This is the age of dreaming the impossible dream. An age where no ambition is too high or overarching. The best time to do the unthinkable is indeed NOW. The cover of the May edition of South India’s largest lifestyle magazine RITZ, is adorned by individuals who embody this never-say-die spirit.
Each of them is now a name that has set a benchmark in their respective fields of entrepreneurship. Say hello to Mohan Ram K, Managing Director of Zingbi Fashion; the much-in-love and driven-by-passion couple Anirudhan Grandhee & Aishwarya Gupta, Directors of Viswa & Devji Diamonds and Dr Sethuraman, leading dermatologist and actor who are all making a major difference in the manner in which their businesses function while also serving as an example of how to enjoy success in your passion.
Text by: Vivek Raj
Photography: Nithin Bharath
Styling: Chaitanya Rao
Location Courtesy: Courtyard by Marriot
Hair & make-up: Vurve Salon
In Pursuit of All Things Fashionable – Mohan Ram K, Managing Director of Zingbi Fashion
With several years of experience in various industrial responsibilities, Mohan Ram K, Managing Director of Zingbi Lifestyle India Private Limited is now aiming to enhance customer experience in the fashion sphere with his sprawling multi-designer boutique Zingbi, which boasts of both brick & mortar presence and an upcoming online fashion discovery platform as well. He hopes to build and expand the platform for customers where they can find and discover anything that meets their fashion tastes ranging from a wide selection, customer-friendly prices, dependable delivery system and a convenient and comfortable experience.
What was the catalyst for you personally to make the decision to venture into the fashion platform?
I won’t say this was a sudden decision. Right from my early days, I was interested in becoming an entrepreneur and my interest towards fashion in particular gave me the confidence to step into the arena. I was into technology and to understand how the retail industry operates, I made it a point to ensure that the existing inherent flaws in the present system would not be followed by Zingbi.
Chennai is home to several stores of this nature. How different is Zingbi in the face of competition in this particular industry?
Perhaps the biggest USPs of Zingbi would be our way of handling our merchandise and the options we present to the customers. To put it in a simple manner, on a bi-monthly basis, we shift and rotate our complete inventory in our showrooms. This aspect makes us stand out from the crowd.
What are your thoughts on the current market and the competition?
First up, to be honest, we are not focused on the competition since I strongly believe this particular industry is a virgin market. For example, if you take the people of Chennai, they are welcoming designer wear a lot more than before. This proves the market is fresh and as a result we do not put much focus on competitors. As of now, our emphasis is on achieving our targets and we are clearly driving forward towards that.
Where does Zingbi stand in comparison to international brands and the overseas market?
Both the Indian market and the global market are still fresh to Indian designer wear. As of now, the requirement of Indian designer wear across the globe is quite high. The brands serving this demand are quite less in number and this is where Zingbi can thrive by thrusting forward. For example, if you are talking about international markets like Dubai, they have a huge potential for Indian ethnic wear. Amidst all this, we are now working towards establishing ourselves as a brand to reckon with in Dubai and I take this opportunity to let your readers know we have plans to open a store soon in Dubai.
Are your designs in keeping with international trends or traditional Indian ideas?
Presently, we are focused more on Indian ethnic wear. Our products are catered towards Indian wear and for people who love Indian ethnic wear. You will be surprised to know that even people from overseas nations like Indian ethnic wear. The demand is quite high among expats visting India as well. Keeping this in mind, Zingbi is only working on promoting Indian ethnic wear in comparison to other international brands. However, when we are scaling up to international markets, we cannot ignore their cultural designers and we shall be keeping the respective designers’ collections as well.
Since you say you have plans for expansion in the international market starting with the decision to open a store in Dubai, has any international brand or designer approached Zingbi for a partnership?
There have been several requests. But, right now, we are working with international designers from Nepal, Karachi, Egypt and many other countries across the globe. So, when we finally head to Dubai, we shall have designers from countries around the world. The store is going to be a mix of designer wear from different nations through which our customers get to have a versatile experience. For example, in our Chennai store, we have products from across the country. So, by the time the Dubai store opens, customers will have options for products from around the world.
Although women have been the face of fashion for several years, men too have strongly registered their presence in the scene. How do you view this shift and what’s your response to this new change?
This change started perhaps only a few years back since women have always been at the epicentre of fashion. Women’s needs and their expectations in fashion have always been and will continue to drive the fashion industry. Although men’s designer wear cannot catch up to the heights of women now, the segment has made a considerable stride forward. If you look at Indian weddings, men prefer to go for a designer wear rather than the usual blazers.
When it comes to this particular line of business, have you ever been surprised or overwhelmed with the response?
The response from my customers everytime we launch a new collection has surprised me quite a lot. Since we are in the fashion platform, understanding the pulse of the people is a tricky and also indispensable criteria. It is always a great feeling when our initiatives get a positive response among the people.
How has online shopping impacted the business?
The e-commerce boom is not something anyone can ignore. But, when it comes to the designer community, the online boom cannot overtake offline sales. There are several reasons why. When it comes to designer wear, it is a bit tricky to identify whether the apparel will look good on everybody while shopping online. If you purchase a normal shirt online, you won’t see any major shift in the way it looks on people who wear it. However, designer wear is a completely different story altogether since it is more specific to the people who are wearing it. They have to try it out first, they have to feel assured they can carry off the attire all by themselves by viewing it on a full-sized mirror. For this particular reason, I feel online shopping will not do justice to customers who wish to purchase designer wear. Furthermore, the customers who shop for designer wear online, might not get a fulfilling experience for this specific reason. I strongly believe offline market will strongly dominate the online sphere.
Zingbi is also a platform for designers, bloggers and many others. How do you think they are going to benefit in the long run?
Zingbi.com is going to be a repository for quality information. If they need to have quality information related to the fashion scene, the only place to head will be Zingbi. That shift is happening, the designers will get complete visibility whereas bloggers will be able to provide a single link or a repository for their entire articles and works. I feel Zingbi is definitely going to play a major role in the lives of designers and bloggers in the days ahead.
Is there any particular fashion trend you believe is going to resurface again?
If you take south India and especially Chennai, I feel the designer sarees will come back to rule the roost once again.
Where do you see yourself as a brand in the next 5-10 years amidst the existing competition?
I’m not specifically looking at any competitors because it is a new market where the competitors and brands can live together happily. As of now, we have our own plans. When it comes to the digital platform, we want to be a repository where any person can look for quality information from the fashion industry. Zingbi is planning to setup multi-designer showrooms across the country and eventually across the globe. Based on our plans, we would have ten outlets in India and five international outlets by end of 2022.
Could you tell us about how Zingbi was announced as one of the Asia’s largest multi-designer store?
We actually did not plan to make our showroom one of the largest in Asia. Our focus was primarily to provide a complete designer wear shopping experience under a single roof. Today, if a bride wants to get a lehenga and the bride’s sister wishes to purchase an Indo-western outfit, they are not at an advantage where they are offered multiple options at the same store. For this, we have set up the showroom in such a way that you can get a complete shopping experience for the entire family. It is no joke to serve an entire community which we eventually did with the help of our 7000 Sqft showroom, hence we ended up being called one of Asia’s largest multi-designer stores.
At present, Zingbi is focused on women’s fashion. Do you have plans to expand to target the men’s fashion scene too?
It is true we are concentrating on expanding the fashion market for women and satisfying their fashion needs. As of now, our focus is on that and we do not plan to extend ourselves into men’s fashion.
Zingbi Multidesigner Store is at No: 7,
Seventh Street, Gopalapuram,
Phone: +91 63809 79210
Prices range from INR 5,000 to 3 lakhs