Ogaan: Con­flu­ence of Es­tab­lished and New De­sign­ers Un­der One Roof

CON­FLU­ENCE OF ES­TAB­LISHED AND NEW DE­SIGN­ERS UN­DER ONE ROOF

Apparel Online - - FRONT PAGE -

As In­dian cus­tomers be­come more and more dis­cern­ing, keep­ing them happy is a chal­lenge for even the best-of-store con­cepts. Com­pa­nies that have found the right strat­egy are grow­ing and one such con­cept is the multi-de­signer store ‘Ogaan’. Con­sid­ered as one of the best de­signer bou­tiques in In­dia, Ogaan is also one of the first stores in the coun­try to house beau­ti­ful col­lec­tions from well-known de­sign­ers un­der one roof. The bal­ance that the store has main­tained with re­spect to lead­ing de­signer col­lec­tions and fresh of­fer­ings from new de­sign­ers, makes the cus­tomers come back for more and more. The story of Ogaan mir­rors the growth of In­dian lux­ury fash­ion. In a can­did chat with Ap­parel On­line, Sau­rabh Naithani, Buy­ing, Mer­chan­dis­ing and Plan­ning Head of Ogaan In­dia Pvt. Ltd., shares this new store’s unique strate­gies for suc­cess in the lux­ury re­tail mar­ket.

When wear­ing de­signer clothes was still a dream for many, Ogaan was started in New Delhi with a thought for pro­mot­ing and show­cas­ing the ex­quis­ite de­signs and crafts­man­ship from all over In­dia. With a hand­ful of la­bels in its first few years, to­day the re­tailer stocks a well cu­rated mix of over 240 de­signer la­bels, and the list is grow­ing grad­u­ally. What has also sup­ported the growth of the store is its up­front ap­proach to move along with the chang­ing dy­nam­ics of busi­ness and the pref­er­ences of its clients. The big­gest proof of the busi­ness acu­men of the Ogaan team is its om­nichan­nel pres­ence with brick­sand-mor­tar stores as well as on­line web­site. It has six stores in In­dia, five of them sit­u­ated in the prime lo­ca­tions of Delhi and one in Hyderabad. Right from its first flag­ship store in Hauz Khas Vil­lage that opened doors in 1989, Ogaan has been sell­ing In­dian, con­tem­po­rary and pret col­lec­tions by es­tab­lished de­sign­ers as well as younger, up­com­ing brands that are very ex­per­i­men­tal with tex­tiles and craft in ex­quis­ite new ways. From lead­ing de­sign­ers like Tarun Tahil­iani, Aanamika Khanna, Sabyasachi Mukher­jee to Ra­jesh Pratap Singh, who sold their first col­lec­tions at Ogaan, it also nur­tures new tal­ent in­clud­ing Pero and Yavi.

Among the core team for­mu­lat­ing strat­egy at Ogaan, Sau­rabh started his ca­reer in ap­parel ex­ports with the buy­ing house Im­pulse, tak­ing care of brands like Esprit and Deben­hams (menswear cat­e­gory). Af­ter seek­ing ex­per­tise in ex­ports and core man­u­fac­tur­ing, he for­ayed into the re­tail sec­tor with Fabindia. This com­bined knowl­edge and un­der­stand­ing of re­tail and buy­ing

Right from its first flag­ship store in Hauz Khas Vil­lage that opened doors in 1989, Ogaan has been sell­ing In­dian, con­tem­po­rary and pret col­lec­tions by es­tab­lished de­sign­ers as well as younger, up­com­ing brands that are very ex­per­i­men­tal with tex­tiles and craft in ex­quis­ite new ways.

helped him when he joined Ogaan as the Plan­ning Head. “Since Ogaan is a lux­ury con­cept, one has to get very per­sonal about ev­ery­thing. It is a con­flu­ence of dif­fer­ent de­sign­ers com­ing to­gether to sell their ex­quis­ite work. It is not the same as in Fabindia, where we are pro­mot­ing a sin­gle brand,” ex­plains Sau­rabh.

