Vivek Me­hta, MAS Brands

A com­pany about 25 years old, MAS brands has come to the fore only a few years back with Amante as its face of re­tail. For a com­pany with this long a trail of his­tory, what goes into the mak­ing of brand Amante? A ma­jor player in the in­ti­mate wear cat­e­gory

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Tell us about MAS brands.

It is named af­ter three broth­ers Ma­hesh, Ajay and Sharad. They started 25 years back as man­u­fac­tur­ers. They used to make in­ti­mate wear for Vic­to­ria’s Se­cret, Marks & Spencer, Calvin Klein, etc. To­day, we are one of the big­gest cor­po­ra­tions in Sri Lanka and the big­gest em­ploy­ers with 65,000 people which is sec­ond af­ter the Sri Lankan army! Seven years ago we de­cided to en­ter re­tail and Amante was launched in In­dia. To­day, the brand is quite well-known in In­dia and Sri Lanka. We sup­ply to about 500 neigh­bour­hood mom & pop stores and 150-200 de­part­men­tal stores. A year back MAS Brands took a call that brands are go­ing to be the core fo­cus apart from man­u­fac­tur­ing and we ac­quired a UK-based brand called Ul­timo which was owned by celebrity Michelle Mone. She is still a part­ner with us for Ul­timo.

Does Amante plan to have its exclusive stores?

Look­ing at our suc­cess with the chan­nels of de­part­men­tal stores and mom & pop stores, we launched our first EBO in Colombo last De­cem­ber. The plan is to now roll out across top 7-8 cities in In­dia. The first In­dia store would be in Ban­ga­lore and the first phase on In­dia roll­outs would cater to Mum­bai and Delhi as well. We will then move to other cities like Chandigarh, Pune, Kolkata, and Hy­der­abad.

How im­por­tant is store de­sign from the busi­ness point of view?

A store is not only an additional sales chan­nel for us but a means to give the cus­tomer a brand ex­pe­ri­ence. We want some­thing sta­teof-art, some­thing not ex­plored within our cat­e­gory. De­sign is one of the most im­por­tant points on which we would com­mu­ni­cate the ex­pan­sion or re­launch of the brand. This cat­e­gory in­volves a lot of loy­alty from the cus­tomer’s end. There is a pre­ferred brand which cus­tomers usu­ally fol­low but people are ex­plor­ing this cat­e­gory from the fash­ion point of view as well and those de­ci­sions hap­pen at the store level. In an exclusive store or shop-in-shop, brand ex­pe­ri­ence is of prime im­por­tance in help­ing the cus­tomer make his de­ci­sion.

Do you have an on­line pres­ence?

Right now our on­line pres­ence is through e-com­merce big­gies like Zi­vame, Jabong, Myn­tra, Flip­kart, and Ama­zon. We are work­ing on our exclusive on­line store which should be launched by Septem­ber this year.

What you think about new re­tail­ers start­ing on­line as a test run be­fore com­ing down to phys­i­cal stores?

I think pres­ence across all chan­nels is im­por­tant. Dig­i­tal me­dia gives a low-cost

Vivek Me­hta CEO, MAS Brands

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