Innovations is one of the key aspects in evolving as a company
In 2002, Anjali Schiavina started Mandala Apparels Pvt Ltd in Pondicherry with just a single vegetable dyeing unit, one tailor, one master-cutter, and eight handloom weavers. By 2009, it grew to 150 units with 165 employees, and now has a global presence. Mandala envisions itself as a pioneer in the organic apparel sector and emerges as a point of reference in this growing market. The mission is to create an enterprise, which is a platform that can provide suitable conditions for an integral development of the environment, society and individuals. Instead of aiming to become an island of success, the company is concentrating its efforts on contributing to an ocean of change. Two years ago, Mandala Apparels attracted equity investment from Aavishkaar to accelerate growth as well as its social impact.
The design studios are the core of creativity, beaming with ideas and imagination with a steady stream of visiting designers who bring in a range of delightful influences to the table. The resident designers too constantly reinvent their styles and ideas in developing new concepts and collections. The design infrastructure also supports clients in the development of their collections, and is also a platform that is used by internship students from India as well as overseas. Mandala Apparels works with cotton from organic farmers' groups, and it supports them in marketing their produce as well. By doing this, the company ensures a continuous control over quality, and responsibility towards the environment and stakeholder communities. The company's ISO 9001:2008 certified processes ensure a 100 per cent quality check, which is carried out across all parameters such as fabric strength, colour fastness and shrinkage before the fabric is approved for production. It has unique 40-point fabric checking system. Dedicated teams are trained in producing soft toys, accessories, and bags. Anjali Schiavina talks about the journey in an exclusive Q&A with Meher Castelino
Tell us briefly about your background, and what you did in Italy before coming to India.
I was born in Calcutta, and grew up in Pondicherry. In Italy, I worked mostly within the footwear industry. I worked as production coordinator with Anzani SRL. They are pioneers in manufacturing machines for the shoe industry. I also worked as a marketing person with Fratelli Rosetti, a luxury shoe manufacturing company and was instrumental in opening a chain of high-end Indian restaurants (eight of them) and was the CEO of the company. Inspired by this rich environment and after a ten-year sojourn in Italy, I started my apparel manufacturing company in Pondicherry.
What is Mandala Apparels all about?
Mandala Apparels Private Limited is a garment manufacturing company that grew from zero to 250 workers over a span of 13 years. In addition to this, I have partnered with Fairtrade and organic suppliers, and today my company is GOTS, FLO-Cert and WFTO certified. My vision is to develop a self-sustaining social enterprise (as opposed to the NGO business model). I value my company through a 3DP&L: financial stability and growth, environmental impact and social impact.
Why did you change the name to Mandala Apparels from Creative Art of Souls?
Mandala, signifying radial balance, in the form of a cosmic circle, represents our enterprise in which we work towards integrating all facets of our industry from sourcing to manufacturing. With an aim to align to the above vision, we revamped from CAOS to Mandala Apparels.
What is the USP of the company?
I would say Mandala's USP are the following: better price, pret-a-porter clothing, categories - woven /knits, reliable story on sustainability, fashion forward, organic and fair trade, price point, minimum order quantity (MOQ), and delivery.
What is the turnover of the company?
The turnover at the moment is `10 crore, and we are working towards a tremendous growth in the next two financial years towards which the company has taken initiatives at the management level.
What kind of fabrics do you use?
We use fabrics like poplin, twill, Lycra, canvas, drill, herringbone, mini-twill, Lycra poplin, dobby, yarn dyed and corduroy. Within knits we deal with fleece, single jersey, interlock, recycled pet poly, upcycled wool and pointelle.
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