DE­SIGNER SE­LEC­TION CRI­TE­RIA AT OGAAN

As the dis­cus­sion moves on, Sau­rabh ex­plains how new de­sign­ers are picked for this first-of-its-kind store. “We are al­ways look­ing at dif­fer­ent de­sign­ers and meet­ing new peo­ple. We pick up new tal­ents keep­ing in mind that their work should re­flect their souls and of course the ex­clu­siv­ity fac­tor should be present as that is what the cus­tomer de­mands. We also see their so­cial me­dia pres­ence like the In­sta­gram fol­low­ing they have.” He be­lieves that there are so many small stores in the lux­ury fash­ion mar­ket that lack ex­clu­siv­ity and hence it is re­ally vi­tal to have that ‘wow’ fac­tor in or­der to sur­vive in the lux­ury space. Ogaan works on the idea of giv­ing equal op­por­tu­nity to all the de­sign­ers be­cause it be­lieves in a long-term re­la­tion­ship which is not based on how big the de­signer is. Sau­rabh ex­plains the process of how the stores of the new tal­ents are se­lected to be show­cased at Ogaan’s out­let. “Our team looks into the in­dexes and the cus­tomer pro­file at var­i­ous out­lets and then de­cides how this can be achieved. We also look into in­di­vid­ual de­signer’s strengths and then make a strat­egy for our stores about what can be se­lected or show­cased and at which out­lets.”

PRIC­ING

The fash­ion mar­ket, es­pe­cially the In­dian wear mar­ket has emerged tremen­dously in the last few years and the in­ter­na­tional buy­ers are also ap­pre­ci­at­ing the work of de­sign­ers, but their main con­cern is that most of the prod­ucts are ex­or­bi­tantly priced, be it the spe­cial tech­niques like tie-and-dye or use of nat­u­ral fab­rics. Sau­rabh shares how things work at Ogaan. “It’s a trade-off, if re­tail­ers do well in the mar­ket, the de­sign­ers do well and vice-versa. At Ogaan, we try to work for 5 to 6 months in ad­vance with the de­sign­ers so that we know what ex­actly they will present and hence there are no blank spots.” The multi-brand re­tailer fol­lows the ‘80-20 rule’ that is 20 per cent of the de­sign­ers (mostly the old ones) as­so­ci­ated with Ogaan al­ways give 80 per cent of the busi­ness.

Price point is a very sub­jec­tive term for Ogaan, as for them, a brand is not just about the price, but also about its saleabil­ity… whether the per­cep­tion of the gar­ment matches the ac­tual price of the gar­ment. In case there is a vari­a­tion, then the de­signer is asked to sell the par­tic­u­lar en­sem­ble at a higher or lower price point. “We also see the po­si­tion of the par­tic­u­lar de­signer vis-à-vis other brands placed next to it on the ba­sis of price points and how in­tri­cate the work is and match price points ac­cord­ingly,” avers Sau­rabh.

The re­tailer works on the busi­ness for­mat wherein the mark-ups are up­dated au­to­mat­i­cally. Every store works on a cer­tain amount of min­i­mum rev­enue, as the store has to be prof­itable. And this is pos­si­ble only if the pool of de­sign­ers as­so­ci­ated are work­ing well. Every month, a des­ig­nated team works on the anal­y­sis of every de­signer and sees what all de­signs are work­ing well, for in­stance, if there are ‘x’ num­ber of racks, the racks have to give pro­duc­tiv­ity ir­re­spec­tive of how big the de­signer is. The team has set a min­i­mum bench­mark that a par­tic­u­lar de­signer has to gen­er­ate in busi­ness terms. If some de­signer is fall­ing be­low that bench­mark, they have to be re­placed by some­one else.

There is set agree­ment with every de­signer as they also do not want in­ven­tory. The team also gives feed­back to the de­signer ex­plain­ing the loop­holes as this keeps the sanc­tity in­tact within the re­la­tion­ship along with keep­ing the de­signer spirit alive. Ogaan is very flex­i­ble with its de­sign­ers and lis­tens to their feed­back too, not only in terms of price points but also in terms of what is sell­ing well in the mar­ket, what is be­ing pro­jected about the brand, etc.

