Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fabric selling...

There was a time (not so long ago ) in India where the primary way to purchase women's clothing was to buy fabric and get it tailored . Then came along brands , retailers , designers who started offering ready to wear Indian dresses for women . The styling , design and most importantly ease of purchase that this offered to the consumer was enormous . Fabric business started to feel the heat. Yet , when walks into a fabric store there's very little that seems to have changed . It's pretty much reams of fabric displayed or rather stocked . None of the stores I have visited go beyond the visual merchandising (Even the stores that stock hand woven speciality fabrics don't have any information on the merchandise other than the region from which the fabric is sourced). It's largely left to the imagination and resourcefulness of the customer to figure out how best to use the fabric. 

Ready made garments offer the advantage of design , cost , time . Depending on the store policy one can return the garment in case of quality problems . On the other hand - fit remains a problem for many consumers . Design preference is also a factor ( e.g often a garment is otherwise great but will have sequins or beads which make it a problem to maintain ). Both needs will be brilliantly served by fabric sales + tailoring .So there is more than ample room for ready made garments and fabric sales to co-exist , thrive and complement each other.

The fabric is not an end in itself . Without a skilled designer or tailor the fabric remains as potential . Consumers are likely to buy fabrics if they are able to get well fitting , unique garments. Which means the services of a designer / tailor ( the words are not used as synonyms) . None of the stores I have visited show a listing of designers or tailors one can contact . Most don't even have the information available if a customer enquires . In fact some of their customers are designers . Referring them to other customers would earn them good will and increased business.

Most fabric stores seem to prefer the arduous , risky alternative of waiting for consumers to walk in to the store and make the purchase . When a little bit of smart initiative can alter their fortunes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

read your post today ! on the 6th Mar v spent 2 hrs with the design and mktg team debating on this topic with points exactly as per the content of your post. Not that they could be any different either. but the coincidence is a sheer wonder!