Brand of Satir­i­cal Takeover Obes­sion

Shoes & Accessories - - Contents -

Brand­less is rid­ing the fast-grow­ing wave of In­dian high-emd fash­ion, a wave that AANCHAL MIT­TAL nopes to cap­i­talise on. While same may look to skip rungs on thier as­cent to the apex of the re­tail world, Aanchal has al­ways wanted to learn from each step and be fully pre­pared by the time she com­pletes the climb. That meant ab­sorb­ing every­thing those at the top could teach her, and at NIFT she had ac­cess to few finest minds. Aanchal is a woman who is not afraid of risk, I chose to create prod­ucts that re­flected min­i­mal­is­tic de­sign and qual­ity of prod­uct while seam­lessly bend­ing with aes­thet­ics and is not gen­der or age spe­cific, she in­forms S&A's Dipika Cho­pra.

Tell us a bit about your back­ground

I was born and brought up in Delhi. I stud­ied leather de­sign from NIFT Delhi and worked on cou­ple of free­lance projects while in col­lege. I have in­terned at ex­port and de­sign houses be­fore start­ing Brand­less. Brand­less was born as a satir­i­cal take over brand ob­ses­sion amongst peo­ple where aes­thet­ics were paid lit­tle or no at­ten­tion. The core val­ues of the brand were put down to be qual­ity and aes­thet­ics. I chose to create prod­ucts that re­flected min­i­mal­is­tic de­sign and qual­ity of prod­uct while seam­lessly blend­ing with aes­thet­ics and is not gen­der or age spe­cific. Brand­less as a brand is old school in its be­lief and does not pro­mote fast fash­ion as a way of keep­ing pace with the con­stantly chang­ing fash­ion trends.

What’s your brand’s USP?

We be­lieve in cre­at­ing projects that are clas­sic min­i­mal­is­tic de­sign and high on qual­ity. Our prod­ucts are a blend of de­sign and func­tion­al­ity. A col­lege go­ing youth as well as their par­ent can use them or age bar­rier does not rule our de­signs. Our de­signs re­flect the user’s per­son­al­ity in­stead of the brand name over­pow­er­ing it. We of­fer an ex­pe­ri­ence than just a prod­uct.

Who is your tar­get mar­ket?

Our tar­get mar­ket is not re­stricted to a spe­cific gen­der, age, or pro­fes­sion. Any per­son who be­lieves in mak­ing a state­ment with­out go­ing over the top is our tar­get mar­ket.

What’s your set up like?

We have a team of kari­gars (ar­ti­sans) who we con­sider to be the back­bone of our Brand­less fam­ily. They hand­craft each prod­uct at our stu­dio where at­ten­tion is paid to minute de­tails. Also, we have strong sup­port team for mar­ket­ing, mer­chan­dis­ing, and man­age­ment as well. Over the time my team has be­come my fam­ily as we spend bet­ter part of the day with each other.

What spurs your cre­ative process?

I per­son­ally have al­ways taken a lot of in­spi­ra­tion from daily life prob­lems. At Brand­less, we find our in­spi­ra­tion in de­sign­ing prod­ucts to make daily life easy and that’s what ex­cites us. Ex­am­ple, we have de­signed a gad­get wrap to make it easy to carry hard drive, wires, etc. while trav­el­ling from one place to an­other, or our shaver’s kit that has loops to carry ra­zor, tooth brush, etc. and save them from get­ting spoilt with the bot­tles. My in­spi­ra­tion lies in ev­ery­day life. As a brand, I do not draw in­spi­ra­tion from any­thing tan­gi­ble in­stead it is from our daily rou­tine and the prob­lems we face in it. My aim is to solve those is­sues and make our life more or­ga­nized and easy through de­sign.

What’s your em­pha­sis on-crafts­man­ship or in­no­va­tion?

My em­pha­sis has been on cre­at­ing a bal­ance between crafts­man­ship and in­no­va­tion since both are the cores of the brand. De­sign is not just about beauty but a bal­ance between func­tion­al­ity and aes­thet­ics for me. That is what is dif­fer­ent between art and de­sign. Our in­no­va­tion is not re­stricted to just cre­at­ing new prod­ucts. We have de­vel­oped an eth­i­cal work en­vi­ron­ment as well. We aim to min­i­mize

Kindly tell us about the prod­uct lines. Also dis­cuss with us the new ones you will be launch­ing in the near fu­ture.

At present, we are do­ing sta­tionery, travel ac­ces­sories, travel bags, lap­top bags, and a lot more. We have lot of plans for near

fu­ture and will be di­ver­si­fy­ing into newer cat­e­gories soon. How­ever, we shall al­ways stay com­mit­ted to leather and might add more ma­te­ri­als.

What strate­gies have you adopted to ex­pand your pres­ence in the coun­try?

We work ex­ten­sively on our on­line pres­ence to reach ev­ery part of the coun­try. We aim at in­creas­ing our reach by re­tail­ing through con­cept stores all over coun­try.

What’s your over­view of the ac­ces­sories in­dus­try- from raw ma­te­rial to fin­ished prod­ucts?

