This Couple is Designing a Fortune from Simplicity

Born to acclaimed designer Anju Modi, he got trained under his mother

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Enter the Noida production studio of Delhi-based designer couple Ankur and Priyanka Modi and you are amazed by the simple demeanor of the designer duo. That understated style speaks volumes about their designs, which are built on the strength of simplicity and power dressing for contemporary women.

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Born to acclaimed designer Anju Modi, Ankur Modi got trained under his mother. Though he studied agricultural engineering, he didn’t pursue that further. Ankur soon found his partner, Priyanka, who studied in London School of Fashion and worked with a French company for two to three years before getting married to him. Sharing their start-up story, Priyanka, who drew inspiration from her grandfather’s sense of styling, says, “Of course working with my mother-in-law was an option but I wanted to start something of my own and also, she is a couturier and she is always into heavy dreamy garments and I always wanted to start a label which speaks of simplicity.” This ‘niche category’ was earlier missing in the simple clothing range.

As Co-founders, both of them decided to play different roles. Ankur looked after the production and the finance side of the business while Priyanka continued to concentrate on the creatives. The designer duo started operating with multi-designer stores. The first retail experience was through a shared store that was in at MG Road, Delhi with Ankur’s mother. On her first tryst with retail, Priyanka recalls, “It was a great platform to start selling. Then, we realized that both the brands cannot stand together and it is better to function separately.”

The duo opened their first exclusive store at Crescent Mall, Delhi in 2007-2008. The past three years saw ramped up operations in terms of more number of stores by the label. The brand has already started penetrating the markets like Raipur and Chandigarh. Ankur recounts, the main challenge in the journey was to come up from five stores to 30 stores. Currently, Hyderabad happens to be the biggest store for them. Ankur adds, “Now, the major challenge would be how to get ahead with the next step of growth, sustain the business would be another major challenge. We have already built the right team, production, and finance team. Now, it is about going to the next level.” Currently, the brand employs 250 people.

Talking about his inspiration in retail, Ankur says, “Anita Dongre and Sabyasachi Mukherjee are doing fabulous jobs. Ritu Kumar has also grown really fast.” Sharing details on the new label launched by them, Twelve, Priyanka says, “We realized that the future requires something in a more reliable and affordable range in the comfortable style for the modern women and we see AM:PM as a very price sensitive brand and we wanted to give a completely different offering.”

(This article was first published in the August 2017 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)