"We are Targeting 50% Growth YoY for Next 2 Years" - Sanjita Prasad, Director, Ira Soleil
Sanjita Prasad, 54, always had an eye for forms and colours. During her college days in the early 80s, she would effortlessly patch up pieces of clothes and stitch them into separate frocks, kurtas or tunics and wrap them up in shiny bits of cellophane to send as gifts for her friends and family. Over the years, her eye for detail and beauty matured into a shrewd business sense, she says. And that’s what her office located in Andheri, a suburb of Mumbai, is all about.
Ira Soleil is a fusion ethnic women wear brand that is a unique mix of very modern silhouettes juxtaposed with traditional wood block and silk screen print techniques. The aesthetic is contemporary with a heritage twist.
Choice of fabrics is very unusual aimed at perfect fits with maximum comfort and a major part of the collection is made in Stretch fabrics. This makes it especially perfect for online purchase since not being able to try on a style before buying is considered the biggest problem faced by customers in selecting size.
The collection is designed for special occasions and the feel is luxury but the prices are honest and real.
In an interaction with BW Disrupt, Sanjita Prasad, Director, Ira Soleil spoke about her venture.
What ignited the spark for you to start the business?
There was no ignition, rather it was more of a slow burn. Sometime around 7th grade, I started to dream of a fashion destination, where women would get transformed, not just apparel but accessories and makeup.
What is the vision and mission of the company? What are some key corporate goals which you have decided for the coming years?
Vision: To provide an emotive sustainable environment for our employees and customers, with mutual trust and faith to help grow an Indian brand globally without boundaries.
Mission: To Synergize “Indian Heritage Design” with Global sensibility, and establish Ira Soleil as the “go-to” destination among cross culture global brands.
By year 2020 –
Brand should be available in all major Domestic Verticals
Approximately around 150 EBOs should be up and running in across all zones in India.
3 EBOs to be started in US ( East and west coast) and UK.
Brand should be present in online and offline verticals in USA, UK, Europe Singapore, south Africa and Australia.
What are some of the biggest breakthroughs and achievements for you as an entrepreneur?
The first international surf wear brand was Mambo, which literally fell into our arms during our first trade fair participation. This was the beginning of a long and very satisfying journey into global business. Launching of the Ira Soleil and seeing it shoot into orbit within months is definitely the biggest breakthrough we could hope for.
What is the company’s revenue and profit growth in the last 3 financial years?
Brand has been profitable since first year itself. We have grown from Rs 6.35 cr in 2016 to Rs 7.1 in 2017 to Rs 10.5 in 2018. Profit has grown proportionately. Average IBIDTA has been 7-9%.
How is the company projected to perform in the next 3 years?
We are targeting 50% growth again YoY for next 2 years, and then 35% in 2021.
How is the company raising capital?
So far debt funded. Going into market to raise funds this year.
How is the company ensuring business sustainability in long term?
Stable team, Stable channel partners, Stable financial planning will help push the company into 3 figures revenue within 3-4 years.
How are you as a leader inspiring change in the company?
The most dramatic change was effected in 2013 – when we took at pivot from exports to domestic sales. Effectively turning ourselves into start-up after 23 years into the export business. We are a fast fashion brand and almost every day we course-correct, in terms of design, positioning, pricing etc.
I and my partner and sister tend to make most decisions together so difficult to say who gets credit for what.
Please explain how your products and services are positioned in the market(s) that your company is serving? If there is a Blue Ocean strategy, please mention.
We believe that our foray into party-wear segment in fusion ethnic as a specialization of category is itself a blue ocean strategy. Until then other brands did include a few pieces with party sensibility into their collection but only boutiques and designers really catered to this market. Additionally the sensibility was traditional, whereas we make a very modern product which is more or a western-indo rather than an Indo –western look.
We do see many other brands entering into this segment now but yet remain in a monopoly vis a vis price structure, design and product mix.
What are the strategies and plans to expand the market share of the company?
We are the only brand in fusion ethnic category making knitted kurtis and anarkalis. This concept is totally out of the box and very modern to the concept of “traditional” wear. The main reason for easier market penetration is that we are the only fast fashion designer brand in mass market.
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