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International luxury brands, which were earlier the possession of the

travelling elite, now have presence across high streets malls and shopping
locales in India. However, among the Diors, Chanels, two Indian brands,
Hidesign and Da Milano have managed to carve out their niche place in the
luxury handbags market. Contrary to popular belief, both Hidesign and Da
Milano are home grown brands.
Da Milano Leathers Pvt. Ltd. was conceptualised in India in 1989 and opened
its first flagship store at Connaught Place in New Delhi. The company has its
design studio in Italy. Today, Da Milano has a remarkable presence across
India as an affordable luxury brand in leather wear and luxury accessories.
Founded in 1978 in Pondicherry, Hidesign is known for its exquisitely
handcrafted, all natural, eco-friendly, luxury leather goods and fashion
Notwithstanding the deluge of international luxury bags, both these Indian
brands have continued with the same brand values that they started out with
the plan to create products using the countrys strong heritage and now
stands apart from the crowd with their detailed craftsmanship.

While both of them score over the several unbranded players that throng this
premium segment of handbags which lies between the upscale designer bags
like LVMH, Gucci, etc and the other affordable brands, there is a difference in
the respective styles of the two.
Hidesign differentiates itself on its design sensibilities, contemporary styling,
clean silhouettes, and the use of vegetable tanned leathers, which add to its
positioning as a handcrafted, eco-friendly and natural brand. Hidesigns
aesthetic focus has been on a classic contemporary look, catering to the
educated and sophisticated urban professional. The company has three
design teams based in Milan, London and Puducherry that work together to
create two new collections a year.
Da Milano takes pride on its uniquely Indian appeal and the quality of its
products, made from Italian hide which is its foremost differentiating aspect.
They have the style quotient and the variety every woman would be looking
for. Sheer elegance, impeccable style and the chic appeal are hallmarks of
every signature product from Da Milano.
Hidesign has more classic designs and basic colours like browns, blacks, and
beiges, which would appeal to mature women, and Da Milano, with a splash
of bold colours like neons, along with zippers and chains, is a young and
trendy brand.

Both position themselves as affordable luxury, targeting age groups upwards
of 25 years, with Da Milano priced from Rs 5,500 upwards to Rs 15,500 for
ladies bags and Hidesigns leather bags for women in the range of Rs 1,995 to
Rs 8,895. However, to tap into the growing Indian luxury market, Hidesign
recently expanded itself into the luxury category with its new sub-brand
Alberto Ciaschini, Handcrafted by Hidesign, priced between Rs 8,000 to Rs

While both brands stand for premium luxury with almost similar prices, they
have been following different distribution strategies. Hidesign started out as
an export-oriented company with sole focus on the international arena but
over the years has achieved a balance between the international and
domestic market. According to the brand, their foray into Indian retail in 2000
was a complete game-changer and has resulted in a shift of its consumer
profile. India, contributing 65 per cent of its global sales, has 70 exclusive
boutique stores with five of them being franchised outlets.
Da Milano has focused extensively within India since the start, and with 32
exclusive boutiques across the country, it is planning to further expand its
international operations and open stores in Dubai and Singapore next year. At
present, 40-50 per cent of its revenue comes from global exports.
Interestingly, airport retail is also a lucrative area of growth for both brands
and their strategic expansion efforts are significantly concentrated at airport
retail in both domestic and international realm.

Da Milano has consistently delivered luxury of the highest standards, every
season; year after year. From Handbags, Portfolio bags, Travel Bags, to Wallets
and Accessories, the iconic craft transpires throughout the range.
Men: jackets, bags, accessories, shoes, belts
Women: handbags, wallets, shoes, stoles, jacket
Luggage: travel bags, trolleys
Business gifts: folders, computer bags, passport cases, card holders, key chains.
Hidesign classic range of briefcases, handbags, wallets are made from vegetable
tanned classic leather and the oil tanned smooth ranch leather. Every
Hidesign product is uniquely handcrafted. There is no mass manufacture at
Hidesign, and the great traditional skills of their craftsmen are encouraged to be
perfected over years.
Men: Bags, wallets, sunglasses, belts, shoes, jackets
Women: Handbags, wallets, sunglasses, belts, shoes, jackets
Luggage: Travel bags, trolleys
Gifts: Diary, stationary, folders, computer bags, passport
cases, card holders, key chains.


