Salona Cotspin Limited, a Coimbatore based textile company metamorphosed into a garment manufacturing brand with the entry of the younger generation in a traditional family run business. The brother sister duo Raghav Agrawal and Saloni Agrawal speak about how their exposure to west, academic training, modern technology and a keen business sense that runs in the genes were instrumental in shaping up the dreams that they could crystallise through their brand “Newrie”. Focus on value addition is the quintessential missing piece in the Indian textile story that has been focused on commodity supplying. This story is an inspiration for many of the next generation entrepreneurs and even first-generation entrepreneurs to dream big and make use of the opportunities that the new age technology revolution and ease of e-commerce is opening up.
‘Newrie’ is the brand that was launched by Salona Cotspin, which is focused on knitted and woven, ethnic and western lowers for ladies. The USP is subtle colours which promoters say ‘are taken as a leaf from British Culture’. The ‘lowers’ cater to the requirement of a wide variety of age group from girls to women (15-60 years).
‘Newrie’ brand: from Idea to existence
The next generation entrepreneurs at the company wanted to move from commodity to garments. However, moving from spinning, knitting and fabrics to garments that too launching your own brand requires vision, clarity and courage. Armed with confidence and clarity and a pulse of the market, the brother sister duo Raghav and Salona worked closely with their father and uncle to drive the concept behind the brand.
The idea of bringing a bit of British culture and taste and for creating a ‘bottom wear brand’ as a USP for Indian market is a new concept. Raghav, an alumnus of SRCC, New Delhi and a Masters’ from Westminster University, London, feels very comfortable in the concept. Whether the colour schemes and subtlety will get an acceptance in India, well known for vibrant colours and patterns, Raghav confidently assures that the “taste will develop”.
Having travelled the world, and comfort in dealing with anyone, understanding the new age e-commerce business ideas helps Raghav, whereas Saloni’s academic and professional training in IT sector and work exposure helps in handling the systems that are required to maintain the requirements of a textile brand.
Retailing good quality affordable garments as value proposition can be challenging but the fun of doing the business for the brother sister team begins here, as the millennials are not satisfied with only commodity sales. However, commodity sale is very different from ‘Newrie’ product sale. “Forward integration, getting into the market and trying to map the mindset of end-customer is a delight as well as a challenge” says Raghav with gumption that can inspire many young entrepreneurs who are into textile business like himself.
When asked if it was difficult to convince the family, he said it was not easy, but he had support of his uncle when he proposed entry in this direction. “Diversification, value addition, and providing lot more jobs in the sector is what will serve everyone well” says Raghav, binding the aspiration for a young emerging India.
How of the Newrie brand: Brick and Mortar or E commerce
So, once the product was decided ‘bottom wears for ladies that caters to 15-year old to 60 year includes jeggings, treggings, pencil pants, and palazzos’, the ‘how’ of reaching the end customer is a very important step in the business. Saloni brings the understanding of the mindset of the market and is excited about handling the product-consumer angle. She is equally comfortable with handling HR and IT. She says “E-commerce is already creating waves and riding that wave is important”. While the competition in textile sector is immense, a good brand that caters to any age group and is stylish, affordable and has plenty of choice has the potential to go a long way.
‘Newrie’ is available in chosen cities in New Delhi as well as in Chennai and Coimbatore. However, the online store ‘Newrie’ is accessible to anyone in India, besides being also available on e commerce sites.
“My experience abroad and understanding the culture participating in the fairs around the world, I can take our value proposition anywhere where it finds ground and articulate it effectively”, says Raghav. The company is wanting to be fully forward integrated and is wanting to create the entire chain under one roof as a concept. Textile market is competitive, but staying ahead requires a number of things working in tandem, ability to cater to the demand, and keeping the customers happy and the company is working on getting it to move in that direction.
Company’s Sustainability Standing
Salona Cotspin takes pride in depending upon renewable energy for much of its energy needs, both solar and wind. While the brother sister duo could have focused the conversation on the product, it is fascinating to see that they made it a point to mention that sustainability remains a foremost commitment and the dependence on renewable energy is a matter of pride for the company.
Lot of importance is given to relationship with the buyers as well wherein they are encouraged to plant a tree during their visit to the facility. The buyers are happy with this initiative and are keen to water the tree during their next visit. Raghav believes that as the tree grows the relationship with buyer grows too.
About Salona Cotspin
Salona Cotspin is a listed textile company that has an established manufacturing presence in Coimbatore-Tiruppur, Tamil Nadu. An established name for yarn, fabric and finished product, the company took a leap to establish its own brand ‘Newrie’.