Branding has become a viable option for textile, garment units

TEA trying to establish sustainability tag for garments made in Tiruppur

In the recent years, the textile and garment industry in Coimbatore region is seeing a trend of manufacturing companies launching their product ranges in the domestic market under brands.

The region has well-known branded textile retail outlets that have expanded their network and in the past has had some well-known branded products too. Though there are challenges in building and sustaining a brand, for the new launches, e-commerce and better awareness among domestic consumers are proving to be an advantage.

Both, large groups and smaller companies are launching their own brands for the domestic market and have started selling online.

According to Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO of Retailers Association of India, “It does make sense for businesses to brand and sell their products in the domestic market.” In several cases, the brands that are large started in a small way. It is easier now to create a brand as there are several possibilities to sell online. However, to sustain the brand, the promoters should know all the aspects of the branding exercise, where to position the product in the market and target the gap in the market.

“If SMEs start without understanding what it is to brand, they can get into trouble. They should know how to differentiate their product , fulfil the gap in the market,” he says. The advantage of having their own brand is industries can create value and get higher realisation. When manufacturers supply to some other brands, the realisation could be relatively less.

T. Kumaravel, vice-president (sales and marketing) of Premier Fine Linens, says the Blue Dahlia range of bed linen products were launched about a decade ago. But, it was for a closed group of customers. As customer demand increased, the company decided to have a Blue Dahlia outlet, which was opened here recently.

“It is already recognised as a brand on e-commerce and among premium hotels through our institutional sales.” Since the entire range of products are made in-house, it is easier to control quality. “We want to grow steadily. We will open a couple of more stores in another two to three years,” he says. Customers want value addition. For instance, if it is bed linen, they want speciality finishes. Similarly, there is a big demand for organic products.

Domestic consumers prefer the branded products that give quality and value addition at affordable price. “When expectations of domestic market is equal to export market, why not serve it,” he says.

Managing Director of KPR Mill P. Nataraj says the company launched Faso range of products for men after contemplating about it for five years and market studies. Currently, probably only about 10 % of consumers in the domestic market go in for branded products. But, brand awareness among the younger consumers is growing. “The future is in branding.” Companies that have integrated production facilities have an advantage as they can go in for various special processings and it is possible to monitor production at every stage.

Raja Shanmugham, president of Tiruppur Exporters’ Association (TEA), explains that the garment units in Tiruppur are of various categories. Some supply to national and international brands that sell in the domestic market and some are going in for branding. In the last two years, there are efforts of at least 100 garment brands developing. Those who are economically sound are going in for branding. The availability of e-commerce portals has helped businesses brand their products. They need to make minimum investments to launch their brand online. As the domestic market is growing, companies are eyeing the opportunities, he says. “The ultimate success for industries will come from branding,” he adds.

The Association is also trying to establish a sustainability tag for garments made in Tiruppur. It involves documenting processes and getting approvals.

According to an official source here, there are no special schemes from the Government to support textile and garment companies to brand their products. However, the industry has also not made such a demand.

A garment exporter who supplies to a foreign brand that sells in India says there are issues in asking the Government for support to brand products. “Branding a product depends on the growth of an individual company. It is difficult to seek Government support for it. However, with e-commerce growing, small and medium-scale manufacturers can also brand and sell their products online. Branding has become viable to SMEs now,” the exporter says.

Textile expert D.K. Nair, says all the stakeholders in the industry understand and agree the need to brand textile and garment products. “Branding is essential and it has scope too in the domestic market. But for manufacturing units to sustain the branding exercise, they need to scale up.” Branding requires optimum investment. The brand should be built to have a value. It needs resources. To float a brand, the company should be large enough. Otherwise, manufacturing units can get into consortiums and develop brands for their products, he says.

Source: The Hindu, India
Monday, 30 September 2019

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