used to. But I fundamentally believe that if you have good brands and good products, which have an intrinsic value in them, intrinsic philosophy in them, I think those brands remain high in the consideration set and people gravitate towards those brands more often than the other brands. So, a lot of the commodity level purchase is going down and branded purchase is getting more and more difficult.”

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