Started by a Mumbai trader, this fashion brand and textile business clocks Rs 1,300 Cr turnover
The late Vishwanath Agarwal was a textile trader for 18 years. He built a strong network in the industry and was also on the boards of some Indian textile businesses.
In the 1970s, Vishwanath saw that the textile industry in India was poised to become more enterprising and attain a global outlook. At the same time, he was also facing strategic and management challenges with the companies he was associated with as a board member.
One day, after a particularly discordant board meeting, he decided he wanted to tap into the growing textile industry himself. He made up his mind to start his own textile manufacturing facility.
This resolve led to the foundation of Donear Industries in Mumbai in 1977.
“My father was a visionary. Tapping into the growing market for textile, Donear became a household name along with other Indian brands. We became known for pioneering different kinds of fabric, continuous product development, and strong marketing,” says Rajendra Agarwal, Vishwanath’s son and the current Managing Director of Donear.
Today, Donear Industries is a well-recognised clothing and textile business brand in India. It claims to have a turnover of Rs 1,300 crore and a team strength of 5,000 employees.
Rajendra Agarwal, Managing Director, Donear
Donear follows both B2B and B2C business models. It supplies fabrics to other clothing brands, as well as makes finished products and sells it under its own brands. Based on colour, design, pattern, trend, and seasonality, it puts together a large range of textile products.
The company has a production capacity of around 55 lakh meters per month at its Surat facility. “We set up a liquid ammonia plant in Surat for manufacturing wrinkle-free cotton fabrics,” Rajendra says.
But like most companies have their set of hardships, Donear too faced one at its Surat plant. “Around 2007-2008, we found it difficult to stabilise our operations in Surat after the plant was completed. However, we eventually succeeded,” he adds.
Donear also has a unit in Silvassa. Together, these units produce fine cotton and poly viscose.
At the GBTL (Grasim Bhiwani Textiles Limited*) factory in Bhiwani, owned by the promoters of the Donear Group, GBTL manufactures polyviscose. Grasim Industries in 2017 entered into a share transfer agreement for the divestment of its 100 percent holding of GBTL, a wholly owned subsidiary, to Donear Group.
At the OCM (Oriental Carpet Manufacturers*) factory in Amritsar, also owned by the promoters of the Donear Group, OCM primarily makes worsted fabrics. In 2017, the promoters of the Donear Group acquired OCM. The Amritsar plant is equipped with water effluent treatment systems and helps Donear ensure sustainability.
“We are an active supplier of fabrics to India’s largest brands such as Louis Philippe, Van Heusen, Peter England, Blackberry, Arvind, Wills Lifestyle, Future Group, and more,” Rajendra adds.
In retail, Donear Group has a network of over 200 stores, marketing its apparel under the D’Cot and Donear NXG brands. Donear as a fashion brand has a product portfolio comprising Donear Suiting and Shirting, Royal Classico, Donear Cottons, Ferrino Mizzoni, iTR and Bronson.
Presently, Donear also exports fabric to over 28 countries.
“We have always looked to innovate, adapt, and upgrade our technology and machinery. We provide the highest quality fabrics to our customers. We follow stringent ISO certifications and protocol, and one of our labs has the advantage of being NABL-accredited,” he says.
Inside the OCM factory in Amritsar
Marketing and growth
Donear has a wide target audience. Rajendra says the company has something for everyone, and is reaching people through advertisements on television, print and digital media, and through hoardings and billboards. The business also engages in in-shop branding at the wholesale and retail levels.
“We have also put together strategic sponsorships by associating with Kaun Banega Crorepati on Sony TV, headlines on ABP News and ABP Majha, Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai, and IPL through the Sunrisers Hyderabad team,” he says.
The company is spending on digital platforms and liaising directly with the end customer. Many of its promotional campaigns are spearheaded through online contests.
“Apart from educating customers on fabrics and colours, we engage with them through a variety of ways on social media and through the Google Display Network to make them more aware of our brands,” he explains.
Donear has worked with an array of eminent brand ambassadors. Its brand Grado had Amitabh Bachchan, Donear used to have Hrithik Roshan, and Graviera and Donear NXG have Sushant Singh Rajput. “We wanted to highlight our brand qualities through the ambassadors and we feel the rub off has proved successful,” Rajendra says.
He admits Donear has competition in the market and is looking to stay ahead by doubling the production capacity in Surat.
Inside the GBTL factory in Bhiwani
“Our customers have liked the availability of a plethora of fabrics in a variety of colours and blends. These offerings are positioned along various pricing points depending on the fabric produced. Our growth plans will ensure we cater to an even larger audience,” he says.
Going forward, Donear wants to incorporate the latest technological innovations in its manufacturing units and renew its focus on its B2C business.
Third generation entrepreneurs Rahul Agarwal and Surya Agarwal are now set to take the family business to greater heights. Rahul currently looks after Donear’s apparel and retail business, while Surya looks after its worsted yarn division.
*Please note, these expanded names are no longer used.