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The gamble that paid off

Updated: Jan 4




In My Experience

Mayank Modi, Founder and CEO, Mayank Modi Signature Label


Excerpts from an interview with Shrehya Agarwal in which Mayank Modi speaks about his journey from a no design background to launching his premium Menswear brand.



Highlights:

  • Mayank Modi forayed into menswear in 2004 when he designed 15 shirts for his mother’s multi-designer store.

  • Since then, his brand has evolved and by 2009, he started making suits and traditional wear for men.

  • He quit his corporate job to pursue designing for his label, Mayank Modi Signature Label, without studying a professional designing course.

  • For him, the price is not the only thing that defines luxury but the whole experience, right from manufacturing till the customer buys it.

  • The customer should know about the whole process of how each of his pieces was made so as to involve them in the process as well, thereby justifying the price.

  • Asks aspiring entrepreneurs to take it one step at a time when building their own label.

Not many of us would change careers at the height of success to follow our dreams. Taking a leap of faith in such a situation can be terrifying. However, with the right kind of expertise and a vision, the payoff can be very rewarding. This is probably what designer Mayank Modi had in mind when he decided to quit his cushy corporate job and start designing clothes in 2004. By 2009, Mayank Modi Signature Label became a known name. Despite studying finance, he has created a fashion label that creates premium menswear. In this interview, he talks about his journey, what defines luxury and making sure each of his clothes tells a story.


Excerpts:


Q: From giving up a lucrative corporate job to giving a flight to your designing dreams, please tell us more about your journey to establishing your brand.

A: I had no idea about designing. I was working in the finance division of HP in 2004. At that time, my mother opened a multi-designer store that sold womenswear. I realised there was nothing for men. Since I had an outlet, I thought I could design a few pieces. I wanted to do it professionally so I got a brand name registered and did a collection of 15 shirts after a lot of extensive research because I was absolutely clueless about the process. In fact, I did not even know the difference between chiffon and georgette then. However, each shirt was distinct and did well. There has been no looking back since.


Q: In the competitive Indian market, what was your approach towards positioning Mayank Modi as a Premium brand?

A: Frankly, I never compared my brand to anybody. I just wanted to take things up by a notch every season. That was my only aim. I never follow any particular designer or brand because the designer wear segment is still very unorganised. It’s a very service-oriented sector. I don’t really position myself in any particular way.


Q: We spoke about how not many are talking about Luxury in the right way. What are your views on Luxury?

A: I personally feel that it’s not just about the price, but the service, the product’s manufacturing process and the employees’ working environment. We need to really understand the client’s needs when he/she buys a product. These things together comprise luxury for me. Just because something is expensive does not mean it’s luxurious because Indians have started learning about quality. All these ingredients need to come together when the prices are being fixed because I always believe you should give customers more than what they’re paying for.


Q: Many consumers, especially the nouveau riche population consider price to be the sole mark of luxury. Higher the price - more luxurious the product is. How do you think Indian consumers look at it? Does this stand true for the Indian audience? Does it differ from customer to customer from diverse geographical locations?

A: That’s a tricky question. I would say that people are still getting educated on what the pricing should be or how the product should look like if it’s priced in a certain way. There are clients who know exactly what they want and how much it should cost. They go for something that suits their personality. There are consumers who are still learning and the ones who already know quite a bit. I feel every product should have a story to tell as to why a product is priced in a certain way. The client should know about the time and effort that went into every piece to justify the price. There’s not much difference in customers based on geographical locations.


Q: Are you planning to position Mayank Modi as a luxury brand? If yes, what do you think are going to be the major challenges in an Indian market?

A: Actually I don’t think beyond three months because you can never predict things, especially in the backdrop of Covid. I have always thought six months ahead, at most, to do things quickly. I don’t want to think long-term because things can start dragging. Five years on, I would definitely want my brand to be more luxurious, be accessible and be in the correct luxury segment. I don’t want to say anything now because I take things one step at a time.


Q: What one thing would you give as a piece of advice to an entrepreneur wanting to get into the Luxury world today?

A: Take it one step at a time. To understand luxury you have to keep going. It takes days and a lot of trial and error to understand the meaning of luxury. Taking a giant leap at one time won’t help because it will give you a fleeting moment in the limelight but if you have to become a known brand you need to take it slow and fast together.


Mayank Modi has now started designing womenswear as well. This is but the beginning of a bright and promising future for this enterprising entrepreneur whose success story can inspire many of us to chase what we aspire.


To watch the whole interview please click here

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