Nanak Sa­rees

VMRD - - Interview -

Mi­grat­ing to Pune, In­dia dur­ing the Indo-Pak par­ti­tion in 1947, De­va­nis were into agri­cul­ture. The head of the fam­ily started beedi mak­ing busi­ness that fetched him Rs 1 and 6 an­nas for 1000 beedi. This mea­gre earn­ings com­pelled him to look for bet­ter av­enues. He started busi­ness in 1952 with Rs 500, in 1951 he shifted from Pune to Gu­jarat, of which Rs 250 were his own sav­ings and Rs 250 were bor­rowed from his mother. This was the be­gin­ning of Nanak Sa­rees, a fam­ily-run busi­ness handed down as le­gacy from gen­er­a­tions. Chetan P De­vani’s fa­ther started the gar­ment stall and from there on the busi­ness grew and a store was estab­lished. Chetan has 6 broth­ers and 2 sis­ters. And Nanak Sa­rees is spear­headed and run by the 6 broth­ers and their 10 chil­dren out of a hum­ble vil­lage Chikli. The kids of the fam­ily have all stud­ied abroad and come back to the busi­ness with their learn­ings. “We are in Chikli from the last 44 years, and we started with a small shop and grad­u­ally we earned our­selves a strong busi­ness. Eight years back we had Gau­tam Sing­ha­nia visit one of our Ray­mond show­rooms be­cause we were the 4th best-sell­ing dealer of Ray­mond. He was as­ton­ished to know that we be­longed to a vil­lage in Gu­jarat with just a pop­u­la­tion of 10,000 peo­ple. He ex­pressed his grat­i­tude and ap­pre­ci­ated our ef­forts. He was ready to travel by bus and rick­shaw to meet us. This in­ci­dent only proves how far we have come in the jour­ney of suc­cess” Mr De­vani shares.

With a wide price range of sa­rees right from Rs 500 to Rs 50,000, Nanak Sa­rees is the one-stop shop for cus­tomers. And the ma­te­rial se­lec­tion is also ex­ten­sive. “Our busi­ness doesn’t just come from Chikli, we have cus­tomers from Bil­limora, Val­sad, Vapi, Su­rat, Bar­oda and even Mum­bai. In my view, re­tail is way more dif­fi­cult than a man­u­fac­tur­ing set up be­cause in re­tail you have to man­age ev­ery cus­tomer as well as your work force. And manag­ing staff in Gu­jarat is a huge chal­lenge as they are not very am­bi­tious, and are con­tent with what they get but some­how we have man­aged to tackle it right,” high­lights Mr De­vani.

Mr De­vani be­lieves that it is the strength of be­ing to­gether that has brought them this far. It is the rea­son be­hind their suc­cess­ful ex­pan­sion. They have more than 30,000 sq ft of re­tail space and are plan­ning to add an­other 16,000 sq ft, which is un­der con­struc­tion. “The new store is 16000 sq ft, base­ment, 1st floor, 2nd floor and 3 floor has my of­fice and stor­age godown; its 90% ready.”

Their cur­rent turnover is Rs 50 crore. “We have var­ied re­tail for­mats, some stores only of­fer sa­rees and fe­male wear, some of­fer suit­ing and shirt­ing for men. Some are multi-brand out­lets that house brands like Van Heusen, Dock­ers, Park Av­enue, Parx and ITC; we are au­tho­rised deal­ers of most brands in the coun­try. We have a lot of NRI cus­tomers; many a time they come here di­rectly from air­port, shop and then go home. We get NRIs from US and Eu­rope.”

Vishal Kehra­dia has de­signed all their stores ex­cept one. The up­com­ing store is also be­ing de­signed by him. “We be­lieve in his de­sign sense and his work. He is up­dated and knows the lat­est trends from around the world in the as­pect of store de­sign. He is a busy man. But his work is im­pec­ca­ble. For in­stance, we al­ways pre­ferred white lights in our gar­ment store, but he sug­gested warm white light which re­flects the real colour of the gar­ments. He has im­mense knowl­edge and cre­ativ­ity.”

Chetan P De­vani, Di­rec­tor, Nanak Sa­rees

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