Pranay Sabharwal, Loco-motive Design Company: Creative house specializing in accessory design, product design & packaging

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Practically every fashion brand in the country today also has an accessories line and chances are that entrepreneur Pranay Sabharwal and his design house Loco-motive are behind quite a few of them. With marquee clients like Levi’s Denizen and Allen Solly, Loco-motive specializes in accessory design, product design, packaging, marketing and the conceptualization and execution of fashion photo shoots. Loco-motive’s work on the Deccan Chargers and Rajasthan Royals fan jerseys for Puma has won them praise from all quarters. We at YourStory.in recently caught up with Pranay to know more about the business idea and their work.

Pranay was also a finalist at the British Council’s Young Design Entrepreneur Awards 2011. To know more about the Young Design Entrepreneur Awards, click here. To follow the Young Creative Entrepreneur Awards on Facebook, click here.

Accessory design isn’t something that one immediately associates with an Indian design outfit. What’s your background and how did you get into this space?

That’s right, I guess. After school, I did my Bachelors in Design from NIFT Delhi and specialized in accessory design. I started my career as a visual merchandiser with Levi’s. But within 8 months of getting started, I met with an accident and was out of action for a while. Then, I moved to Bangalore and worked with Bulchee, a premium leather accessories brand for about a year and a half.

After my stint with Bulchee, I moved to a design company called Munch and set up their accessories division. It was a great learning experience as I had to also bring in the business. I managed to get brands like Westside, SF Jeans, etc. After Munch, I moved to Fiorelli and became their chief designer. There, we managed to come up with a complete range of accessories and handbags. I also started the men’s division there. That stint helped me gain more depth in terms of product management.

So, when did the idea of starting up creep in? What was the tipping point?

To be honest, it was always at the back of my head. After my stint at Fiorelli, I moved to Reliance Trends. This was 2006 and Reliance Trends was in the process of being set up. I was in charge of accessories and luggage. I travelled to China and handled all the sourcing and buying. So, when the store started, the target for the accessories and luggage division was 5% of the business. Within a month, it was clocking in 16%.

Next, I ended up as category head for accessories at MegaMart (Arvind Brands). It was a small team and soon, I realised that I had made the jump too soon. But I also realised that design was my forte and I had to get back to that. Thus, Loco-motive Design Company was born.

Who are your clients?

We work with some of the best brands and apparel companies in the country. The list includes Allen Solly, Levi’s Denizen, Fiorelli, Dicjam, Sports Media Limited and Puma. We were the ones who were responsible for the fanwear collection for Rajasthan Royals and Deccan Chargers IPL teams. We did all the jerseys, the backpacks and other accessories.

How has the journey been so far for Loco-motive?

Well, we’re a profitable company and we have a small but highly motivated team. We have about 4 people full time and there are also a couple of interns from NIFT and a consultant. We’re growing at about 80-100% year on year and we hope for it to only get better. As far as our work’s concerned, the Puma IPL jersey is easily the most popular item. Some of our in-store work for Allen Solly (in terms of displays and POPs) has also been highly appreciated. My personal favourites are the AIDS and breast cancer awareness keychains that we made.

We’re also in the process of doing some very interesting things. For instance, the concept of a “magalogue” (a magazine-like catalogue) was brought to India by Allen Solly and we conceptualized and executed the entire issue, including the photo shoots. That’s brought in a lot of enquiries. At the end of the day, we’re a design shop and we’re going to ensure that we never become a factory.

How was the experience at the YCE Awards?

It’s a great forum, really. Going to the finals and meeting all the finalists was a fantastic experience and we’ve already started exploring synergies with some of the people we met there. It’s great validation for design outfits of varying descriptions and since it manages to bring together some of the brightest young people from across the industry together, it was even more enjoyable.

We at YourStory.in wish Pranay and the entire team at Loco-motive Design Company much success. To see some of Loco-motive’s work, check out http://www.behance.net/loco-motive. Also, do let us know what you think of this story by writing to us at feedback@yourstory.in.

Sriram Mohan | YourStory | 22nd August 2011 | Bangalore

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