BRANDING ‘MANTRA’ FOR KHADI GROWTH

Chairman VK Saxena of Khadi and Village Industries Commission in an exclusive interview to Urban Vaastu looks at whole gamut of his organization after he took over as Chairman in October of 2015. Involved in planning, promotion, organization and implementation of programmes for development of Khadi and village industries in rural areas, he outlines his strategy:

Words: Team Urban Vaastu

How far will Khadi and Village Industries Commission promote khadi products from different brands like Raymond in time to come? How is KVIC leveraging from these tie-ups?

With changing times, consumer’s choice and preference shifted towards branded goods. Today branding brings higher sales and profit.

KVIC with aggressive marketing strategy has tied up with global brands like Raymond–Aditya Birla Group, Peter England–JK Group, Arvind etc.

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for promoting Khadi readymades and designer apparels to popularize eco-friendly khadi products and provide a global edge for widening the virtues of the hand spun, hand woven ethnic Khadi products. The benefit ultimately percolates to poorest of poor spinners, weavers, and stake holders of KVI Sector.

What other brand/brands are in pipeline to adapt this indigenous fabric into their garment line?

Tie-up arrangements with other popular brands like Peter England, Arvind, Van Heusen etc. are being explored. Designers of international repute like Ritu Berry and others are being involved for creating designer khadi readymades and apparels that will be sold under popular Khadi brand names.

Is adapting Khadi a cost effective and viable option for brands?

Yes. Khadi cost-effective and viable option for brands because:
1. Branding potential source for higher sales and profit growth.
2. Demand for branded goods in domestic and overseas market rising.
3. Hand spun and hand woven khadi products produced in rural India are unique being eco-friendly, green, with zero carbon footprint and favored by buyers from all sections of society.

From designer goods to simple low-cost men and ladies wear, khadi has a commendable market share for these unique products.

4. Effective marketing of branded khadi goods not only is a revenue generator in short run, but brings economies of scale in the long run

Sourcing in India. How challenging is the same for brands and designers?

The Khadi & Village Industry Sector is a highly-decentralized sector with production units spread across the country. Hence while sourcing could be a little stress-inducing, availability of online data bank of KVI products helps navigate sourcing of choicest goods at competitive rates. Producing institutions have arrangements through KVIC for ensuring consistent supply of quality goods at any point of time.

Tell us a little about the Khadi lounges.

KVIC has exclusive modern high-end khadi outlets – the ‘Khadi Lounge’ at Mumbai and New Delhi. It showcases elegant, stylish, best handcrafted designer garments and exclusive fabric and readymade for men and women which will satisfy khadi lovers. The designer wear includes high fashion garments including ready-to-wear apparels designed by Ritu Beri, an acclaimed international fashion designer.

This store will provide Khadi a niche among fashion conscious urban khadi lovers and trend conscious youth with modern hand spun fabric and garments. Khadi lounges to be opened at Goa, Jaipur, and Lucknow shortly.

Would you want international brands and designers to adapt to khadi on regular basis? If so, how will they deal with KVIC?

KVIC wants international brands and designers to adapt to khadi on a more regular basis through initiatives in “Design Development” by collaborating with premier institutions like NID, NIFT for Design Interventions, brand-building and also introducing ‘Khadi Mark’ as a stamp of guarantee for purity and genuineness of khadi products.

Khadi production has led to new generation of entrepreneurs of international standards through PMEGP Scheme.

Latest technology and infrastructure to khadi spinners and weavers at ground level is also being provided.

What is KVIC’S retail presence like? Any expansion plan offline and online?

KVIC has 7 departmental sales outlets and 7,050 institutional sales outlets across the country.

KVIC is also modernising sales outlets giving facilities like cashless digital payment through Paytm, E-Wallet has been introduced in Departmental Khadi showrooms.

KVIC has tied up with Paytm for online e-commerce marketing of KVI products and further tie-ups with other e-Commerce companies in pipeline.

What are the government policies you are expecting to take khadi to its higher level of success?

KVIC receives its funds from Central Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) under heads of Khadi grant and Khadi loans. Khadi funds are for providing Market Development Assistance and subsidy to banks in providing loan to Khadi institutions at concessional rates of 4%.

In addition, funds also provided under assistance from Asian Development Bank for Capacity Building of Khadi sector which involves modernization, computerization, face-lift, training, e-commerce and capacity building, product cataloguing etc.

The funds allocated for 2016-17 under Khadi are Rs 371.67 crores which include Khadi Grant & MPDA.

How far do you see khadi progressing in the next three years?

Efforts are on to double khadi production and KVIC reconfirms its commitment towards Make in India initiative aligned with Prime Ministers vision for khadi.

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When the rage is more to do with fast fashion the world over and trends are changing, don’t you think adapting to khadi will set garment industry behind as it forces them to adapt to an idea of slow fashion? Can we say then Khadi fabric of the future?

Khadi has its unique market share as traditional Khadi lovers are committed to patronize eco-friendly handspun and hand-woven khadi. With aggressive marketing by KVIC, khadi definitely will have a larger market share in future.

Khadi no more a redundant fashion fabric with collaboration with international brands and designers and Design Development with premier institutions like NID, NIFT etc.,

making it a fashion trend amongst khadi lovers of all age groups.

Design interventions, brand-building and introducing ‘Khadi Mark’ as stamp of guarantee for purity and genuineness has boosted market share of Khadi. Khadi definitely a global fabric of the future given consumer choice and preference for khadi products with its eco-friendly, ethnic, zero carbon footprint,

STILLBIRTH KHADI-DENIM?

khadi_denim_fabric_nat_indigo_01Handspun khadi sharply contrasts with denim. Yet the two being woven together fascinated a billion-dollar denim market.

Arvind, India’s largest denim manufacturer, brought khadi-denim fabric to market after four years of research hoping to change the way we dress and look at ourselves.khadi_denim_fabric_natural_01

Denim makes fashion statement while khadi kindles memories of Mahatma and Independence. Straitjacketed khadi finally got a good partner in denim to marry thanks to Arvind. This gave hope for khadi revivalists.

Arvind’s khadi-denim twill fabric is soft and beautiful. Yet its production a few thousand meters only. Khadi-denim lacks glamour like conventional denim. Will modern consumers give it a thumbs up? Time can tell.

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