Interview with Smit Patel

Face2Face
Smit Patel
Smit Patel
Director
Vritika Lifestyle
Vritika Lifestyle

So, you are not stepping into retail with Vritika?

That's the third step. Hopefully, we are going to open up a small retail unit soon and see how the response is, what is the market, what is working what is not, and through that we might go into the market itself-you know, big malls or different places. The world is going to be a testing ground for a lot of things, including shoes, shirts, and slowly and steadily, trousers.

And, will you be going for a complete lifestyle product line?

Yes, that is the vision. A complete lifestyle provider-head to toe for both men and women.

Suppose someone wants to be an agent with you, what are the yardsticks that you would measure before you take on anything?

First is reputation, which is a key attribute. We then look at the minimum quantity-at least 100 sets, with 10-30 pieces in each set in various colour combinations. The embroidery will be the same, but the colour palette will be different.

What is the targeted growth you are looking at?

We are easily meeting the 12 catalogues a year target. We want to explore new things like tying up with Liva, so that we can have new fabrics. We would like to come up with 24-a-year catalogues. And after that has happened, we would like to explore the online market through our own label.

Have you started already in that direction?

Our stuff does go online through Jabong and Myntra. And they have highlighted our products many times under the brand name of Vritika Mesmer. This is because we tied up through a JV with a company called Hypnotex. The name was Mesmer. This one is for our online venture. Again, we gave our products to them, and they gave it to different online markets. It's like a wholesaler, but through a different channel. It goes to Myntra, Jabong, Cbazaar. 

From which website is the response the most?

I will say Myntra.

How many pieces are going online?

Collectively, if the market is good, approximately 20 pieces go per day per site. And if markets are slow, it can be 5-6. 

What is the tie-up with Liva like?

Liva is providing us the complete fabric line. We will make one catalogue dedicated to Liva. And if it works out, we will probably have more.

Where will this catalogue go to? Will it also go to the Aditya Birla stores?

First, it will mainly be available through our channels. But it will be separately marketed as Liva Fabrics. The labeling will have both Vritika and Liva. The number of retailers might decrease, because not everyone keeps the catalogue. We haven't got a list yet, and the channels are being decided by Aditya Birla and us together. For now, the wholesalers who use both the labels and the online channels- ones who can highlight both the labels-will be chosen. 

Which are your export markets? How big is your export division?

We don't export directly. We do the label work for companies, and they export. For example, in Vinay's case, 80 per cent of the work goes to Dubai, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. They sell only 10-15 per cent in India. Most companies we have worked with have a big market in Dubai, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

So, you have no plans to go into exports in the near future?

For Vritika itself, yes. We have spoken to 2-3 entities. We are going to start with Sri Lanka, where there is a demand for this product. The brand value in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh is good in terms of embroidery. If the label clicks, it will go really big. 

What changes, as GenNext, have you brought into the business?

A completely new ERP system was developed. Earlier, everything was done manually. If there was an order for 300 pieces, it would be written on a piece of paper-in a format of course. It would be distributed, and that would be it. If the paper was lost, we wouldn't know if the order was done or not. As soon as I came over, I developed software as I have an IT background. There were just four members working on it for changes and improvements. And later, people were handling it as a team of nine members. Every department has one such software with an inward and outward entry. We know exactly where the pieces are, and what has been made. Wastage figures have dropped from around 12 per cent to less than 2 per cent. Earlier, if there was an order of 300 pieces, around 330- 340 pieces would be made because there was just an idea of the number being made and no exact figure; now the exact figures are being traced. Now, we have an order of 303 pieces that are being made. We have an account of which department it's lying in. As a repeat order, we know that there are three pieces already. So, we can make those three less. Overall, the wastage figures are less.

What are the expansion plans for Vritika?

For Vritika, we have expanded the market to nine states in India. Slowly and steadily, we are coming up with dealers who meet our demands, and we theirs. Business is growing in that sense. Then of course, I am looking into the shirting division as well. So, our plan is ready.

What is the overall future plan for your men's line? Where do you see Riya and Vritika?

I want to make sure that these products go into the retail market as well, and set up my own  hysical stores, for shirting, womenswear,shoes as well. I don't know how it will turn out, but that's the  future plan of the business.
Published on: 10/10/2016

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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