Hand-crafted for trousseaus
New Delhi based label Megha & Jigar blends India's unique handcrafts with traditional and contemporary styles. Designer Megha Kumari talks to Fibre2Fashion about the major achievements of the brand since its launch in 2013, the branding strategies the label implements and the new product categories lined up ahead.
Fibre2Fashion: What is the story behind founding of the brand?
Megha Kumari & Jigar Mali:
Both of us (co-founders Megha Kumari and Jigar Mali) had an eye for design and detail from the very beginning. As a fashion designer, I always envisioned myself as an entrepreneur and after entering the world of couture, creating this label was a perfect opportunity for me to infuse my business and design dreams together wherein, fashion designer Jigar Mali, always dreamt of being in fashion. Since his early school days, he was so keen on designing that he used to redesign the outfits he saw in the magazines of the then Miss Universe, Sushmita Sen, and Miss World Aishwarya Rai. During his college days, he aced at designing and sketching and also started designing costumes for commercial films.
However, when both of us met in college at JD Institute of Fashion Technology, Delhi, we soon came together to infuse our unique blend of embellishment with rich colours, delicate forms with the structure to create label Megha and Jigar with an aesthetic that is traditional and royal in its treatment yet with a contemporary modern touch. Refined luxury, meticulous tailoring, and classic elegance is our signature style.
F2F: What categories is the brand into? Who is your target audience?
We are only into womenswear, and our target customers are brides, bridesmaids, and all wedding couture.
F2F: Which category sells the most? What is the price point of the clothes?
Lehengas and shararas, bridal couture sell the most. On an average, our price point is between Rs 50,000 - Rs 1.7 lakh.
F2F: What is the retail and web presence of your brand like?
We have our own Megha and Jigar store in New Delhi and California. We are also present at Aza, Mumbai and New Delhi; Carma; Ashni & Co; Elahe in Kolkata and Hyderabad; Evoluzione, Chennai; Pernia's Pop Up Shop; Fuel in Mumbai and Hyderabad; Monsoon in Ahmedabad and Surat; Asmairaa; Agashe; The Emerald Store, Bangalore; Tirafa, Vijaywada; Ravee; Lotus Bloom, Canada; Indias Pop Up, US; Bridal Trunk, London and; Pernia's Pop Up Shop, London. We also have our own website and Instagram handle.
F2F: What is the USP of your products?
The USP of label Megha and Jigar is the perfect combination of India's unique craft and tradition with the ever-changing nature of contemporary fashion. The use of rich fabrics, traditional kaarigari, embroidery, and fine embellishments along with flawless finishing is our hallmark.
F2F: Which are your major markets?
New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, US, Canada, UK, Australia and Dubai.
F2F: What kind of brand building strategies do you implement?
Change is the only constant. What we need to keep a check on is what might stay in trend in the future. The collections are planned in advance with the thought of our core audience in mind. Alongside, we also have in mind to keep it pocket friendly for our audience to buy and fancy their outfit at the same time. We have already started working on having a strong social media presence and be accessible to the right audience.
F2F: Which other product categories do you plan to move into future?
The other product categories that we are planning for the future are western and Indowestern outfits. We will soon be launching our collection for the same.
F2F: What has been your growth story in the last three years (excluding 2020)?
Label Megha and Jigar have grown with grace over the years. In 2018, we showcased at Bombay Fashion Week, and in 2019, we opened our store in California, US, and we even launched our own digital show in 2020. The label Megha and Jigar is now available in more than 18 multiple designer stores globally. Various celebrity sourcing has also been a part of our growth story with stars like Kareena Kapoor Khan, Taapsee Pannu, Vidya Balan, Tabu, Rakul Preet, Sunny Leone, Dia Mirza, Urvashi Rautela, Neha Dhupia, Raveena Tandon Amrita Rao, Ishita Raj Sharma, Nimrat Kaur, Shreya Ghoshal and many more endorsing our line of clothing.
F2F: What has been the impact of Covid in terms of sales, staff cutdown, rentals etc?
Approximately 15-20 per cent of sales had gone down due to the pandemic. With the on-going pandemic, the brand has been able to manage the expenses of its staff. So, there were no staff cut downs. The rentals too have not been affected and remained the same more or less. The stocks have been the same and we are coming up with a new collection very soon. This time we have noticed a change in the pattern of Indian couture, and we'll be coming up with lighter pieces for bridal and bridesmaid couture as well.
F2F: How do you choose your vendors? What are the top 3 qualities are you looking at beyond the givens of quality, lead time, compliances etc?
Vendors are chosen very carefully where they understand the creativity that has gone while designing a particular garment, the thought, and understanding of the quality of fabric and design and most importantly, time.
In case of vendors, apart from looking at quality, lead time, and compliance, we are now also looking at small-time vendors who haven't really gotten a chance to reach out to the brands or rather don't know how to reach out to the PR of luxury brands. We have collaborated with small-time vendors of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Lucknow, and Gujarat.
F2F: Where are your manufacturing facilities based at?
All the manufacturing of label Megha and Jigar takes place in New Delhi.
F2F: What is the annual production capacity?
There is no particular number as the trends, the situation keeps changing from time to time. Although 800-1600 pieces are approximately produced annually.
F2F: How is the supply chain expected to change with increasing digitisation, AI, VR etc? And how is this going to impact the business of sourcing?
Due to Covid-19, the entire world took a quick shift from offline to the online world. Moving into 2021, we might see an adaptation of technology in a wider manner. The speed in deliveries is what needs to be the foremost priority as the customers' happiness depends on that along with the quality of the product. Easy communication and complete visibility across all legs of the supply chain will be required to maintain smooth functioning in 2021.
F2F: What kind of machinery does your manufacturing facility boast of?
High-end machines are used be it for stitching, embroidery, and/or finishing and QC. The most vital aspect of the label is hand-crafted embroideries with perfect finishing.
F2F: How much is spent on machine upgradation and maintenance annually?
It depends on how much maintenance is required for the machines. The approximate costing for machine upgradation and maintenance would be between 2.5-4 lakh per annum.
F2F: Sustainability and circularity are the buzz words today. How do you incorporate them into your product lines?
Sustainability and circulation are definitely what the world should work upon. Label Megha and Jigar believes in the use of the pieces in different ways of styling. A garment can be used in multiple ways whether it be a blouse that looks like a crop top in contemporary fashion and can be paired with denim or a light lehenga that can be reused as a long skirt for other occasions apart from weddings. Eco-friendly products are used too to maintain sustainability.
F2F: What are your long-term sustainability goals?
Our long-term sustainability goals are to produce lighter pieces for people to be able to use them on various occasions with style and elegance. The portrayal of outfits in various ways is what we are going to show in the near future for people to use one garment in multiple ways. We would also looking to produce more eco-friendly garments in pocket-friendly budget. (PC)