Interview with Mr Prahalad R Agarwala

Mr Prahalad R Agarwala
Mr Prahalad R Agarwala
Rupa & Co. Ltd
Rupa & Co. Ltd

Global Industry Analysts (GIA) .. forecasts the hosiery market will reach US$20.3 billion by 2015.
Rupa is today the No.1 knitwear brand in India, covering the entire range of knitted garments from innerwear to casual wear. Starting as a dream in the far-sighted mindscape of three men of vision and enterprise, Rupa has evolved to become the frontrunner in India and a leading player in global markets with far-reaching footprints and millions of satisfied customers. From a very humble beginning, the company has transformed to market leader of hosiery today. The turnover of the company as at March 31st, 2010 stood Rs 536.32 crores. Mr Prahalad R Agarwala is the Chairman of the Rupa & Co. Ltd handling discreetly the management of the firm with his vast experience in the industry. On academic front, he has attained bachelor degrees in Ccommerce and in Legislative Law (LL.B). Besides, Mr Agarwala in immediate past also rendered mentorship being President of Bharat Chamber of Commerce (Kolkata), and Ex-President of West Bengal Hosiery Association. On social front, he is regarded of his philanthropist nature. He is also the Chairman of governing body of Sobhasaria Engineering College, Sikar, Rajastjhan, India, Trustee of The Heritage School, and Vice Chairman, Board Of Governors, Heritage Institute Of Technology, Kolkata. On interviewed by Ms Madhu Soni, Sr Editor & Correspondent – Face2Face, divulging details on knitwear industry in India and globally, Mr Prahalad Agarwala also shares key strategies for a brand's success in innerwear segment.

Face2Face extends warm welcome Mr Agarwala. For our visitors across globe, we would request you to share in brief the gradual episodes that went behind making Rupa- the no. 1 hosiery brand in India.

Until the mid-sixties, I would say, the Hosiery Industry in India was rather a complacent one. A number of organized sectors and localized brands kept churning out mediocre products. The consumers were less than satisfied but had no option readily available. However, a dormant desire for better innerwear remained there through the years.

Finally, in 1968, we, along with my brothers- Mr G P Agarwala and Mr K B Agarwala decided to delve deep into the possibilities and prospects of creating a brand that would revolutionize the hosiery market with quality that does not only sell but excels, and thus, Binod Hosiery saw the light of day. We not only had a mission to produce the best but a vision to bring care and comfort to the fatigued consumer.

Rupa initially started manufacturing innerwear and casual wear in Tirupur and Kolkata. It expanded its product line to include female underwear. Buoyed by the success in the East, we decided to take the brand national in 1975.

While the available products were upgraded to be more consumers friendly, soon the Company in 1985 under the brand name of Rupa launched a new line of products.

Within a span of decade from the formation of the company, as a major step forward, the company came out with a public issue in the financial year 1995-96 to become a public limited company.

Rupa has emerged as the country’s largest manufacturer of hosiery and innerwear brand, cornering nearly 10% to 12% of the Rs 5000 crore branded hosiery market. Even the Limca Book of Records has been conferring the honor to Rupa & Co as the country’s largest manufacturer of knitted undergarments for the last six years.

Rupa has today evolved as an umbrella brand for the firm and it has launched an array of successful sub-brands like Macroman, Frontline, Softline, Footline, Jon, Thermocot, Skywings, Bumchums, Interlock and Ribline. We have just launched a premium sub-brand AirVest and planning another one called Embrace, as well as a separate sub brand in the kids segment, Imoogi.

The growth in the turnover of the company, from Rs 60 Crores as at March, 1997 to Rs 536 crore plus, in more than a decade has been phenomenal and has transpired of course by the dedicated efforts of our promoters, management and all associated team with the company. Company has set its eye on annual growth rate of above 20%.

Published on: 04/04/2011

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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