SURAT, the textile & diamond hub of India was our destination on August 19, 2017, as a part of Mega FAM trip organized by Triveni Sarees for bloggers and media persons. We reached Surat on cloudy Saturday, only to be welcomed by very warm and charming Vitika Mehta, when we alighted from Shatabdi Express.
We headed straight to the office of Triveni Sarees located in Anupam Textile Market, which is an amalgamation of tradition and modernity, but not without noticing the huge flyovers, wide roads and host of textile hubs on both sides of the road. Mr Shailesh Saraf and Mr Arvind Saraf (Directors) welcomed us and apprised us about the making of Brand Triveni. All of us would admit that it was a very enlightening introduction of not only Triveni sarees but also of saree business as a whole.
Triveni, started by Mr Giridhar Saraf (father) in 1982, joined by the sons Shailesh Saraf, who understands Surat’s textile industry like no other and has been driving home much of the product innovation, design elements, branding strength, core sales and marketing revitalization; IITian & MITian Arvind Saraf, who brings in high level of efficiency, digitization, monitoring & innovation in the organization besides steering the E-Commerce arm.
Shailesh Saraf: Indeed we are in one of the biggest textile hubs of India, second to only Shaoxing in China, covering India’s synthetic production to the tune of 70 to 80 percent. Surat was well-known for its mass market offerings till recently, but now it is catering to designer wear market as well, which we know as a niche market. Today Surat is known for cutting edge products through its insurmountable investment in latest technologies be it in the field of designing, weaving, printing, embroidery or fabric. It is delivering exceptionally well on both counts – inspirational values and the volumes. Surat is one such place which covers most of the India especially in sarees and we are proud to note that over 90% population is wearing in ‘Surat ki Saree’.
Shailesh Saraf: We at Triveni offer very cutting edge designs at highly competitive price points which are our USPs and have given us higher authority in the markets all over. Over a period of time, we have developed a deep instinct about what would work where. I can safely say experience matters more in this field. My day begins with thinking about designs and creating those designs which augurs well to most “Hard to Please” segment – The Indian Woman.
We need to be very focused as Saree or ethnic wear is a very personalized business, and the subject needs in-depth knowledge and widespread reach to make an impact. We are basically distributor led model but our sarees have been going to many countries like Australia, Malaysia, Mauritius Singapore, Spain, Dubai and London etc. though in small portions, but yes we are there.
We do follow fashion forecasts trends dictated by various seasons, internationally like Fall-Winter or Spring-Summer, but predominantly Triveni caters to the tastes of Indian Market which is festivities and weddings driven. With the onset of marriage season, our colour pallets comprise mostly reds, maroons, magentas or oranges which are in sync with the taste of Indian brides. For festivals like Navratri, we do huge varieties of Chaniya Choli collections and for Diwali, we do sarees with traditional weaves and heavy designer inputs.
Make In India: Saree to be Global Icon!
We have some idea that how to promote Indian saree in the world market under the aegis of “Make in India”. I believe Saree is one thing which can take this initiative to just another level. We need Government’s support to work in this direction and empower saree players like us. In case saree reaches on the shelves of big international retail brands like Wal-Mart, then its reach would be phenomenal. Now we have noticed that even foreign diplomats are wearing sarees on India’s Independent day and many other similar occasions. I really want to work for “Make in India” but for that Indian Government needs to make initiation for us. We are ready to initiate the dialogue on this. If saree is declared ethnic wear for the world and is sold duty-free on International airports then its reach it will work magic for BRAND SAREE.
Laila Tyebji, doing great work on handloom sarees
Late PM Mrs Indira Gandhi
Maharani Gayatri with Jacklene Kennedy
Smriti Iraniji, Minister of Textiles
Sushma Swarajji, Minister of External Affairs
“If a foreigner wants to buy a saree, she should be offered some special pricing, this way niche market will automatically expand. From Surat it is very difficult for us to promote saree on that scale, hence for that initiative is needed from New Delhi. My aim is to make the saree the preferred Indian wear for the world.”
The Game Changer E-COMMERCE
We have strengthened our E-Commerce platform in the recent past which enables us in catching the pulse of live customers, whose feedback is immensely valuable. We have customers from far – flung countries of the world besides the US, UK, Mauritius, Singapore etc. where we ship our sarees to the end consumers. Our E-Commerce business is 10% of our total turnover. It is a very robust platform which every woman needs to experience. We are selling through E-Commerce websites like Jabong and Myntra and our experience has been good overall, moreover we feel a presence on these sites is important as these provide visibility and we get to cater to wide spectrum of customers. The digital team is always on their toes and ensures constant presence on social media platforms and tracking various activities on our E-Commerce platform.
Sarees, Sarees & More Sarees & Lehengas too!
In the last leg of our tour, we reached the warehouse of Triveni which is huge in absolute terms and stocks and delivers a huge number of sarees on a pan India level. Mr Vineet Agarwal who manages this humongous warehouse told us that for the first time tax has come on sarees with 5% GST for which we had to do put in place huge logistics but we have not passed it to the end consumer.
We were shown the raw material, laces, sequins, decorations in hordes which are used by the design team. For the first time, we came to know that what a humongous effort it is to make one saree! From here we moved to the place which looked like a sea of sarees but, it was most organized warehouse I had ever been to. Mr Agarwal who manages it all delightfully shared his management techniques which include several quality checks to deliver that perfect saree.
The Triveni team comprises of Designers from NIFT who churn out designs and designs to suit every palette. Shalini Raj who is a chief designer, also a drape expert was quite a delight, she showed us her drawing book which had many interesting designs and explained to us how design team works. The most interesting part was all ladies enjoying themselves in saree draping workshop with Vitika, Priya, Yashi and Shalini (Triveni Team).
The brain behind the strong social and digital media presence Vitika Mehta made a comprehensive presentation on Digital activities of Triveni.
No wonder, I termed Triveni as “Organically grown Corporate”.
Triveni needs just that push and initiative on the part of Government to be a shining star of “Make In India” campaign.
Hope PM Narendra Modi is listening…oops reading!!
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