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Da Milano’s journey began in 1989, when the brand was conceived by Sahil Malik’s father. Starting from one store in Delhi, the brand now prouds itself of running 60 stores, all spearheaded by Malik.
Malik joined the business in 2000, after completing fashion designing from NIFT. At that time India was moving towards organized retailing and he felt a need to start a chain of stores, serving leather accessories.
Talking about bringing global fashion taste into leather accessories, Malik says, “In India, it has always been pattern and colors. The western touch was missing. I could sense that there was a good demand for designer articles and overall aesthetics.” Sahil focused on designing, as well as marketing of the brand. The company started working with Italian designers on freelance basis, before setting up its own studio; there to ensure the designs are at par with international standard. All designers work six months in advance, in terms of planning.
Today, Da Milano is one of the brands, who are producing the maximum range in leather. Giving newness to the store, it’s launching one style across each category every day. On how he keeps up to his customer’s expectations, Malik says, “On every third day, I go to my stores and interact with customers and get their feedback. This informs us, where we are lacking, what are the demands, sizes and styles, trends, pattern, colors they need and accordingly we mould and change to launch a new collection.”
Da Milano’s is now aiming to expand internationally. It is now opening two stores in Middle East and plans another 10, across Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, and then expand into the American market. Sahil further went on to launch a footwear brand – Rosso Brunello.
Talking about its expansion, Malik says, “We came up with much more for men in footwear, which used to be earlier in black and brown. We evolved as a high fashionable brand in India. Currently, we are increasing women’s footwear market, as we right now share 60-40 contribution.” For footwear, it will open 20 stores in next 18-20 months.
(This article was first published in the November issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)