Rupa strikes gold with sound marketing strategy
Mr PR Agarwala, Chairman, Rupa & Company Ltd
1968, was the year, when three brothers hailing from Rajasthan, laid the foundation to what is now a more than Rs 5 billion turnover business of hosiery undergarments and allied products and is also now, the biggest manufacturer of hosiery and innerwear products, with a 20 percent market share of the Rs 25 billion branded hosiery undergarment market in India, with a reach, spreading across the length and breadth of India and overseas markets too.
It is none other than; the Kolkatta headquartered Rupa & Company Ltd. The three Agarwala brothers, led by their eldest brother, Mr PR Agarwala had their humble beginnings in a small partnership trading firm, under the banner of Binod Hosiery. But the desire to create their own product was always there. 1968 was the year, when the Rupa brand was first conceived. Today it has the distinction for being listed in the Limca Book of Records as the biggest manufacturer of knitted undergarments in India, since the last six consecutive years.
Today, Rupa, the original brand, has now conceived and evolved in to a umbrella brand for the firm, with the launch of a number of sub-brands like Macroman, Euro, Frontline, Softline, Bumchum, Jon, Thermocot, Footline and many others, who, all have been successful in carving out a place in the retailer's shelves as well as the consumers mind. The company has also recently launched two premium brands; Air and Embrace to take on the likes of Jockey and Hanes.
Fibre2fashion recently spoke exclusively with Mr PR Agarwala, also called 'Bada babu' within the company. We began by asking him to share the memories from the day, he started the hosiery business, to which he said, “It was around 1957, when we floated a very small manufacturing business in Kolkata under the name of Binod Hosiery. We started with vests in a small quantity of 10 dozens at that time, but the real progress started happening from 1968 when the Rupa brand was first born.
“We started initially manufacturing male undergarments and within a short span of time, we expanded our product line to include female innerwear also. Spurred by the success in the eastern parts of India, we decided to make the brand more prominent by launching it at a national level in 1975, from when the golden journey began. Our success can be measured from the fact that, we have been listed in the Limca Book of Records for being the largest manufacturers of hosiery products in India, for the sixth consecutive year.”
Considering that, there are numerous brands in India as well double or even triple that figure in the unorganized sector, we asked him to reveal the strategy that they employed to reach this stage, to which he replied by saying, “We in Rupa always believed in creating “value-for-money” products which targets all the segments of the society, which in turn has created more avenues to reach this landmark. The branded undergarment market in India has seen radical changes in terms of pricing, placement, packaging and innovation.