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
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