‘We were the first company to do official Bollywood merchandise’
Born and brought up in India, Siddharth Bindra, is the Managing Director of BIBA.
Bindra joined the family business in 1997, with the primary objective of converting the homegrown product into a national brand by capitalizing on India’s retail boom.
In a country where ethic wear is predominantly unorganized, it has been Bindra’s keen understanding of the Indian consumer and of the prevalent retail scenario, which has transformed BIBA into the country’s most loved ethnic wear brand. In fact, today the company enjoys leadership position and is by far the largest ethnic wear retail chain in the country.
With the constant endeavour to expand the business, product profile and consumer reach, Bindra signed up with designer Manish Arora with majority stake in ‘Indian by Manish Arora’ brand and by joining hands with Rohit Bal, introduced BIBA by Rohit Bal collection with in BIBA; thus marking BIBA’s foray in the bridal and luxury ethnic wear category.
After finishing his M.Com from Sydenham College, Mumbai, Bindra pursued higher studies in Futures, Options and Financial Derivatives, and Capital Markets & Investments from Harvard. Currently, he has over 17 years of experience in the Textile and Apparel Industry.
It has been a continuous journey for the last 20 years for me at BIBA and I have beenevolving the journey. One should be in touch with consumers, the market and the organisation and one will automatically be able to create the future path.
- Product innovation
- Cost effectiveness
- Digital expansion
- Launching new categories
- Gaining market share
In 2002, Biba became a household name when Kishore Biyani, the retail magnate, decided to produce a Bollywood movie, Na Tum Jano Na Hum, and the company was roped in to produce its merchandise. “We were the first company to do official Bollywood merchandise,” Bindra says. “We rocked it.” Over the next five years, Biba made official merchandise for 10 more movies, including Devdas. “That helped us tremendously with brand building. We also simultaneously started a shop-in-shop concept in which a store is set up within a store, mostly at malls or retail chains.”
Since then, there has been no looking back. With the setting up of shop-in-shop, Biba went from a wholesaler to a retailer and in 2004, it launched its first standalone store in Mumbai’s Inorbit mall.
After the initial success with Biba turning into a household name and our foray into Bollywood by 2007 Biba had 25 such stores, but we also realised that retail is capital intensive. That year we raised ₹12 crore from Biyani and grew to 80 stores with that fund. With the rapid growth, Biba also began to diversify its portfolio. By 2011 we had added a kids category, and in 2014 it roped in fashion designer Rohit Bal to create a new line of designer wear. Along the way, business progressed from products to mix-and-match to girls. Today, we are a comprehensive portfolio of women’s wear that ranges from ₹800 to ₹25,000. Our first store was 600 sq feet, and now our stores are 2,000 sq ft on an average. We set up our first 5,000 sq ft store in Vijayawada in 2018.
In 2013, when Biba’s revenues had grown over ₹300 crore, Biyani exited the company and PE firms Warburg Pincus and Faering Capital stepped in to buy stakes for nearly ₹300 crore. The deal valued the ethnic wear maker at nearly ₹1,000 crore. In 2013, that acquisition helped the category. Nobody had made money in retail. We provided the first profitable exit. That’s when people realised that brands are here for good, that they are profitable and here to grow. We are currently focussing on
company’s market share and have outlined three growth areas-Luxury, premium and affordable wear.
In the luxury segment, the company has tied up with designers Anju Modi and Manish Arora. The premium category contributes 90 percent to the company’s revenues. Bindra is also looking to add newer categories, including accessories such as jewellery, footwear, and bags.
Biba has also started an affordable arm, Rangriti, that Bindra reckons has the potential to emerge into a ₹500 crore business. Rangriti currently has close to 60 stores across the country. The market is so underserved. We have over 650 districts and everybody wears ethnic clothing. Rangriti is doing well across so many places in the interiors.
The credit for the fuelled growth of this sector can be given to:
- Growing number of working women
- Changing fashion trends
- Innovative consumer approach
- Trend of nuclear families
- Increasing level of information
- Popularity of designer wear and more
- Climatic conditions in India make Indian wear much more comfortable because of the fabric and form that it offers.
The major role was played by media exposure and screening of life size cinema. Today’s youth is highly inspired by film characters and are open to adapt fashion styles they see in movies or daily soaps. Other major factor which has strengthened the growth is the rising mall culture in India. Malls have given brands an opportunity to showcase their products under one roof where you witness maximum footfalls, thus providing a convenient place for the consumers as well to shop from.
Following are some concerns that affect the growth of the sector:
- Proper fit is most important in ready-to-wear category.
- Direct competition from unorganized players and old regional stores.
- Trends prevalent in different regions of India. The country of India’s size and diversity also poses a challenge
- Strict labour laws