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Report | July 2018

Exclusivity gives Klass Velvets a velvety ride!

Currently, with the development of powerlooms, velvet has become more affordable and people across various sections aspire to be seen in velvet clothing. Mumbai-based Klass Velvets Pvt Ltd is one such company that was established to manufacture velvets and satisfy the Indian markets growing demand of velvets.

Speaking on the company, Rishabh Shorewala, the company’s young and dynamic Executive Director, said, “We are the third generation family business started by my grandfather. We are a 60-year old company. Earlier, we were importers of fabric. We used to import fabrics from Germany, Czechoslovak, Japan, Korea, and other countries. Now, since the manufacturing has moved to China, we continued importing fabrics from China. We have set up our manufacturing unit in Dombivili, Maharashtra since about 12 years.”Klass Velvets Pvt Ltd is into manufacturing and exporting 100 per cent polyester woven velvets and a supplier of viscose rayon velvets, nylon rayon velvets, polyester rayon velvets, micro velvets, to name a few. “We manufacture 100 per cent polyester velvets. We do our own weaving – we start from the yarn stage, we size and twist the fabric, then weave it on 150 looms, and then we process and sell it. Other blends we have is viscose by polyester. There are very a few customers who ask specifically for it and we make it for them. The brands we deal with are all made to order, and for others, we stock our products. Apart from that, we do some value additions, digital printing and khadi printing. We do a lot of dobby designs.”

On market for velvets in India, Shorewala said, “It is a very interesting market because it is very seasonal. Half of India is cold, while the other half is hot. Velvet is worn mostly in the northern region where the climate is cold. Sales are more centered towards winters. The sales are only for eight months in a year and other four months, the sale is completely dead. We try to find customers who are export oriented so that we can produce without stopping.”

Speaking on the challenges faced in the industry, he said, “Our fabrics are protected under import restrictions, but there a lot of smaller local manufacturers, maybe with around 10-20 machines, affect the market – not directly but indirectly.” He shared an example to make this case clear. “We make a fabric and it gets copied for a much cheaper rate. We invest in the R&D, the technology and there are some wastages too, and then these guys copy it and they reduce the cost of it. To tackle this, we have exclusive fabrics, which we don’t show it to anyone – not even our traders. We directly work with the brands. So it adds value to them as well as us. These fabrics doesn’t get copied easily. This was one problem we were facing and we have plugged that.”

Saudi Arabian countries is the most important for Klass Velvets. He said, “Saudi is the biggest market for velvets. The fabric we manufacture is exported to Saudi, then it gets converted into garments. From there it gets exported to other countries like Africa. Usually, European customers don’t buy the fabric directly, they buy the garment.” “In India, Surat in Gujarat is our biggest market.

Even Delhi and Kolkata have good markets. The southern India is not so good. There are certain pockets in Bengaluru and Hyderabad where the market is decent.

In fact, we have found some customers in Kochi too. Our products go to Jaipur and other Rajasthan markets as well,” he said while speaking on the important markets in India.

On capacity expansion plans, Shorewala had this to say: “We have been increasing our capacity for almost every year. Last year was very bad, so we didn’t add anything. Two years back, we increased our capacity by 30 per cent, and this year too, we will increase our capacity by 30 per cent.”

“The effect of GST and demonetisation have impacted us very hard. Half the customers wanted to pay by cash and we as a private limited company wanted online transactions. Last year was a difficult year for the company. First the GST came in, then the e-Way bill. Because of government policies, the business was little disturbed. The customers we have is not all of them are professionals, not all of them are brands.

Most of our customers are in the unorganised sector. So in that sense, we did face some issues last year,” he added.

On future plans: Shorewala said, “Right now we are only into fabrics, but we are planning to enter the home furnishings market. In this regards, we have increased our imports from China. We have started doing a lot of R&D with our machines. Our initial samples have turned out pretty well and we are getting a good response.”

"In India, Surat in Gujarat is our biggest market. Even Delhi and Kolkata have good markets. The southern India is not so good.”

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