Perfect Sourcing

Face To Face

Creating Niche in - Innerwear Segment PALASH OVERSEAS

Established with one set of machines in Indore, Madhya Pradesh in 1993, Palash Overseas started manufacturing men’s and kids’ underwear with the name 'Lips', with a per day production of 1,200 pieces. Today they have listed their company in the top ranked exporter’s roll with more than a lakh undergarments produced per month with one functional unit along with five associate units churning out their products. In the early days, the brand managed to get attention in the markets in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh and soon demand increased followed by production. Palash Overseas was at the peak of success when incompetence and lack of infrastructure along with disruption in their supply distribution resulted in "downed shutters" for the company in 1998. Shankar Bhudrani shares more with Perfect Sourcing in a one-on-one interaction.

PS:From underwear to garment to underwear again, how did this shift happen?
SB:We started our men’s underwear brand "Lips" in the initial days of business, which got great attention; however, we started facing problems in delivering quality and quantity on time and prolonged disruption in distribution resulted in a mechanism failure and we decided to wrap up the business in 1998. After a few years we revived the business, but this time we thought of trying our hands on garment like jeans and shirts. On 25th November, 2005 we entered the Dubai market with kids pants, jeans, baba suit and gradually things worked out. Today we are into catering to the overseas market with both underwear and garments.

PS:Which countries do you cater to?
SB:Our presence is majorly in Dubai, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen, Panama and a few more Gulf countries.

PS:Apart from underwear, do you have any plans to export other products too?
SB:We are into exports of hosiery fabric and related accessories to leading brands in the international market. Due to our policy of good quality at reasonable prices, we are one of the leading exporters of men’s underwear from India. Our sales increased year after year and now my son Ankit has also joined the company. We are working hard to take our company to great heights in the international market. We are adding more items in innerwear and increasing our customer base.

PS:Which technology are you using for efficient production?
SB:We are using latest Taiwanese machines for stitching underwear, which improves quality and production. We are installing automatic machines for stitching elastic bands which will improve the finishing of the underwear. Apart from this, we are looking at installing the latest dyeing plant for better and faster delivery of fabrics.

PS:Where do you think Indian brands stand in the innerwear market today?
SB:In my opinion, the Indian innerwear market is at its best time now. Leading Indian companies are bringing new varieties in all ranges daily and are getting overwhelming response. Quality is well maintained and companies are also getting good profits for their efforts. Indian hosiery has seen many ups and downs in past years but now it seems "Good Days" have come for the industry as customers are ready to pay good prices for good quality innerwear. Small cities are also giving good response in sales of premium products, which is a good sign. Leaders like Rupa, Amul, Dollar, Lux and many medium companies are increasing sales day by day.

PS:WWhat do you think is working as a "push factor" for them?
SB:All are doing very well due to consistent quality and good marketing skills. Companies are using latest machines and technology to upgrade quality and production. Customers are ready to pay for innerwear products for better quality and comfort. They prefer combed quality single jersey fabric products the most because of the comfort, the feel good factor.

PS:Which according to you is the most vulnerable area in the business?
SB:The most vulnerable area in this business is sales as the one who has a good sales network will be the winner. Nowadays, only aggressive marketing is the path to success.

PS:Do you think international brands are dominating the domestic market?
SB:International Brands are not dominating the Indian Market but they are showing Indian companies a better way to get good value from customers pockets and to earn a good profit. International brands like Jockey have shown Indian companies how to tap money from customers who are ready to pay for good quality. All Indian companies are now making Premium range for Indian Market. Indians prefer imported brands innerwear compared to Indian brands due to quality and comfort, apart from brand image also. They are ready to pay good value for good comfort.

PS:Where do you think the Indian innerwear market is heading?
SB:It is just the start of progress; many new varieties are being launched continuously to attract customers. The future seems very bright in the coming years. The market will grow and multiply.

PS:Do you think implementation of GST has affected the export business?
SB:Yes, GST has affected the export business as earlier we were getting refund of all VAT taxes; but after GST, we will not get any refund, which will increase cost of production and ultimately, it will slow down exports from India.

PS:What do you think is going to be the gen-next product for innerwear?
SB:The new trend in innerwear is stylish designer wear look with broad elastic tape in design. Nowadays, most companies are getting good volume business in MINI TRUNKS STYLE made in single jersey fabric. Companies that make best quality and designer wear items will get maximum business.