Fashion Talk
Vaanee Bhatia

Vaanee Bhatia

Co-founder
Gritstones Clothing

Delhi-based Gritstones Clothing offers quality and exemplary style for trendy men and women. The casual brand offers t-shirts, denims, henleys, polos, shirts, shorts, track pants, tops, tunics, jumpsuits and dresses. Co-founder Vaanee Bhatia speaks to Fibre2Fashion about the company's venture into the retail sector after its success in the online market.

Fibre2fashion : Please take us through the journey of Gritstones.

Vaanee Bhatia:

Gritstones was started as a fashion youth brand five years ago, primarily to serve boys and young men with very fashionable clothing and trends at a very reasonable price. We are proud to have achieved that up to some level and continue to thrive further to provide better style to Indian men.

Fibre2fashion : After creating a storm in the online market, you have entered the retail sector with flagship stores. How has been your experience so far?

Vaanee Bhatia:

DB Creations is the parent company of the Gritstones brand. The company is into different verticals of fabric manufacturing and offline retail. We have partnered with Mr Button to launch their first ever flagship store in MGF Metropolis Mall at Gurugram recently.

Fibre2fashion : Tell us about your retail presence?

Vaanee Bhatia:

We launched Gritstones' flagship store in 2013 at CG Road, a prime locality in Ahmedabad, primarily to promote the brand in tier-II cities and make consumers believe in the brand and its presence online. We did succeed in building a substantial customer base in Gujarat, where our e-commerce portal attracts a lot of customers now.

Fibre2fashion : Which are the categories that you are into?

Vaanee Bhatia:

We are into casual T-shirts and casual shirts, primarily in sportswear category. We add 80-100 new styles every 45 days to our large catalogue of T-shirts. We are launching denims soon.

Fibre2fashion : Where do you source your garments from?

Vaanee Bhatia:

As we manufacture fabric, most of the garments are produced in-house. Some fabric is imported, while some are procured from domestic sources.

Fibre2fashion : It is quite a cluttered market for apparel - both online and brick & mortar. What is your USP?

Vaanee Bhatia:

Well, the fashion market is still unorganised in India to a large extent. There are many players now, especially due to rise in e-commerce. The USP is to provide very stylish clothing at very affordable prices. We do source samples from all over the world and work on them to provide those styles at cost effective prices.

Fibre2fashion : What are the price points that you retail at?

Vaanee Bhatia:

Gritstones is a very reasonably-priced brand. Casual vests start from ₹399, T-shirts from ₹499, and our causal jackets and sportswear go up to ₹1,999.

Fibre2fashion : What is your take on sustainability in the apparel industry?

Vaanee Bhatia:

The apparel industry has been one of the biggest segments in India. With e-commerce doing away with entry barriers, there have been numerous players now in the industry offering millions of styles at very reasonable prices. This has caused even big brands to cut down on price and turn competitive. Sustainability is important now more than ever. One that sustains now will grow in future.

Fibre2fashion : Which are your biggest online markets and what are your expansion plans?

Vaanee Bhatia:

Metro cities have always been ahead in adapting e-commerce but now, even consumers from tier-II and tier-III cities are coming forward in huge numbers. With the digitalisation push, we expect this to grow further.

Fibre2fashion : What is the Indian apparel market size in e-commerce industry?

Vaanee Bhatia:

The Indian apparel market in e-commerce is worth 2.4 billion USD today and is expected to grow 7 times to around 20 billion USD by 2020. It is expected to be 35 per cent of the total e-commerce industry.

Fibre2fashion : Which medium offers you better response - online or offline? What challenges do you face while dealing with both?

Vaanee Bhatia:

We are primarily into online medium at present. We have started expanding into the offline category, response to which will be known in coming years. Both the mediums are different and so are the strategies and challenges. In the online field, many new players are entering the market with competitive prices and it is a big challenge for every player to sustain now and grow further. The offline medium is new for us and we have to find a niche there for providing what has not been offered earlier. That itself is a big challenge.

Fibre2fashion : What are your retail and marketing strategies to reach more buyers?

Vaanee Bhatia:

Gritstones has been the lifestyle partner across India of promotional events of many Bollywood movies, such as ABCD 2, Noor, Hindi Medium, Raabta and Delhi's biggest Bollywood event 'Bollywood Mr & Miss India 2017'. The brand is launching a sportswear category with Pro Kabaddi League team Dabbang Delhi and is the official style partner of the team as well for the 2017 season.

Fibre2fashion : How do you see your market segment growing in the next few years locally and globally?

Vaanee Bhatia:

There is tremendous growth in the domestic as well as the international market. Due to digitalisation, online medium is reaching more and more people domestically. Also, Ebay and Amazon are offering Indian sellers platforms to sell their product abroad with much ease than ever before.

Fibre2fashion : What is the per cent of profit spent on R&D for competing with rest of the online portals?

Vaanee Bhatia:

There is no fixed per cent profit being spent on R&D. We are sourcing the best of branded clothing locally and internationally to keep in tune with the latest designs and structured fittings. We constantly work on our platform gritstones.com to give a very smooth order flow to the customer and are constantly focussed on improving customer service.

Fibre2fashion : Please share details of the last two fiscal years and your expectations from the next two.

Vaanee Bhatia:

We have witnessed a growth of 30 per cent year over year and are expecting that to be the same in the next two years. With huge competition coming in, we are happy to keep it steady.(PA)

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