Secrets Revealed

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Secrets Revealed

Post  Anand on Sat Aug 16, 2008 3:46 pm

An exporter turned brandmaker is trying to redefine nightwear as dramatic, seductive and utterly original. Ranjan Kaplish profiles Pretty Secrets.
Sleeping in fashion? This exactly is what India needs to do – sleep in fashion, so that the market for fashionable nightwear heats up.
Sensing the enormous potential in this category, an exporter turned retail brand opened its boutique in Mumbai to probably become the only intimatewear brand to be present in 18 exclusive outlets in the country in less than a year. Pretty Secrets, which at present sells through eight exclusive outlets, eight shop-in-shops and over 80 leading multibrand outlets, had debuted in the market in March 2006.
The brainchild of Maruti Trading Company, the brand was born out of the company's understanding that a good retail platform is needed to cater to the demand of quality intimatewear. The understanding, of course, was acquired over a good two decades of manufacturing and exporting nightwear.
“The market for innerwear is very big but very empty. It promises the most across all segments as it is the least developed. At present, there is room for several more players. The entry of foreign brands is inevitable and has already begun. We do not see this as a threat but rather as an opportunity to learn and adapt so as to serve our own market better and stronger. If we fail to adapt, there will be no place for us in the future,” Karan Behal, CEO, Pretty Secrets, told IMAGES BoF. “Once exposed to the standards set by foreign brands, the consumer will not tolerate domestic brands who do not offer the same or better products and services. Pretty Secrets is very clear on this subject. Our policy is very simple – ‘To change all the time, yet change very little'.”
The very first step of brand building is to have a home of its own. The brand opened its exclusive store last March and then moved on to the MBO format. Later, seven exclusive stores were launched within a period of eight months. The prominent locations of these stores along with an extensive advertising campaign in Mumbai at the time of launch went a long way in establishing the company and popularising its products.
The brand has also been very active on the PR front. For print media advertising, the brand relies on dailies and magazines, and on hoardings for outdoor publicity. The extensive customer database with regular catalogue mailings helps in building customer loyalty. Sensitised to the needs of women, the brand employs women sales staff. Commenting on this Behal said: “Women at the sales counter create the right ambience and comfort level in the stores. We have noticed more and more stores employing women sales staff now.”
With its head office, warehouse and distribution centre in Mumbai, Pretty Secrets has a pan-India presence. It is available in New Delhi , Noida, Ghaziabad , Gurgaon, Chandigarh , Ludhiana , Jalandhar, Jaipur, Jodhpur . The cities in central India include Lucknow and Kanpur . In the east, the brand has chosen Kolkata, Raipur and Guwahati as its selling destinations. In the west, it is in Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Pune and Aurangabad , while the southern region has been penetrated through outlets in Hyderabad , Vijayawada , Bangalore , Coimbatore , Mysore , Kochi and Chennai. This year Pretty Secrets will show its presence in cities like Amritsar , Udaipur , Agra , Vadodara, Surat and more.
Talking about the product, Pretty Secrets manufactures 6,00,000 pieces a year through its units in Kandla and Tirupur. The raw material is sourced from Korea and Taiwan .
Designed by a team of core professionals with experience of over 20 years and also designs for the international market, the brand redefines nightwear as dramatic, seductive and utterly original. Taking care of the intimate needs of the urban Indian woman, Pretty Secrets positions itself as a medium to premium segment brand as its customer profile comprises 15-45 year old women in the top 15 urban centres with a monthly household income of over Rs 40,000.
The range of Pretty Secrets lingerie and nightwear is in the price range of Rs 399-3,299 and sells best between Rs 999-1,199. The collections include cami-tops, shorts, chemises, cami PJ sets, babydolls and bridal sets in chiffon, satin, georgette, silk and cotton in international styles and designs.
Besides the Pretty Secrets core range there are two sub-ranges in the collection. The first is the ‘Bridal' range, which, as the name suggests, comprises elegant and regal nightwear and is specially designed for brides-to-be. Targeting 15-25 year old women is Blush, a sub-range of trendy loungewear in vibrant colours. The brand would introduce a range of comfort based cotton nightwear as a part of its spring/summer '07 collection. The brand rolls out a new collection once in every four months and at present has three key seasons – spring in April, fall in August and winter in December. Each season has up to 60 new styles on offer.

