When Kishore Biyani’s Future Ventures (now Future Consumer Enterprise) invested in Biba Apparels in 2007, the Delhi-based women’s ethnic wear brand was doing sales of Rs 30 crore. When Future exited in 2013, Biba’s revenues had grown to more than Rs 300 crore; and new investors—Warburg Pincus and Faering Capital—spent nearly the same amount to buy out Future’s 25.8 percent stake. This deal valued the apparel-maker at about Rs 1,000 crore.
Biba has come a long way since 1988, when Meena Bindra, now 71, started designing clothes from her house. It leveraged the popularity of affordable occasion wear, and has built a presence across 65 Indian cities with 375 points of sale, including 150 exclusive brand outlets (EBOs) and 225 multi-brand outlets (MBOs). Biba’s salwars and kurtis have not only managed to compete with established local names in metros and tier-1 cities, but has also appealed to the aspiring middle class in tier-2 towns.
“Ten years ago this was an unorganised category with no brands,” says managing director Siddharath Bindra, founder Meena’s 39-year-old son, who is now managing director of the company. “We were the first national brand in the category, and this gave us the first-mover advantage,” he says.
Biba has a central warehouse in Delhi, but it sources raw material from textile belts across the country.
Following its success, many other players have emerged in the Indian ethnic wear market. Designer Anita Dongre’s Global Desi, which started in 2007, competes with Biba at the national level. While the latter may have higher revenues at this point, it isn’t growing complacent. In April, it launced a value-fashion brand Rangriti, which offers daily/casual wear in the range of Rs 500-Rs 2,000, to appeal to the masses. The company also plans to expand its premium collection ‘BIBA by Rohit Bal’.
The People Behind it
As chairman, Meena Bindra has a huge influence on Biba’s design sensibilities. She started the company with Rs 8,000 in her pocket. Her son, Siddharath, who joined the business in 1997, was inspired by her perseverance during the fallow years that ensued. Together, Meena and Siddharath have presided over a revenue growth of 35-40 percent in the last eight years.
Siddharath’s real achievement lies in the fact that he’s successfully taken Biba’s north Indian design sensibility to consumers pan-India. “He’s scaled up, but never lost the importance of product and sensibility,” says Vishal Mahadevia, managing director and co-head, India, Warburg Pincus.
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(This story appears in the 25 July, 2014 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)
Really this is very big achievement in ethnic wear.Clothing in India varies from region to region depending on the ethnicity. The ethnic wears market is expected to reach Rs 45000 crore by 2014 and this a big achievement for ethnic wear market. Contemporary ethnic wear or Indo-western wear – a more relaxed, contemporary and modified take on traditional Indian outfits – is gaining popularity.on Aug 7, 2014