Giving int’l brands a run for their money is Da Milano

Sahil Malik

Chennai: The luxury leather product market in India is quite a niche segment with foreign players ruling the roost. Growing customer preference is keeping the market growth steady, but at the same time, change in customer trends and the sudden affinity towards non-leather based accessories continue to trouble the market.

Da Milano is one Indian brand that took the fight to foreign giants and currently holds more than 85 stores in India and has also expanded operations to the UAE.

News Today had an exclusive interview with Sahil Malik, the managing director of Da Milano and asked him about the Indian market, expansion plans, new products, manufacturing capacity and industry trends.

Excerpts from his interview:

Q: Give us an overview of the luxury leather accessories market and where India stands globally at the moment.
A: Growing popularity of leather products due to its properties like durability, dustproof, fireproof, and crack-proof is influencing the sales of leather goods products across the globe. Growing consumer preference for branded leather goods and improvement in distribution network by key players is supporting the growth of leather goods market. Today, consumers are aware of the latest fashion trends due to growing internet penetration and social media platforms which is expected to increase consumer inclination towards branded leather goods. Availability of affordable high-quality leather goods and growing demand for durable footwear products is supporting the market growth in the Indian Market.

Q: In India, what is Da Milano’s position in its operating space?
A: Giving international brands a run for their money, Da Milano is a leading leather accessories brand that boasts of more than 80 self-funded company owned stores including 23 stores at airports in India. Soon Da Milano will be reaching its 100-store target. Da Milano is the only brand in the country that offers lifetime service warranty on all its products, making it even more desirable over other accessories brands in the country.

Q: Having completed 30 years in the market, tell us about the customer trends and how (or rather if) it has changed over time.
A: The style and design market is very dynamic yet tricky; it never stays still. The thrill of working in this business is its ever-changing mood and momentum. It is important for us to have a good understanding of consumer tastes that changes with changing season. The 90s brought on great fashion trends, which are that are resurfacing once again. Daring, risky and bohemian styles are now gaining momentum. With increase in awareness through Social media platforms, influencers etc., the fashion scene is broad and varied, and quite accepting. Style has come to mean a representation of all our varied personalities, and as society has become more accepting and has embraced diversity, so has the fashion market.

Q: What are your expansion plans? Will the new retail outlets come up in tier II and III towns or in cities mostly?
A: We have been growing at a very fast pace. We plan to expand in India and internationally. In 2018 Da Milano grew from 60 stores to 85 plus stores within India, witnessing a remarkable growth of more than 25 stores. In the same year, Da Milano also set its foot on international soil and opened its first store in UAE. Within the same year, the brand grew exponentially in the Gulf and set up five stores in the leading malls. We have opened stores in many tier II and tier III cities in India and we will continue to do so. We will soon be reaching our 100-store target this year. We have plans to expand in the international market, especially the South East Asian countries. We also plan to venture into home and interior products, setting up an all new brand for the same.

Q: Tell us about the importance of Da Milano’s online/ecommerce route.
A: Da Milano has already been in the online space and selling through our own portal since 2014. We also have our products on leading online shopping platform like Myntra and Amazon. We will soon be available on Tata Cliq and Nykaa.

Machinery aside
“Da Milano produces new products almost every day, launching 300 products across multiple categories each season. We produce approximately 12,000 big articles like ladies’ bags, travel bags, computer bags etc, and 11,500 small articles like keychains, card cases, vanity mirrors etc, each month at our two state-of-the-art manufacturing units in India. Known for its handcrafted products handcrafted by skilled labors, the use of machinery at our manufacturing units is very limited,” said Sahil.

 

Other brands
“Rosso Brunello is a footwear brand. We founded Rosso Brunello in 2010, which is now leading brand in India and UAE. Today, the brand has nine standalone stores, 27 dual brand (with Da Milano) stores in India and four stores in UAE. We plan to open more stores in India and abroad. In 2017 we launched another leather accessories brand, Wooba. It is a contemporary leather accessories brand, which is launched for the fashion-conscious millennials. Offering style and quality at an affordable price point, Wooba will mainly be expanded in tier II and tier III cities,’ said Sahil.

Praveen Kumar S