Starting from a 500-sq ft saree retail store, here’s how Delhi-based Odhni records Rs 80 Cr turnover
Odhni was founded in 1999 as a saree retail store. Twenty years down the lane, the company deals in lehengas, gowns, suits, Indo-Western wear, and more, and records a turnover of Rs 80 crore.
A strong bonded family relationship when turned into a partnership, builds an empire and the love between the sisters-in-law duo, Anju Jain and Shashi Jain congruously depicts the same.
In 1999, willing to do something different from an already existing family business and observing the gap in the Indian fashion market, Anju and Shashi launched Odhni, a women ethnic wear brand.
In an interaction with SMBStory Yatin Jain (37), Director of Odhni, says,
“My mother and my taiji (aunt) started from a small 500-sqft saree retailing store. They wanted to step out of the house and use their time and talent, and my father supported them. He poured in Rs 15 lakh from his savings and Odhni was started.”
Edited excerpts from the interview
SMBStory: What is Odhni? How was the business started?
Yatin Jain: Odhni manufactures and sells ethnic women garments including suits, sarees, gowns, Indo-Western kurtis, and accessories. Odhni’s flagship store, covering an area of 20,000-sqft is located in Pitampura, Delhi, and is one of the largest retail stores of women apparel in north India.
All our products are aesthetically designed and crafted, keeping in mind the latest fashion trends. These are appreciated by women of all ages for their artistic excellence, blended with creative usage of local embellishments, and contemporary prints. Moreover, with the help of our logistics capabilities, we have been able to cater to a vast clientele in the domestic and international markets.
Odhni was started when my mother and taiji decided that they should use their time and talent in something that can act as a creative outlet. After deliberations on numerous things that they could do together, the duo zeroed down on starting an ethnic wear store.
After taking feedback from the people living in the vicinity and providing them with their collection, they bought a 500-sqft store near their home and started out on a journey that was full of excitement and challenges.
In the early stage, they both realised the importance of experimentation in ethnic wear and lived up to the demand. The understanding of the market needs saw them grow exponentially.
Later, Puneet Jain (my cousin) and I entered the business when we were still in college after which my mother and taiji happily passed on the responsibilities to us.
We passed the trust test as Odhni expanded to three exclusive stores in Pitampura, Vikas Marg, and Kohat Enclave, all covering a combined total area of 50,000-sqft. store and a team of 400 people.
Today, Odhni records an annual turnover of Rs 80 crore.
SMBS: Where do you manufacture Odhni’s wide range of garments and source materials from?
YJ: We manufacture some of our ranges by giving designs to weavers across Farukkabad, Mumbai, Surat, Kolkata, and more. Our entire range is outsourced. For example, we tame readymade and cotton sarees from Mumbai, Chikankari and Resham sarees from Bareily, Bandhani and Pachola sarees from Bhuj, silk from Coimbatore, Ikkat from Sundernagar, etc.
We travel for 15 days in a month and take materials and products from weavers and wholesalers located across these regions.
SMBS: How are you surviving in an ecosystem where people are moving towards online shopping?
YJ: In India, everyone wants to look different and hence, there is a lot of scope in this Rs 1,00,000 crore market. Ethnic wear is a category where people want variety which an online space cannot provide.
There is a lot of exclusivity in ethnic wear and people want to touch and feel the clothing before making a purchase. Only the description and information about all these things can be provided in an online medium and hence, we do not fear the market drift to online spaces.
However, staying at par with the industry trends, we are present in online spaces like Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, Paytm, Limeroad, and many more, but our range of collection varies on these portals.
SMBS: What are your challenges in terms of sustaining and growing the business?
YJ: The utmost challenge in growing a business is the expansion of stores and sustaining the success in the market. Another one is to keep ourselves updated with the latest trends. It requires a study of people's mindsets and then coming out with products that pass the test of discerning customers. Anyone who understands the latest trends, demand will keep sailing.
The question reminds me of an incident in our journey where we would have lost all our enthusiasm and would have wrapped up. It was a time when the Delhi government ceiled all the shops in the market including ours. We were left disheartened till the edge.
Other entrepreneurs were selling their stock at throw-away prices. The wholesalers and suppliers were in a dilemma as their payments were blocked. But we didn’t do that. Instead, we put up a shop on e-rickshaw outside our store and started selling the products. We even used the space in our house where customers would visit and buy garments. We didn’t block any payment but purchased new stock in advance.
Challenges are inevitable in any business and one must not step back. Instead, face them and grow.
SMBS: How are you using technology in your business?
YJ: We are using technology in inventory management, order placement, and replenishment to refill and restore our material. It helps us to keep a real-time track of stock availability, 360-degree view of the consumer, and heeding the voice of the customer in service development. Digitalising the B2B operation gives fashion brands the opportunity to become more efficient in producing various collections.
SMBS: What are your future plans?
YJ: Odhni is aiming to achieve a target of Rs 1,000 crore revenue by the year 2025, along with expanding to 30 stores across north India. Apart from that, we also want to cater to other needs of the customer such as jewellery, make-up artist, accessories, etc.
(Edited by Suman Singh)
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