RE­TAIL STORE: THE OGAAN FEEL IS SAME EV­ERY­WHERE

The multi-de­signer store works in a very or­gan­ised man­ner. There are min­i­mum 2-3 pieces of every de­signer show­cased in every store. But the fo­cus changes based on cus­tomers. For in­stance, Malcha Marg store has a di­plo­mat crowd and they gen­er­ally buy gar­ments that are sub­tle. Hence the store has more of pret and con­tem­po­rary col­lec­tion. For ex­clu­siv­ity, the re­tailer tells the de­sign­ers to cre­ate 50 unique pieces of Av­er­age Sell­ing Price (ASP) with dif­fer­ent colour par­i­ties.

Talk­ing about the rack place­ments in the store, Sau­rabh shares that it con­stantly changes depend­ing on the mood, sea­son, pro­mo­tion as well as in-store ac­tiv­i­ties. He ex­plains this con­cept by quot­ing an ex­am­ple, “If there are two de­sign­ers to be pro­moted, one will be placed in the front while the other will be placed in the an­gaan area for the next few days. Our job is to pro­mote the de­signer’s work by post­ing on In­sta­gram, send­ing out mes­sages to the cus­tomers, do­ing the area VM ac­cord­ing to the theme.”

“Even the feel of each store is very per­sonal,” says Sau­rabh. There are a lot of spe­cial things about the store as it fea­tures nat­u­ral stones and wax fin­ishes with nat­u­ral light and com­fort­able seat­ing space with large spa­cious chang­ing rooms. All the racks look the same and the smell of the store is same ev­ery­where. As there are dis­tinct de­sign­ers at each store, there­fore the dis­play is dif­fer­ent but the feel of each store is same. It can­not be var­ied ac­cord­ing to the sep­a­rate de­sign­ers rep­re­sent­ing the in­di­vid­ual stores.

ON­LINE v/s OFF­LINE

Since Gen Z is the new seg­ment for grow­ing brands, apps are used to cap­ture their loy­alty. Gen Z, un­like their mil­len­nial coun­ter­parts, dif­fer in think­ing. The abil­ity to touch and try on a prod­uct be­fore mak­ing a pur­chase is less of a con­cern. In­stead, the brand cov­er­age, so­cial me­dia pres­ence and over­all lifestyle affin­ity wins Gen Z. “Peo­ple shop on­line at their pace and peace. So, cu­ra­tion be­comes re­ally im­por­tant in terms of what is sell­ing and what is not,” says Sau­rabh.

More­over, while shop­ping, fac­tors like bright­ness, the res­o­lu­tion of the screen have to be taken into ac­count, as in this case, eyes are the only senses that are do­ing ev­ery­thing. “The res­o­lu­tion of the screen has to be bang on and that is why brighter colours sell more dur­ing on­line shop­ping,” rea­sons Sau­rabh. He also men­tions that bricks-and-mor­tar and on­line have to co-ex­ist to­day be­cause if a per­son is some­body’s bricks-and­mor­tar cus­tomer and later at a par­tic­u­lar mo­ment, he or she shifts over­seas, then that per­son will be­come the other per­son’s on­line cus­tomer as the brand’s good­will fol­lows ev­ery­where.

It is worth not­ing that the brand is re­tail­ing 70-80 per cent of the prod­ucts via on­line medium to for­eign coun­tries with a de­liv­ery time­line of 4-6 weeks.

OGAAN-CEN­TRIC EVENTS RE­FLECT THE BRAND

With re­tailer-de­signer col­lab­o­ra­tion be­ing the most trend­ing con­cept in the lux­ury fash­ion re­tail space, a new mar­ket has emerged wherein the re­tail­ers ask the de­sign­ers to cus­tomise the col­lec­tion spe­cific to their cus­tomer base. Such col­lec­tions are very ex­clu­sive and niche keep­ing in mind the style and de­tails that per­form well in the mar­ket.

