One of India’s largest fashion retailers in the premium and luxury segment is, ironically, not a familiar name to the average shopper. Ask about Genesis Colors and you are likely to draw a blank. But mention Satya Paul and you are on familiar terrain. Designer brand trumps company brand: That is the Genesis business model.
Here’s how it works. Although founded in 2001, the Genesis story began in 2002 with the launch of a revamped Satya Paul. Named after the designer who created it in 1985, the brand had established itself in the Indian fashion firmament before it came under Genesis’s fold. But it was only after 2002 that Satya Paul scaled up to become, arguably, the country’s leading homegrown fashion brand in the high-end segment. And Genesis’s biggest success. It has 30 exclusive stores in India, the largest network for any domestic premium brand, and accounts for 30 percent of Genesis’s Rs 310 crore revenue (for 2012-13).
The scale is unique for the upscale end of the Indian apparel sector which is dotted with designers, many of whom are celebrities but often fail to create a successful business. This segment constitutes about 25 percent of India’s premium/luxury market, worth $5 billion, says Ankur Bisen, head of retail and consumer products, Technopak, a management consulting firm.
Given Satya Paul’s stature, Genesis could have stayed a one-hit wonder. But it didn’t let that happen. In 2008, it created Bwitch, a lingerie brand which is claimed to be the second biggest in its category and the fastest growing. Around the same time, it began distributing premium international brands through Genesis Luxury.
Of the 21 brands in Genesis’s portfolio—the largest of its kind—14 are from the luxury segment and include Giorgio Armani, Canali, Burberry and Jimmy Choo. It has 130 exclusive brand stores in 20 cities, and expects to cross Rs 400 crore in revenue in 2013-14.
THE MEN BEHIND IT
Genesis has three founders: Sanjay Kapoor, MD of Genesis Luxury; Jyoti Narula, MD of Genesis Colors, the Indian brand arm; and chief designer Puneet Nanda, Satya Paul’s son, who exited the business last year.
“This business is not rocket science,” says Kapoor. “It is all about execution.” A simple approach that has made them a favourite of foreign brands seeking partners in India. It helps that Kapoor and Narula had worked at Citibank and have a perspective on cost management. Genesis was not always the first choice but came in after the brands’ earlier partners failed to deliver.
The founders, along with Nikhil Mehra, COO of the luxury division, and Rajiv Grover, COO of the Indian brands division, are a team that Vikram Godse, MD of Mayfield Fund, says is the industry’s best. Mayfield invested in Genesis in 2008. “They have turned around international brands in India because they understand the consumer,” says Godse. This reflected in their search for retail space and in subtle refashioning of the products.
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(This story appears in the 06 September, 2013 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)