Friday, February 13, 2009: 10:52:50 AM

Retail Biz Personality of the Fortnight

Dressing it up

Divyesh Shah, CEO, Nautica Clothing India Pvt Ltd

There are some entrepreneurs who find an opportunity in every challenge. Divyesh Shah is one of the few rare breed of entrepreneurs who falls in this category. He established Nautica Clothing India Pvt Ltd in 2000. Since then, he has played a pivotal role in making the company a leading business house. According to Mr Shah, “We started this company because we wanted to produce best quality fabric. We felt that there was a dearth of quality textiles in the retail market. We believed that we could provide the clients with quality materials. Thus we entered the retail market by making our clothes available in some of the best retail stores of the country.” 

Gaining experience

Mr Shah is a commerce graduate with a management degree in Marketing from Poddar College, Mumbai University. He began his career by testing his managerial skills in his father’s export business in 1968, while he was pursuing his graduation. Since he had specialised in marketing, he could help his father even better by implementing his marketing skills in the export business. Mr Shah had to interact with clients in this business. Since they were mostly based in UK, US, France and Germany, Mr Shah had to travel a lot. This helped him gain bountiful knowledge and sharpen his managerial skills. Since he already had an experience in garment and textile manufacturing, he thought of entering this business when he started his own company.

Starting out of the blocks

The period of 1993-1997 had been quite difficult for his father’s business, which saw a significant downturn. This tumultuous phase persisted for quite some time. However, in 2000, the son started his own company, Nautica Clothing. Citing the reason behind starting the company, Mr Shah, says, “We thought that sourcing textiles from various countries such as Italy, Japan, China, Hong Kong, designing them and making them available through retail stores will be a good idea. Therefore we started this company. I was neither a technical person nor a degree-holder in cloth manufacturing. However, the earlier experience of marketing and the wide contacts that I gathered from travelling helped me in procuring more business.”

Entrepreneur with a vision

Almost 25 years of sales and marketing experience helped Mr Shah to judge people and foresee the market scenario. It helped him predict the rise and fall of demand. He was quick to identify the changes in people’s tastes and preferences. He was sharp in his business approach which helped him spot the areas where Nautica Clothing could excel in future. He readily implemented these strategies. He elaborates, “We want to give value products to our clients. We provide our range of apparels to companies such as Cotton County, Koutons and Lee Cooper to name a few. We design fabrics for these companies, who sell them under their label. Our textiles are available in big departmental stores such as Pantaloons and Big Bazaar.”

Overcoming hurdles

In order to maximise every opportunity, Mr Shah was ready to tie up with a Japanese company, though the deal did not materialise. As an entrepreneur, he considers this a major loss for the company. However, he did not let his business stagnate at this critical juncture. He moved ahead with new and productive business undertakings.

Mr Shah had to face many difficulties during his entrepreneurial journey.  However, his perseverance bore him fruit. Over a span of 6-7 years, Nautica Clothing carved a niche for itself. Mr Shah attributes the success of the company to the cooperative effort of its workforce.

Cautious about future

Keeping in view the current economic scenario, Mr Shah feels that each step has to be taken very carefully in the future. He says, “As per our future plan we intend to continue working with our existing clients.” He has already been working with a few companies from Nepal at present. Mr Shah says that he would like to extend the reach of his business across borders and touch new horizons as well.

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