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Now, start-ups to revive 'Only Vimal'

By Nivedita Mookerji
January 13, 2016 15:15 IST
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VimalBesides associating with start-ups for a new image, the company is focused on technology innovation to experiment with new things

Only Vimal, which had earlier seen launch of many fresh faces -- mostly models -- in its advertising campaigns and was a top-of-the-mind jingle in the 1980s, is now banking on start-ups to revitalise the brand.

For this season, Vimal Textiles, a Reliance Industries company that announced a 51:49 joint venture with China’s Ruyi group in 2014, has lined up five 'unconventional role models'.

Start-up founders such as carpool app Zify’s Anurag Singh Rathor, packaged food company ID Fresh Food’s Musthafa P C, personal finance marketplace Bankbazar’s Adhil Shetty, clothing accessory store Chumbak’s Vivek Prabhakar are among the faces that might help bring back the glory of the old days to Vimal, according to an executive.

Karan Mehrotra, founder, Localbanya, which ‘temporarily’ shut its operations recently, is also a brand face for Vimal. The idea is to depict the brand as ‘young’ just as India is now, Pradeep Bhandari, CEO (textiles business) at RIL, told Business Standard.

RIL had started with textiles business but now it makes up for less than one per cent of its total revenue.

Last year, the group started the exercise of reviving the category through technology innovation, new product portfolio and marketing campaign with a difference.

The company’s design team had made a presentation before 1,000 trade partners on Monday night to showcase its new collection.

Besides associating with start-ups for a new image, the company is focused on technology innovation to experiment with new things. For instance, Bhandari said RIL has got a patent for a new technology, Deo2, which prevents microbial growth. It took them three years to get the patent.

From 50 stores (including exclusive outlets and franchisees), Vimal Textiles aims to have 150 in the next three years.

In addition, there are thousands of selling points across multi-brand outlets.

At Rs 500-crore (Rs 5-billion) revenue now (ex-mill price), the company is targeting to double to Rs 1,000 crore (Rs 10 billion) in three years.

Although RIL is on a major e-commerce spree, Vimal is looking at online as just another channel and not a driver.

The company is looking to invest Rs 300 crore (Rs 3 billion) in three years.

The workforce, currently at 1,800, might not rise substantially even in the high-growth phase because of use of technology.

Even as the company is trying to strengthen Only Vimal brand in India, around 40 per cent of its fabric goes to foreign countries including the US and the UK.

Ask the executives why those glamourous models were not endorsing the Only Vimal brand any longer and the reply is “ninety-eight per cent of the collection is men’s clothes now”, unlike saris and other women’s wear which were dominant earlier.

GETTING READY

  • RIL had started with textiles business but now it makes up for less than one per cent of its total revenue
  • Last year, the group started the exercise of reviving the category through technology innovation, new product portfolio and marketing campaign with a difference
  • The company’s design team had made a presentation before 1,000 trade partners on Monday night to showcase its new collection
  • Start-up founders such as carpool app Zify’s Anurag Singh Rathor, packaged food company ID Fresh Food’s Musthafa P C, personal finance marketplace Bankbazar’s Adhil Shetty, clothing accessory store Chumbak’s Vivek Prabhakar are among the faces that might help bring back the glory of the old days to Vimal
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Nivedita Mookerji in New Delhi
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