322 week ago — 9 min read
Some people are meant to pursue dreams. A life where they are not pursuing their passion feels amiss and the itch to realise their vision pushes them towards entrepreneurship. Mayank Modi, a finance and accounting executive at a corporate is now a self-taught designer with his label, Mayank Modi Fashions, in stores in Bangalore.
Mayank wants to make men’s fashion accessible while at the same time maintaining high quality standards that differentiates his clothing brand from the competition. Well regarded by fashion critics in Bangalore, he has had a few successful fashion shows and hopes to open stores around India and the world. His motto is, ‘fashion is not just about following trends, but projecting your personality’.
In conversation with GlobalLinker (GL), Mayank Modi (MM) shares his journey.
GL: Tell us about your business and how it came into being.
MM: I have studied Finance & Accounting from Christ College (Bangalore). I have never studied fashion and was working with Hewlett Packard in their finance division. I always liked to dress up well as my work required me to be dressed in formal attire. While I was working with HP my mother started a multi-designer store by the name of MOGRA in Bangalore for women’s clothing. I felt there was a lack of good quality and well-designed clothes for men. Since I already had a place to sell I thought of starting a menswear label of my own. I did not like to waste my weekends and would always look for something adventurous to do.
So, during the weekends I caught hold of a master and a tailor and rented a garage. I would give them work for an entire week and would supervise during my lunch breaks and after work hours. Slowly I had a collection of 15 pieces ready to go on the racks. The response was phenomenal and I could no longer concentrate on the work I was doing at HP. But I still had to continue working for another year to finance my new venture. At the end of the fourth year in HP, I quit and registered my design company as Mayank Modi Fashions. Since then I have never had a dull day at work. I love what I am doing but of course it comes with a lot of challenges. But once the designs are appreciated all the hard work is worth the sweat.
GL: What are the challenges you have faced in establishing your business?
MM: The first challenge which every new venture faces, is a to have a flow of funds to do what it takes creatively without worrying about where the next round of funding would come from. I took a small loan while working with HP but soon those funds ran out and I had to restrict my designs and had to expand slowly to ensure I had enough capital to reach the next level.
Also, since I had not been technically trained as a designer I had to learn on the job. I no longer had the support of a corporate job and had to self-finance my venture and ensure that I didn’t make too many mistakes. Another challenge I faced was marketing my designs outside of my store. Since my brand was not a mass brand and was also not a designer label, it has been placed in the mid segment category. There were not too many multi-label stores catering to menswear and marketing my designs became difficult. Most of the multi designer stores catered only to women and I had to do various pop ups and events at elite restaurants and other high-profile venues. Slowly some stores came forward and introduced me as the first menswear label they carried. This was very flattering as my designs gave them the confidence that they could sell menswear from their store. Since men’s fashion is still growing and has huge potential, in the coming years I am confident I have made the right decision in choosing my career path and would be happy to be India’s first private luxury label available to everyone.
GL: Do you believe that the ‘ease of doing business’ in India has improved?
MM: The ease of doing business has definitely improved in India. I know this firsthand from the fast approvals I got online to set up my business. I got my import-export license within a few days of applying for it. I did not have to visit any government office. There were no bribes involved. Now with GST coming into force things related to taxation are getting streamlined. However, there are lot of challenges still ahead and no two business can be considered the same. Some business have benefitted tremendously after GST. However, some others have suffered huge losses. In the coming years, I am hopeful that these things would be taken care of and that overall, doing businesses in India would be a happy feeling.
GL: What is the USP of your business?
MM: I am trying to create a sustainable menswear label accessible to all at the same time the designs are not produced for the masses. It’s a luxury label with intricate details and finest quality of fabric used at the price of good premium menswear brand available in the market. At the same time, all fabrics used are made of natural fibres. Dyes and prints used are natural and no harmful chemical are used while processing them. In shirts, I specialise in Mandarin collars. I am also developing bottom wear for men which would replace formal trousers and jeans. I call them ‘Pantjamas’.
GL: What are some of the milestones of your business?
MM: I have had a few fashion shows which have been appreciated by the fashion gurus in Bangalore. I have had customers who have been with me from the time I started my own label and they still wear shirts from my first collection. I really see this as a big achievement for the shirts to be appreciated like this. It has been about 5 years now and I am at least partly successful in creating a trend when it comes to a private label like mine. I don’t call it a designer label nor a brand. I call it a private label which is accessible yet carves a niche. Starting with making only shirts I have come a long way into making jackets, ethnic wear and blazers. My next venture would be to make bags, shoes, wallets and other men’s accessories under my label.
GL: What role do you feel GlobalLinker plays in connecting & assisting SMEs?
MM: GlobalLinker is a great initiative that helps SMEs find the right audience with their huge member base. The portal provides great support in connecting with like-minded entrepreneurs by creating a forum for discussion and interaction.
GL: What is your big business dream?
MM: I have a dream to open stores across the world which would take care of every fashion need of a man from clothes to bags and accessories. Mayank Modi as a label should be a one stop shop for great fashion and lifestyle advice for all the men across the globe. I also want to write a book which would be a bible for advice on fashion and living. Another big dream is to create awareness of sustainable fashion and harmful use of chemicals and other substances on mill made fabrics. All my designs use natural fibres and vegetable dyes and prints for production.
GL: What is your message to aspiring entrepreneurs?
MM: My message to aspiring entrepreneurs is that once you decide to do something, just do it. Don’t wait for the right time to start something. Once you have made up your mind, just start. There is no perfect timing or a perfect moment. Things will never be smooth. You have to play along and overcome hurdles step by step. Like they say –things happen outside of your comfort zone. Always remember the first thought that came to your mind before you started something. This will keep you going in the right direction.
Another very important message would be to never get emotional about your work. Something that is not working should be shut and then you should move on to something that works. Every product you create should have a beautiful story to tell. Inspire yourself to build a story in everything you do.
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Posted byGlobalLinker Staff
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