Ogaan fol­lows this ap­proach wherein it con­ducts var­i­ous events at its prop­erty which are very Ogaan-cen­tric. Re­cently, the brand con­ducted Ar­ti­sans Bazaar at the Ban­jara Hills store in Hyderabad where 22 de­sign­ers par­tic­i­pated to ex­hibit their unique de­signs and art­work un­der the price band of

Rs. 10,000. The re­tailer part­nered

“We are al­ways look­ing at dif­fer­ent de­sign­ers and meet­ing new peo­ple. We pick up new tal­ents keep­ing in mind that their work should re­flect their souls and of course the ex­clu­siv­ity fac­tor should be present as that is what the cus­tomer de­mands.” – Sau­rabh Naithani, Buy­ing, Mer­chan­disng and Plan­ning Head, Ogaan In­dia Pvt. Ltd.

with LBB (Lit­tle Black Book) Hyderabad wherein the LBB peo­ple or­gan­ised the en­tire event.

Apart from Ar­ti­sans Bazaar, Ogaan also or­gan­ises events such as Sum­mer by Ogaan, Ivory Bazaar, Di­wali in the city and Ogaan at Oberois. The de­sign­ers are gen­er­ally asked to cre­ate some­thing very niche, el­e­gant and event-spe­cific re­flect­ing the essence of it. Gen­er­ally, for such events, about 10 de­sign­ers are hand­picked and asked to cre­ate en­sem­bles based on the oc­ca­sion, for in­stance, dur­ing Sum­mer by Ogaan, de­sign­ers are asked to make gar­ments of light colour hues such as beige, off-white, white and coral as cus­tomers pre­fer to wear light colours dur­ing sum­mer time.

“Our main aim is to pro­mote the event along with the de­signer in the best way pos­si­ble. We take weeks to ded­i­cat­edly pro­mote the de­sign­ers on var­i­ous so­cial me­dia plat­forms such as post­ing on Ogaan’s In­sta­gram han­dle,” ex­plains Sau­rabh.

Sim­i­larly, there is ‘meet the de­signer’ event in which cus­tomers are in­vited to meet the de­sign­ers in the store. “Cus­tomers have to seek ap­point­ments; we also fix ap­point­ments with de­sign­ers on be­half of the cus­tomer. They meet the de­signer per­son­ally and tell them about their choices and pref­er­ences. There­after, it’s the de­signer’s job to cre­ate some­thing very ex­clu­sive for the cus­tomer,” says Sau­rabh.

Tap­ping onto the fu­ture gen­er­a­tion, the Gen Z is eas­ier as com­pared to the mil­len­ni­als as they are very ex­per­i­men­tal with de­signs, work and sil­hou­ettes. But the fu­ture gen­er­a­tion is very mind­ful of pric­ing and this is the rea­son Ogaan of­fers its two-day event ‘Ar­ti­sans Bazaar’ where de­sign­ers ex­hibit ex­clu­sive gar­ments un­der Rs 10,000.

FU­TURE EX­PAN­SION PLANS

The multi-de­signer re­tailer is plan­ning to open a new store in Mum­bai in the up­com­ing months. Like­wise, it is also in­vest­ing in IT in­ter­ven­tions as the brand is get­ting fab­u­lous re­sponse in on­line sell­ing. “At Ogaan, we cre­ate cus­tomer en­vi­ron­ment. Our pri­or­ity fo­cus is not only on sell­ing but also on cre­at­ing that re­laxed ex­pe­ri­ence of shop­ping which brings the cus­tomers back ask­ing for more,” con­cludes Sau­rabh.

But the fu­ture gen­er­a­tion is very mind­ful of pric­ing and this is the rea­son Ogaan of­fers its two-day event ‘Ar­ti­sans Bazaar’ where de­sign­ers ex­hibit ex­clu­sive gar­ments un­der Rs 10,000.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.