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January 13, 2007

The Classic Contrarian

Businessworld has an article on Royal Classic Mills, the Tirupur based make of Classic Polo brand of T-Shirts, which has time and again gone against the in-fashion trend in the Textiles & Garments industry.

In the garment export cluster that is Tirupur, the Royal Classic Group (RCG) is a bit of an oddity. It started out as a garment exporter just like the others, but suddenly changed focus to the domestic market in 2001 though it was doing perfectly well with its exports. Then, in an industry where vertical integration is not in fashion, RCG deliberately went down that route. Finally, while most exporters in Tirupur are focusing on supplying foreign brands, RCG is valiantly trying to create its own brand (Classic Polo). Primarily into making T-shirts, the company has now forayed into denim wear and other men’s apparel (while others are now waking up to the trend) to strike it big even in the face of easily available global names.

Royal Classic is still a medium-sized company — the 15-year-old (it started in 1991) has a turnover of Rs 225 crore, and its T-shirt brand sales add up to Rs 18.39 crore. What is interesting, though, is that it is trying to overturn the conventional business model of textile exports — and it seems to be succeeding.

Arun Natarajan is the Founder of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of information and networking services to the private equity and venture capital ecosystem in India. View free samples of Venture Intelligence newsletters and reports.