After the successful launch of Fabindia Experience Centre in Aundh earlier this year, the brand has now expanded to a second venue in Baner. Spread across approximately 8,698 sq ft, this Fabindia Experience Centre offers an interior design studio (IDS), which provides a range of services such as consultancy on layouts, mapping spaces and product customisation. The objective of the store is to make your shopping experience more interesting and interactive by introducing experts who will guide you to shop for the best in every department — clothing, interior, personal care, and everything else.
In an interactive session with Sakal Times, Viney Singh, managing director, Fabindia, shared some insights. Excerpts:
So far, how has been the response to the Experience Centre in your first location in the city?
It’s been really good. We used to have a store in Aundh which we shut down and launched our first Experience Centre in the city at another location in the same area.
Which section in the Experience Centre draws attracts most customers?
Womenswear is our biggest sale, but menswear too is equally loved, especially ethnic wear. Fabindia is a go-to brand for traditional wear, and this season is very good for us.
Last quarter, Fabindia planned to launch 30 more Experience Centres across the nation. How far have you reached with this plan?
We are going as per the schedule, this is our 17th Experience Centre so far. We are present in 12 cities of the country and have covered tier 1 and tier 2 cities, and will soon cover tier 3 cities as well. After we opened the Experience Centre in Aundh four months ago, we’ve launched it in many other cities including Amritsar, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Lucknow and Thiruvananthapuram. And from now till Diwali, which is not very far, we’ve planned to open eight new Experience Centres across the nation. Next up, we have our calenders booked to go to Coimbatore, Indore, Jaipur and Mumbai (Andheri). I think by the end of this year, we should have 40 new Experience Centres in total.
In the presence of so many competitors in the market, what new products will Fabindia offer this festive season?
It is a very active season for us and we do a lot of special collections for every festival. For Onam, Ganesh Chaturthi, Diwali and so on, we send special collections to separate stores according to the taste of the customers there. As our traditional wear is very popular, this year we have introduced a Western-fusion in menswear. There’s also a whole new range of products in every section.
Also, we have started our loyalty program (known as The Fabfamily Program), in February this year, where we already have 3.6 million customers enrolled as members. The objective of this initiative is to reward our loyal customers.
Beside the store, what we are strengthening a lot is our online channel. Our website has helped us grow by 50 per cent and this has helped our customers access products that are not available in the stores.
What is your take on other industries focusing on sustainability?
Sustainability is pervasive and very important, and Fabindia has always been a company which is purpose-lead and conscious about the environment. In fact, after the announcement of the ban on plastic and plastic products, Fabindia was the earliest adopter of all the conditions that the government has set. Till today, if you go to any Fabindia store, you will not find any deviation from the policies that the Government of Maharashtra has set. And not just that, whatever we have done in Maharashtra, we are rolling out into all the stores present across the nation. We are extremely aware of our responsibilities in the area of eco-friendliness and sustainability. And one of our core principles that we work on is to support livelihoods in rural India. Most of our products are non-industrial. We source most of our products from 60,000 to 65,000 different artisans, based in 25 states, across the nation. And most of these artisans are women, based in rural India. This is also one of the very important part of our philosophy.
So, can we say that these products are handmade as these are worked on and sourced from artisans?
Not really, but you’ll always find some handmade element in all our products. Some are totally hand-made, some are partly handmade, but there will be something that has been worked on.
How do you plan on expanding your offerings across various sections — women, men, kids, interior and others?
If you look at any of our businesses, we have a very wide portfolio of products that we sell. Beside different departments, if you look within the sections, we provide variety. Within women’s section, we sell ethnic wear, Western wear, fusion wear, accessories, footwear and a lot more. No retailer sells such a wide range of products, whether it is in clothing or home decor or anything else. If we talk about the newness here, we’ve introduced a service (called interior design studio), where the resident interior decorator helps you to shop the perfect fit for your home. From choosing colours to advising themes, they’ll help you finalise everything. We also provide home service, where the experts visit your home and help you organise it. And all these professionals are qualified in their particular area.
According to you, what are some must-haves this festive season?
There’s so much of choice that it’s hard choose one or two. Also it’s a personal choice and depends on the taste of the person. I like Indian crafts very much, so if I have to buy something, I’ll go for products in that range. And I can say that at Fabindia, you get genuine craft, and you can’t get the diversity we offer anywhere else.