These are some of the common statements that small- and medium-level exporters, who are mostly working with wholesalers/importers, give when questioned about their product capabilities… But are these statements really true; and are buyers happy with the products available with the Indian exporters, is another story altogether. Of course, there are also many companies that are doing only niche products from day 1 and wish to continue with the same as they are enjoying the edge of being niche. Apparel Online talked to some wholesalers/importers on what works for them and how happy they are with products offered by Indian exporters…
No doubt majority of wholesalers/importers prefer India for womenswear and accessories which include fancy Tees as well as kaftans apart from regular range of blouses, skirts, tops, evening dresses… The push for sourcing of such products is the strength as well as niche that Indian exporters have within the womenswear category. Many of the buyers are sourcing from Jaipur mainly due to hand-block, hand-printed based garments; also handwork value additions like embroidery are considered specialities of apparels from Delhi-NCR and Varanasi. Same importers are also sourcing some amount of home products as they have clientele for the same also. Corroborating the same, Calliope Grigorea of Queen Calliope, Athens, a wholesaler/retailer, sourcing goods worth Euro 50,000 from India, even in the backdrop of the Greece crisis says, “I like the embroidered cotton garments for ladies with hand block work, it is appreciated by my buyers and sells well.”
“We can do whatever product/technique any buyer demands from us.”
“We are like a one-stop solution for our buyers.”
“We keep adding new product categories as our buyers push us for the same.”
“We want to serve our buyers better, so we are trying to offer them maximum product categories.”
Ilze Ports, CEO, Wandering Sage Inc., California, who besides being a wholesaler also owns 3 stores and a brand, is annually sourcing from India products worth US $ 300,000. Her preference for variety of handwork is something that has driven her to source from Delhi, Varanasi and recently from Jaipur.
Not only value-added garments, but few of the buyers are also importing unique fabric from India. Marina, Owner/Designer, Rosarito, Argentina who is having 15 shops and is also selling women accessories to multiple brands, is sourcing a lot of summer garments from India as she likes the styles and cotton fabric. “For eight years we sourced Indian products through other importers but now we are sourcing directly from manufacturers and that too Pushkar, Jaipur and Delhi. Pure white dresses with embroidery and multi-colour dresses are very impressive in India,” she says.
For some of the buyers there is no limitation of products as they are sourcing variety of products, though orders size may vary as per products. Interestingly, these wholesalers/importers are adding new product categories too. Mona K. Gyllenhammar, Manager, Peter Korseth AS, Norway (agent and associated with most of the buyers in Norway) is sourcing mainly ladies’ garments from India, and also picks up some kids and men’s wear when she finds something new. A year back she started sourcing all kinds of bags, which is a new product category for her. “In one of my visits to India I found a rainwear manufacturer which currently is not our focus but we may start sometime in the future,” she said.
Despite all limitations and challenges some buyers are not hesitant to source such products categories from India which is neither India’s strength, nor is India manufacturing at good levels. This is definitely an opportunity, that exporters should look at. Of late, many buyers have shown interest in winterwear and even difficult items like skiwear. Marina Potemkina, Head of Purchase Department, Fashion-Sport, Russia having 17 stores and sourcing mens and womens wear is keen to expand sourcing from the country, provided exporters increase their product offerings. “Indian exporters should also increase focus on products like jackets and skiwear. Many buyers are very comfortable sourcing from India, but get limited by the range of products on offer,” she concludes, throwing a challenge to the industry… Any takers!