The resort wear and swimwear category is still largely untapped market in India, while globally it is a more serious business. There are many destination-themed fashion weeks and resort wear fashion shows around the world and hence entrepreneurs Pallav Ojha and Amyn Manji wanted to start something similar in India.
The duo wanted to create a platform for brands and designers to showcase the resort wear and bring it into the mainstream conversation. With that idea, Ojha partnered with Manji to start UVAR Global. “Goa has always been a big inspiration when it comes to beaches and fashion and with the support of local authorities and other brands, IBFW (The India Beachwear Fashion Week) was launched and we now are running the third season successfully,” said Ojha.
The category of resort wear has grown tremendously in the last few years, owing to the growing awareness of fashion trends among the urban audience, disposable incomes and adoption of a refined lifestyle among the fashion-conscious segment.
So this duo has been leading the conversation on resort wear and trying to create an exciting property around the IBFW – aimed at not only showcasing talent but also to be a venue for knowledge sharing, industry networking and an experiential opportunity for the people attending it.
Entrepreneur India talks to Ojha and Manji about their journey with UVAR Global, their focus on making IBFW a world class property in the fashion lifestyle space.
How did you come up with this name? Is there any story behind it?
Pallav: Our business is called UVAR Global which stands for United Vision and the space we are in of Advertising and Retail. We are hoping to grow the business and our shows into a larger format and go global hence UVAR – Global.
Tell us about your business model
Pallav: IBFW is a platform where designers and brands can showcase their fashion line to HNIs, other brands, merchandisers and the audience at large. In return, the designers and brands pay us a remuneration to be part of the event. Additionally, we also have an in-house brand BeBeach which allows designers to take their fashion products online. Other business avenues include brand placement, sponsorships and HNI’s who pay to be part of the event.
What about funding? Have raised any amount till now?
Amyn: We are bootstrapped till date but have given the mandate to a known investment banking firm to raise funds to go global and invite international designer, buyers and fashion trendsetters to India.
What is your office culture like?
Pallav: We believe in having a small team but an efficient team. So I have a 15 member core team which does the work of 100 people. They are passionate, self-motivated and committed to their jobs making it easy to get the work done even under pressure situations. We have a very open and informal work culture and work like a joint family. I personally believe that people are more important than money, and so I spend time to ensure I am helping my employees to achieve their personal dreams, only then will they align together to help me achieve mine.
What is the business facet that for you is made of stone?
Pallav: For me people and relationships are more important than money. I need to have a strong belief and passion for my own work, which will inspire my team to follow. I believe in each team member and strongly recommend transparency and honesty at work.
What make you stand out from others in the same space?
Amyn: To have the widest category of fashion showcase revolving around destination across the globe.
Pallav: No one in the beginning ever thought that we will have a resort wear fashion week running successfully. But we have managed to get the right people and make the show a cool and much sought after property try today. We are constantly thinking for making our offering better and grandeur and looking to scale up to a global level and not really looking to compete with anyone else but ourselves.
What is your personal style of addressing the challenges you face?
Amyn : To make fashion week a serious platform in India. People think of fashion weeks as an opportunity to party and have a good time but for us it is a serious business. We believe in giving the opportunity to the upcoming talented designers and create India's fashion labels like the west. We are purely focused on the business of fashion ideology. To overcome this challenge we invite the best fashion buyers, big format retail stores, merchandisers from major online portals and market place across the country.
Pallav: When we started out the big challenge was to change people’s mindset towards the business and getting them to believe in our offering. We had to constantly stay motivated and believe in ourselves inspite of lack of support from the market. I always believe in personal connect and maintain honesty and commitment to your word and work and people will eventually see your worth.
What are your future scale-up plans?
Amyn: The growth is hugely anticipated by all as demand for destination bride, swim and lingerie wear has just begun. We are catering to a billion-plus audience who are just beginning to understand fashion and it is importance on a global platform.
Pallav: The business scenario is very encouraging. We started IBFW with 25 designers and this year we have about 45 designers which also include few people from outside India. We now plan to get 60 designers for the next season including international designers. We plan to also engage with international media and global content and organize destination fashion weeks across leading beach destinations across the world. We are also looking at launching physical stores for IBFW and eventually expand the business across the country.
Have you experienced any change in your own self?
Amyn: I have become more patience, focused and believe in myself.
Pallav: I feel I am more patient and committed now. I build stronger personal connect and have adopted multitasking as it is an important skill especially when you are running such a big business.