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Published on: Jan. 28, 2023, 2:19 p.m.
Riding high on word of mouth Powerlook makes its presence felt
  • Amar and Raghav: motivated by street fashion

By Lancelot Joseph. Executive Editor, Business India

Powerlook, the emerging Mumbai-based menswear brand, was founded in 2010 by Raghavendra and Amar Pawar, with the goal of providing India with chic, budget-friendly but high-street fashionable clothes. It is interesting to note that Raghav and Amar came up with the idea for Powerlook, when they were still in college in 2008 – at a time when they wanted to buy the latest street fashionwear that cost Rs300 or less so that it could fit into their monthly pocket money budget. 

However, none of the available brands could help. Either they were overpriced or the alternatives within their price range were. The brothers, inclined towards entrepreneurship, made the decision to look into the business potential of the T-shirt trade industry. 

“We had many difficulties because our families had no business or fashion experience, but we were motivated by street fashion, because it is well-known that college students want to wear stylish clothes,” says the duo, opening the first store in Mumbai’s Borivali West and selling T-shirts there. They began purchasing wholesale T-shirts and selling them at their shop in about 2011.

“The menswear industry is driven by companies that demand exorbitant prices from their clients”, says Raghav, who aims to upend this market by bridging this gap and enabling clients to build contemporary, well-fitted and distinctive costumes at off-the-rack prices. By cutting out the middlemen and working directly with the best fabric distributors, “we found we can pass along our savings to you at a lower price,” he adds.

But, what really helps Powerlook stand out from the competition against Zara, H&M and other off-the-rack brands is the fact that the plan to sell low-cost products at a decent quality took some time to materialise. However, a step-by-step approach helped them accomplish it.  First, they decided to eliminate the middlemen. 

“There are several middlemen, each with their own margins, between us and the manufacturer, including a wholesaler, a distributor and a few more,” explains Amar. The brothers point out that they spent Rs300-350 for a T-shirt that usually costs Rs200. They were able to get the clothing at a considerably lower cost once they began speaking with producers directly. This helped them pass on the cost-benefit to their consumers.

Straight from the mills

After 2014, Raghav and Amar started contacting mills directly to get the fabric as the quantities started to rise. They partnered with factories in Delhi, Mumbai, Ludhiana and other cities to produce shirts, T-shirts, shorts, jeans, jackets, etc. Their SKUs now span several categories and range in price from Rs380 to Rs1,600. Planning and doing tasks ahead of time was another tactic that the organisation found to be effective. The brothers mention that they will create their prototypes in small batches and design some clothing in Mumbai. 

This saved time and allowed them to improve the product closer to their headquarters. When the product was finished, it was transferred to a different unit to be produced on a greater scale. They were able to gain the consumer’s confidence thanks to all of these tactics, and word-of-mouth advertising enabled the brand to grow. They have five locations open by 2019 in Mumbai – at Andheri West, Borivali West and Thane.

  • The creators claim that Powerlook intends to provide India with a brand that is high-street, stylish and has western accents in addition to being reasonably priced

Raghav and Amar struggled to get the number of clothing they needed as the store’s popularity and sales expanded. The company’s breakthrough, however, came in 2013, when it chose to begin contract production and created the Powerlook brand. The creators claim that Powerlook intends to provide India with a brand that is high-street, stylish and has western accents in addition to being reasonably priced. In the Indian menswear sector, Powerlook has established a substantial presence today. “Last year, our turnover was Rs22 crore and, despite the lockdown, our online sales also soared high as many of our store customers automatically started purchasing our designs online” says Raghav. 

Although the brand launched its fifth store in Thane, Amar and Raghav also emphasise how taking the brand online played a big role in expanding their presence across the country. As the brand was busy scaling up with an offline presence, “we would get a lot of queries on Instagram from customers from other cities (for Powerlook franchise),” says Amar. Hence, they launched the company’s D2C website in 2018. 

Soon, the pandemic struck in 2020, but this did not stop their business from scaling up. Almost 70 per cent of their sales came online, which increased to 100 per cent during the pandemic. Today, as the offline space is on its road to recovery, the revenue contributed by both online and offline have touched 50:50.

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