From Rs 5 lakh to Rs 90 crore and now targeting the 500 crore mark - the Brothers Kapoor have come a long way in less than two decades. A profile by Ranjan Kaplish.
It was in 1989 when brothers Vipin Kapoor and Darpan Kapoor, basically in the construction business, were looking to diversify their family business and try their hands at something more challenging and promising. The business of fashion retail was beginning to show some signs of activity. And, with a sum of Rs 5 lakh and no prior experience of the industry, the duo plunged into it. The first store, named Playboy Fashionsport came up at a happening marketplace in Chandigarh . The store stocked everything – from formals to casuals, party to traditional wear. The right productline and product mix gradually made it the favourite shopping destination for the emerging fashion conscious generation.
Gradually, the small Playboy Fashionsport was transformed into today's 7,000 sq ft Kapsons. The duo was now a team of four – Vipin Kapoor and Darpan Kapoor along with their wives Dolly Kapoor and Nishi Kapoor. Vipin took charge of the merchandising and buying, Darpan handled the general administration and accounts. Dolly took care of the fashion and styling division while Nishi took on the vital role of customer care executive. “It was Nishi, whose ability to plan, execute and manage resulted in the phenomenal growth of the company. With allround expertise in business administration, banking, finance, trade and commerce, she created a strong foundation for the establishment to grow and prosper,” Vipin Kapoor, MD Kapsons Group, told IMAGES BoF.

Retail presence
Kapsons now claims a turnover of over Rs 90 crore, steadily growing at over 40 per cent. The group has similar retail formats in major towns of Punjab . Chandigarh being the capital of two states and a country leader in terms of human development index has the Kapsons' flagship store. At present it is in 7,000 sq ft and would soon expand to over 16,000 sq ft. The outlet claims around 3,000-4,000 footfalls a day, which is the highest as compared to the other Kapsons stores. “ Chandigarh has an organised and efficient governance. It is an ideal tourist destination as also the wealthiest town with highest per capita income. All these factors together make the Chandigarh store, the maximum business generator.” The city is also deemed as the next information technology hub, and also has the highest potential for growth which ensures that Chandigarh has that huge customer base and we only have to streamline it ,” said Vipin.
The Kapsons Chandigarh store in the Sector 17 Plaza is an open shopping precinct wherein one can buy anything from shoes, apparel, jewellery , fabrics, and is also the favourite window shopping destination of Chandigarhians. This shopping destination is at par with the Connaught Place in New Delhi with EBOs of brands like Tommy Hilfiger , Nautica, Esprit, Benetton, Dockers, Levi's, Reebok, Nike, Addidas, Pepe… The city with its central location and easy reach helps all the brands to penetrate in other regions like Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Haryana and Punjab . The Kapsons' customer in Chandigarh is very choosy and prefers to buy clothes which are generally in fashion. People here buy almost all throughout the year but in very small quantities, which are 2-3 pieces of garment in a year. The choice is very basic in fashion and they do not pick either loud designs or colours.
The next city to see Kapsons was Amritsar . As there were no recognised multibrand stores and other shops were of 500-800 sq ft, Kapsons had an edge. The store spread across in 7,000 sq ft and moving on to 12, 000 sq ft attracted most of the NRI population in town, which has a huge buying potential and likes to splurge on apparel and luxury. The international airport and the Golden Temple attract a lot of tourists to the city. These travellers are also targeted by Kapsons. The store sees over 400 footfalls in a day. Amritsaris unlike Chandigarhians prefer fads than fashion. The customers likes to buy funky clothes in bold and loud colours.
After dressing up Amritsari NRIs, Kapsons moved on to cash on the wealthy population of Jalandhar, where through its biggest outlet of 12,000 sq ft, it caters to the needs of a young crowd from the state's leading colleges and universities. This store too is expanding and would soon spread up to 16,000 sq ft. The buying behaviour of customers of Jalandhar is similar to Chandigarhians. Around 600-700 Jhalandarites visit Kapsons daily for branded apparel with minimal highlights and basic and earthy tones.


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