Indian Fashion Industry
The Indian retail market is witnessing a year on year growth of 6%, which would
shoot the current market size of USD 490 billion to USD 865 billion by 2023. The
share of apparel industry from this is a whopping 8% or USD 40 million. The
growing demand for the fashion accessories is making the market in India both
appealing and attractive.
Handbag promises a rewarding opportunity for fashion accessory brands. The
online sales of handbags have proved it right with an increasing trend growing at
CAGR of 43.1% from 2008 to 2013. An increase in the growth of e-commerce
with the facilities of online shopping is also expected to contribute significantly to
the growth of organised market in the coming five years. Rapid urbanisation,
dual income earners and lifestyle changes have contributed to the overall growth
of fashion industry and these factors are equally responsible for the growth of
Indian leather handbag market.

Da Milano and Hidesign are two Indian fashion accessory brands that are taking
complete advantage of this rapid growth.

Da Milano:
With the completion of 25 years of business, Da Milano today owns 48 stores
across tier I and tier II cities including Delhi, Hyderabad, Pune, Amritsar,
Chandigarh etc. Out of this 10 stores are operated by the company. The
company plans on increasing the count to 60 stores by the end of the year. It
also claims that its airport stores receive a majority of international customers
and plans on opening stores in the Banglore and Chennai airports. Though the
company has an online presence in the cities that do not have a brick and motor
store, the management witnesses 85% of sales from the stores.
The companys annual revenue for the fiscal year 2015 stands at Rs. 135 Crores
with following spilt:
Ladies handbags: 36%
Mens bags: 19%
Travel bags: 18%
Footwear: 13%
Belts: 9%
Other accessories: 6%

Hidesigns products are currently offered across over 60 exclusive retail stores; it
has a distribution network in more than 20 countries. Its leather collection
includes handbags, clutches, briefcases, laptop cases, wallets and belts. Apart
from the flagship brand, Hidesign launched Holii, a brand aimed at bringing
distinct Indian design aesthetics to bags and accessories along with high
production standards, in 2009, in a joint venture with the Kishore Biyani-led
Future Group. The Hidesign group also runs two hotels in Puducherry: The
Promenade and Le Dupleix. In 2012, Hidesign forayed into the luxury segment
and launched its range of Ciaschini bags named after Italian designer Alberto
Ciaschini who joined Hidesign as lead designer in 2004.
Hidesigns aesthetic focus has been on a classic contemporary look, catering to
the educated and sophisticated urban professional. The company has three
design teams based in Milan, London and Puducherry that work together to
create two new collections a year. Besides its seasonal collections, Hidesign has
a classic range of products that have seen minimal change for thirty years and
continue to garner customer appreciation.
Over the last few years, brands like Lavie, Da Milano, Baggit, Caprese, Lino
Perros and Esbeda have come up and are dominating the space. Not only are
these brands cheaper than Hidesign (which plays in the Rs 3,000-8,000 price
range), they also offer huge discounts, sometimes as much as 50-60 percent,
during the sales season.
Hidesign has seen its revenues grow from Rs.11.3 crore in financial year 2010
to Rs.97.72 crore in financial year 2014, while its net profit has risen from Rs.2.7
crore to Rs.4.7 crore over the same period, according to RoC data.
The biggest revenue earner for the firm is its range of bags, which as a category
earned Rs.68.1 crore in fiscal year 2014.
Level of Motivation, Knowledge And Friendliness
We interacted with the employees working in store of Hidesign in Pondicherry
and found following factors to be important for keeping up the morale of the
1) Safety provision inside the workshop
2) Employee counselling
3) The medical services
4) The recreational and other welfare facilities
5) Fringe benefits and supplementary items
6) The attitude of the executives and managers towards their subordinates.
7) Working conditions, including pay and hours of work

We approached the store associates and asked them to rate Hidesign on a scale
of 10 based on their individual experience. We found that most of the employees
rated Hidesign on the above factors from 7-10 indicating Hidesign provides a
conducive environment for its employees. The employees have higher level of
motivation as the managers treat employees with respect, shows interest in
employees' personal lives , allow them to gain ownership of their jobs by being
part of the decision making process , create a pleasant work environment ,
establish an employee recognition program, give clear direction and set
Hidesign offers a wide range of bags, wallets, sunglasses, belts and shoes for
both men and women. When we enquired the employees about specific products
and product lines, we found that employees had an updated information and
knowledge about each of the available products. They were well versed in the
location of each inquired item in the store, expected date of arrival if in case
some product is not available and the relevant attributes of the products. The
employees were friendly to us and with other customers in the store. The
employees are capable of handling a very sophisticated customer who is quite
demanding. The store associates ensure that customer satisfaction is prime.