Ac­ces­sories in­dus­try has grown a lot over time. Leather bag is no more just an of­fice and is con­sid­ered to be lot more trendy. Even in terms of raw ma­te­rial there is a lot of ex­per­i­men­ta­tion hap­pen­ing. How­ever, I still hope peo­ple un­der­stand the beauty of the leather and the ver­sa­til­ity of it.

Con­sid­er­ing that In­dia is still a price-sen­si­tive mar­ket, what chal­lenges does the brand face while de­sign­ing as well as launch­ing new prod­ucts?

It is very chal­leng­ing to reach the right cus­tomer and also build a re­la­tion­ship of trust. While de­sign­ing we need to keep in mind what would help us set apart from the mar­ket and reg­is­ter in our po­ten­tial cus­tomer’s mind.

On­line re­tail­ers, with deep pock­ets, have been sell­ing prod­ucts at highly dis­counted prices, and this has made a lot of brands quite un­easy. What¹s your view on their move?

For sure, it does af­fect us a lit­tle as it lim­its our reach but then we are not a mass brand. Our au­di­ence is niche and some­one who un­der­stands the value of a hand­crafted prod­uct.

How does your work dif­fer­en­ti­ate from its com­pe­ti­tion?

We are a part of your ev­ery­day life and not a spe­cific oc­ca­sion. We in­te­grate in your daily life and Brand­less prod­ucts don’t need a par­tic­u­lar out­fit or rea­son to carry them.

Which styles and cat­e­gories de­signs have been con­sis­tently per­form­ing for you? What are the rea­sons at­trib­uted to their suc­cess?

Our travel ac­ces­sories and sta­tionery do well for us. Ma­jorly be­cause it makes your life very con­ve­nient and or­ga­nized. Also, our duf­fel bags are our best­sellers ever since we launched. Its clas­sic pro­vides lot of space, light­weight and ba­si­cally a travel part­ner all of us wish for!

How dif­fer­ent is the de­sign trend in In­dia as re­gards to leather ac­ces­sories? What new trends are you go­ing to in­tro­duce?

De­sign trend in In­dia is grad­u­ally evolv­ing from reg­u­lar of­fice bag to ex­per­i­men­tal ac­ces­sories. Also, peo­ple are much more ac­cept­able to­wards newer brands and de­signs. They have started un­der­stand­ing the im­por­tance of de­sign and qual­ity over brands.

What pa­ram­e­ters will you be us­ing in choos­ing busi­ness as­so­ci­ates?

We do look at lot of col­lab­o­ra­tions and have done cou­ple of them in the past. We have worked with Dood­lage and de­vel­oped an ac­ces­sories col­lec­tion by in­te­grat­ing their aes­thet­ics with our de­sign sense. While choos­ing a busi­ness as­so­ciate, be it for col­lab­o­ra­tion for re­tail or de­sign, we make sure that we are in sync re­gard­ing the core val­ues. Even for off­line stores we care­fully choose con­cept stores, which go well with the brand aes­thet­ics.

What new in­no­va­tive de­signs or tech­nol­ogy can we ex­pect you to in­tro­duce?

We are work­ing on few new cat­e­gories and will be dis­clos­ing soon.

How do you see your brand be­ing po­si­tioned to­day in the In­dian mar­ket?

Brand­less has carved a niche for it­self over time in the mar­ket. To­day, we have built a re­la­tion­ship of trust with our cus­tomers for them to re­turn. Also, they do not shy away from plac­ing big­ger or­ders di­rectly through our web­site now. We have al­ways worked to­wards the ex­pe­ri­ence and have done our best to make sure the cus­tomer is sat­is­fied with what they pur­chase.

How do you strate­gize your dig­i­tal ini­tia­tives to gain brand vis­i­bil­ity?

We do not be­lieve in go­ing through the con­ven­tional PR route. We strongly be­lieve in slow and steady growth. We work a lot on our dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing and keep it re­al­is­tic. Any per­son see­ing the im­age should able to re­late to it.

Space scarcity and high rental have been the main hur­dles in set­ting up re­tail stores. How big an is­sue is this for you?

We are yet to hit the brick-and-mor­tar model. How­ever, we do not look at a typ­i­cal re­tail store, as it’s not very per­son­al­ized. When­ever we do it would be a much more per­son­al­ized space for our cus­tomers to visit and ex­pe­ri­ence Brand­less as a brand and not just pur­chase prod­ucts.

In what re­gions of the coun­try do you see more growth? And what¹s your growth pro­jec­tion?

We have a strong foothold in ma­jor ci­ties like Ban­ga­lore, Mum­bai, Kolkata, and Delhi. We are grad­u­ally spread­ing to Hy­der­abad, Gu­jarat, and Pune as well.

We see a lot of growth in the smaller ci­ties where the youth is be­com­ing more con­scious and gain­ing ex­po­sure in the time of dig­i­tal age.

What would be your roadmap for the next five years.

We hope to have a wider reach and lot more un­ex­plored cat­e­gories un­der the brand.

Aanchal Mit­tal

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