In July 2018, I was a part of a team from Baggit (from design; manufacturing and sourcing) that visited China to explore opportunities to buy from China to compete better in the Indian market. Most of the competition, including foreign retail chains, were sourcing from China and aggressively discounting their Brands to gain market-share. Baggit, till then, designed and 100% made all its products in India for 30 years, before “Make in India” became a fad. The e-commerce boom added to pressures on Baggit.
I came back with the conclusion that we need not abandon our strategy of local manufacture to compete effectively. In fact, with better product planning; greater scale in manufacturing; better pricing and providing right assortment at retail depending on the customer profile of the store, I believed, we could win the battle of market-share. Our experience in the 9 months between Oct 18 and June 19 prove the point that one can succeed in fashion retail market in India without having to abandon local manufacturing, if other relevant factors mentioned above are taken care of.
We also launched Baggit in GCC countries in Nov 18 and the results are overwhelming. The sell-through ratios for Baggit at launch phase was better than anticipated, even though Baggit was sold at full price, when the other Brands were having their end of season sales. From 10 test outlets in 2 countries at launch, Baggit has grown to about 150 outlets in 5 countries in a short span of 6 to 9 months. It is competing against 15 other international brands ( mostly sourced from China ) and proving that we can build a successful international fashion Brand out of India. A large part of the credit should also go to our partner, the Landmark Group, without whose support, this would not have been possible.
Having tasted success in the GCC countries, we are now targeting addition of one major region every year to our exports basket. Africa; Latin America; Eastern Europe & South East Asia are promising markets for Baggit to explore.
If Baggit can do it in handbags, so can other Indian Brands in other categories. Basically, it calls for self-belief and making the required investments. Quality and Innovative Designs; Scaling up and improving efficiency; attractive pricing and reliable delivery schedules and right distribution partnerships are essential to succeed globally. Beating China in International Markets need not be just a dream. We can do it.