How frequently can you not find what you are looking for?
A wide range of products are available in the Hidesign store and the shelves are
mostly occupied. In approximately 70% of scenarios, the product is available, in
30% of the cases when we cannot find the required product in the store, the
employees in the store give an accurate timeline as to when can the product be

How frequently they stock out of hot products and what they
do about it.
The store managers indicated that if a particular designer bag is newly offered in
store, there is a high probability of the product to stock out due to high demand.
Such a scenario occurs twice to thrice a month when the demand for a specific
product is high. In such a scenario, the employees communicate an expected
timeline when the product can be made available to the customers. The
employees can in addition send an update about the availability of the product to

How frequently do they worry about excess inventory and

what do they do about that. How frequently do they receive
deliveries? What responsibility do they have for ordering?
Hidesign faces the issue of excess inventory and to curb the same it sell those
products on discounts and on various offers. This helps to clear the shelves and
warehouses to stock up newly designed products.
The stock in the stores is mostly updated twice in a week. The mix of the
merchandise in the airport stores is different as compared to regular retail stores.
The airport stores have more merchandise of travel bags, suitcases, belts,
wallets and more stock of mens collection. For travel retail stores, they are in
the process of introducing a special line of luggage and gifting collection. The
price points are same for airport stores and regular retail stores.
Customer shopping behaviour in Hidesign
The current estimated value of the Indian retail sector is about 500 billion USD
and is pegged to reach 1.3 trillion USD by 2020. The penetration level of modern
retail (currently 5%) will increase six-fold from the current 27 billion USD to 220
billion USD in 2020. The Indian retail sector is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15
to 20%.
Factors driving the organised retail sector include the following:
Higher incomes driving the purchase of essential and nonessential products
Evolving consumption patterns of Indian customers
New technology and lifestyle trends creating replacement demand

In 1999, the retail market in India was at a nascent stage and there were not
enough distributors who understood the brand and vision of Hidesign. They
looked at tourist places like Pondicherry, Cochin, Goa before moving to the
metros. Tourists and NRIs were first target market. They related well to the
values Hidesign stood for and understood their vegetable tanned leathers better.
Hidesign opened one shop, then another and realized what they had been
missing out on all this time customer interaction and feedback. Hidesign has
expanded by capturing exclusive and strategic retail spaces across all major
metros and airports across India. They were among the first niche category
players to start retailing online in 2009. Hidesign is now targeting smaller towns
(tier-II and III cities) that display a growing consumer profile. They understand
the growing demands of the consumer in various and upcoming regions of India,
the upwardly mobile and discerning in its taste. And as they start various brand
extensions like Luxury collection by Alberto Ciaschini and Hidesign Sunglasses,
they foray into new sets of customer base.
Hidesign is perceived as a high quality and high customer service retailer.
Essentially, the collection is the same in every store. However, considering the
corporate nature of airports, they offer more products that are work-oriented,
such as briefcases and travel bags. At airports, particularly international airports
the crowd is from a diverse background and is essentially into sophisticated
window shopping. Hidesign stores are mostly located in tourist locations like
Pondicherry, Guwahati etc. The location of these stores attract tourists from
different parts of the world. Since leather is looked as a high quality possession,
the store is highly perceived. It was found that customers prefer traditional colors
black, brown, maroon etc.

The store layout is always simple with clean lines, in keeping with Hidesigns
signature look. The Hidesign store at Pondicherry has distinct features such as a
teakwood cash counter with a solid wood canopy that touches the ceiling,
wooden display shelves, and the solid brass Hidesign bull logo embedded onto
the teakwood floor are true to their ethos of custom-designed exclusive stores.
Glowing custom-made solid brass display racks is merged with the trademark
warm and cheerful colour scheme of brown, cream and white. In Hidesign stores,
the fixtures of the store are hand-made in natural materials such as wood, stone,
brass and leather, creating the fresh and unusual designs that the brand is
recognised for.

The brand showcases an extensive collection of bags ranging from handbags for
women, travel bags, laptop bags, messengers, cross body bags, and briefcases
for men. An extensive range of small leather goods is also available at the new
Hidesign store, including wallets and belts, as well as the new range of
As per Malik, Da Milano strives to design in line with aspiration styles that are
trendy and in an array of colour, and uses quality leather that is a signature
fashion and which has utility for both men and women. Stores are outlaid in a
manner that the ambience speaks of the products and the service provides a
symphony that makes the experience a sublime one. Da Milano executes in a
customer centric business environment, where amiability both with products
and service is the key, the offerings are in line with seasonal requirements and
the array is holistic.