After making deep inroads in the apparel market in India, women’s ethnic wear brand Biba Apparels Ltd is looking to the next step, extending its store network and branching into footwear to up its market share.
Biba, which means “pretty girl” in Punjabi, launched by Meena Bindra in 1982, has already reached a top line of Rs 500 crore (approx $70.4 million) and a 1 percent market share in India’s ethnic wear market.
With a current network of 256 stores across 105 cities, the brand is targeting a market share of between 4 and 8 percent. To reach a future top line of over Rs 3,000 crore, it plans to open 200 more stores in the next three years and is considering entering new international markets like the Middle East and South East Asia.
Siddharath Bindra, managing director of Biba, talks to FashionNetwork.com about the company’s growth, expansion plans and the product diversification that will take it to the next stage.
FashionNetwork.com: The Indian ethnic wear market is estimated to be over $10 billion, however very few brands have managed to tap the full potential of this market. What is your assessment of ethnic wear as an early entrant in this market?
Siddharath Bindra: The market opportunity keeps getting bigger and bigger as in our category the unbranded space is large. There is a lot of consumption yet to happen. A rough estimate would show that despite being a market leader we control only about 1 percent of the entire ethnic wear market in India. If one looks at some of the top brands globally, they control between 4 and 8 percent of the market share and hence the opportunity at hand is large.
FNW: Please share your expansion plan for the brand in India. Which markets are you looking to tap next for growth?
SB: Over the years, the brand has not only grown in a number of outlets and its presence in stores but also extended its product portfolio from just being a women’s wear ethnic brand to expand its horizons in kids wear with Biba Girls, and recently introduced Biba Jewellery segment as well. So Biba has come a long way from being just another ethnic wear brand to becoming the leading ethnic apparel brand in the country. For now, we are waiting and analyzing the customer demands & based on the same we will progress ahead. Our main markets of expansion at the moment are Tier 2 & 3 cities as there is great potential in these markets. We have over 650 districts in India and women across wear Indian attires hence the opportunity to grow and expand in these markets is big.
FNW: How much do the online channels contribute to Biba’s sales?
SB: Biba sells through its own portal and online e-commerce websites like Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, Jabong, Shoppers Stop, and others. Currently combining both Biba’s own e-commerce site and other online channels contributes to around 15% of sale.
FNW: Any plans to go international? If so, which countries are you targeting for your international expansion?
SB: It is definitely on the cards. The Middle East and South East Asia are markets we are considering. We are already available in Nepal and Mauritius.
FNW: What about diversification of portfolio? Which are the new categories you plan to add going forward and when?
SB: We have introduced jewellery last year and the response has been great. We are doing a pilot with footwear in select stores this season as the idea is to provide the women a complete look at Biba.
FNW: What is the kind of growth the brand has witnessed since the launch of your premium category? Tell us about the collaborations you have with the fashion designers and plan going forward.
SB: There’s definitely a positive uptake ever since we launched the premium Indian wear and this is one of the highest contributing categories. We had collaborated with Rohit Bal and Manish Arora in the past and the range was very well accepted by our patrons. We also have collaboration with Anju Modi. Going ahead there will be more collaborations as they help provide a different design language and cater well to the luxury segment.