Interview with Shailesh Saraf

Face2Face
Shailesh Saraf
Shailesh Saraf
Managing Director
Triveni & Sakambari Silk Mills
Triveni & Sakambari Silk Mills

Any plans to launch an App to access your product lines

Triveni already has an App - available on both, Android & iOS (works on iPad as well).

Which markets do you source your yarn, fabric, machinery, accessories from?

Triveni's production is setup in Surat - and there's an entire eco-system of weavers, dyeing, printing and embroidery unit to support our work. Triveni too does a mix of steps in-house and outsourced - closely working with the suppliers and vendors.

Usually, weavers develop the fabrics - sourcing the yarns locally or outside. Triveni works closely with the weavers to understand their fabric ranges, propose its ideas - and work on the fabrics they weave - or as per its requirement as per the sampling done.

Laces and other accessories are also similarly worked with the vendors/embroidery units - the samples or designs are provided by Triveni, and the final fabric is worked out mutually. Machines used by these units are sourced either from China (especially the embroidery and new weaving machines), and the dyeing and printing machines from Germany or Korea.

What is your design team like?

Triveni's design team consists of formally trained designers - usually from NIFTs or top design institutes of the country. We work closely with design institutes of the country - going for campus recruitment, and also run ethnicwear design contests with them.

In addition to the full-time designers at Triveni, there a set of sketchers, embroidery machine punchers and tailors (for sampling). Design process begins with concept and forecasting that gets translated into sketches. These sketches are then split component-wise, further sketched/punched into the embroidery machine software or designs for printing. The individual pieces are then sampled by closely partnering with embroidery or printing units - and the tailoring them puts the final sample together.

At every stage - from concept to sample - I personally review the designs, filtering them out. The designs finally going into production and are thus hand-picked.

How many stylists do you have and what role do they play in showcasing your product lines?

Styling starts with the product design and construction - and the design team has been trained to do the product design with styling. Mannequin drapes help in formulating the full look.

Photo-cataloging the image is a very vital part of product marketing - with me personally being a part of most of the catalogue shoots. Most of the samples are prior shared with the photo studio/production houses we work with. These production houses have worked with us for years - and they bring on-board a stylist and make-up artist that understands Triveni's preferences. This team is part of the photo shoots, and is instrumental in giving the stylish looks we see.

What has been your growth story in the last 2 years? What is the targeted growth for the next two?

Triveni's offline reach has increased over the last couple of years, covering all the major areas of the country. We have more than 100 wholesalers and distributors across the country, in addition to more than 1000 buyers - who together supply to more than 10,000 retailers stocking Triveni. A team of full-time salesmen (supplemented by quite a few summer interns in summer) work with our distributors and wholesalers - reaching retailers across the board. In addition, the retailers are kept in loop usually by WhatsApp, Facebook and e-mail.

As an organization, cutting edge innovation in designs, consolidation of our operations, water tight production deliveries have been the focus over the last few years and tight filtering on buyers has been the key focus over the last couple of years. With these now in place - and new collections seeing a very very strong uptake from buyers, we expect about good year on year growth in the next couple of years and even beyond.

What major factors do you take into account while deciding your Key Performance Indicators (KPI)?

KPIs are first decided for the organisation, and then - they are mapped to the individual team members. Organisation's KPIs are linked to sales, inventory and payment collections. This translates into individual teamwise KPIs as follows:

1. Design team: Number of new samples and designs made, the number of these finally approved
2. Production team: Timely delivery of the final production orders as per original commitment -this means closely monitoring each step of the production
3. Sales team: Sell through of all the new catalogues and production, and the quality of payment collections from the wholesalers and distributors.

The above are some representative KPIs - these are further translated into each individual team to the personnel level.

Published on: 28/11/2016

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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