Mohawk was launched with just 10 designs in 2014, since then it’s available on all major online retailers and has done a good turnover. In terms of fashion, detailing, quality and construction, the products are ‘at par with the like of Hidesign and Da Milano’. But they are priced less than half of those brands, keeping in mind the expendable income of the TG on fashion, Aarti Mehta and Ipsa Bansal, both designers and co-founders of Mohawk, shared with S&A.
Aarti: Mohawk is a brand specifically meeting the office and light travel requirement of first and second jobbers, which form the largest contingent of customers today. It was launched with just 10 designs in December, 2014. Since then it’s available on all major online retailers and has done a good turnover of over a crore against the first year target of 70 lakhs. This figure is net sales figure not the GMV that most retailers quote.
Ipsa: Mohawk is unique in many respects from all existing competition. First and foremost, it is only focussing on a specific target audience ( age group 22-30) for its product range and has a sharply- focused approach to development of products for our TG. Secondly, in terms of fashion, detailing, quality and construction our products are at par with the like of Hidesign and Da Milano. But we are priced less than half of those brands, keeping in mind the expendable income of our TG on fashion. The major differentiating factor, however, is Mohawk’s approach of “You are your own brand”. We strongly believe that a Mohawk customer doesn’t need logos screaming out and emblazoned on their products, they are a self-confident breed. Mohawk products have no outer branding and yet it is immediately recognisable due to its unique design and material choices.
Manufacturing and production capacity
Aarti: We have an installed capacity of 200,000 bags a year in one unit. As Mohawk grows as a brand, we will make requisite additions to it.
Ipsa: Mohawk focusses on office fashion and light travel needs of customers. We have over a 100 designs in men, women and unisex designs with varied material, color and design choices. The good thing is that virtually all of our catalogues sell well depending on the geographical markets and its demographics.
Retail strategy and sales target
Aarti: Mohawk has been an online first brand as the rapid growth of e-commerce in India has thrown open many opportunities for unique and young brands to reach out to a large customer base. While doing our first year projections, we were conservative and firmly believe in rational spending on marketing activities and focussing more on engagement and our reach. We exceeded our sales expectations by 50%, over the next 3 years we want to take Mohawk to a minimum turnover of 10-12 crore annual, which means we have to grow about 200% every one of those 3 years.
Reliance on e-commerce
Ipsa: We are a product of online sales format and have great faith in the medium. Yes, like any other retail format it has its failings but the beauty of online retail is that it evolves much rapidly with minimum fuss or cost of upgradation. Globally, various technological advances are bringing the cost of upgrading lower and lower. It allows businesses like ours to evolve without burning a hole in our cash reserves.
Challenges in the industry
Aarti: Reaching out : With the clutter of brands, how does one reach out to their TG is the one big challenge that all brands face; Rapid change in trends: Earlier a trend would last at least 2 years or more, today 1 year is considered an extended term, so brands have very limited time to adapt and adjust their product offering ; Staying relevant without losing identity: This is the one that has done in many big names, Ed Hardy, Juicy couture etc are brands that didn’t change and became irrelevant . Levis is perhaps a brand that has changed and yet maintains its identity. We would want to be as durable as Levis, even if it means sometimes our thunder being stolen away for a season or two by comet brands that shine bright and burn easy to crash.