Posted in Economic

Great Going!

how one brand captured the lion’s share in the leggings market in India and became a household name in a remarkably shorter time…

One of the most promising starts in recent times, smart entrepreneurship with high yields on low cost investments could be the GO COLORS chain of legging shops that have sprung up in every nook and corner of the city and perhaps entire India. Starting like a typical kirana shop abutting the street corners, not a square inch over the size of a walk-in closet, Go colors boldly sold the lycra stretch pants (leggings) exclusively to go with kurtis, limiting their scope (initially) to mere leggings which was a courageous move that at that point of time could have been considered foolish. There were established brand names doing good business that majorly sold kurtis when Go colors made a modest entry in the sector. Matching the pants was the natural corollary for retailers, so the shopper felt no need to step out of the air-conditioned environs to pair a matching pant/legging to go with the top/kameez. Leggings thus were an add-on and never an entity by themselves, at least until Go colors gave them their due. Leggings market in India also was new and limited in volume mostly because, harem pants, baggies, jeggings, culottes etc., were yet to make a splash if not a proper beginning in the country where mostly the favoured trouser for womenfolk was the unimaginative and simple stringed shalwar. The bigger the better it got, with the Patialas remaining top pick uncontested, complementing too very well the short kurtis. We Indian ladies would not even adapt easily to the elastic waistbands. Traditional Indian clothes continue(d) to be the preferred formal attire. So why should anyone want to open a shop that sold only the leggings that were a curious mix of the east and the west. They went well with the kurtis. They went well with short tops. But then lycras are lycras, aren’t they. One conjured up images of fitness routines with leggings. To connect them to traditional clothing was out-of-box thinking if not vulgar. The boundary was breached but market stayed unexplored. In summers, why would girls want to wear the spandex tights over cool ballooning shalwars. To go for the close intimate fit for outdoor wear, the pair of leggings needed to be real good. Go Colors captured the market with quality fabric, desired length (like ankle length rather than mostly gatherings that was one weak point with brands like Biba or Twin birds), neat finish, thinner strength of material that made it more stretchable, lasting elastic and neutral colours even if pricing was at par with ruling brands. As one of their earliest patrons, what made me go for them was their stretch quality, durability and chic shape and fit. Ankle length suited petite me and the elastic waist band held fast without twisting back or rolling down. Machine washes were fine and the fabric fit exactly into your body contour. To me this is what made Go colors get a sizeable share in the market pie in a hitherto unexplored line of business. From the shelves of mall outlets and retailers as an innocuous ‘also ran’ brand (as I first discovered them years back), the chain took baby steps opening up closet-sized nooks from ceiling to floor pigeonhole display racks neatly and nicely stacked with convenient sizes xs, s, m, l, xl, xxl, xxxl etc. Both gatherings (like churidhar) and ankle lengths were available but the ankle lengths were a massive hit. Even today mostly of the Go color outlets operate out of walk-in closet size nooks only. The trial rooms may be a 1×1 square foot space. Go colors are now simply everywhere: a cubicle in the center of a busy market to open stall in the lookout gallery down the corridor of a posh shopping mall. Curiously the brand is not sold any more by other retailers making it available only in the brand outlets. This single move to me makes Go colors an exclusive club. Only very lately Go colors have expanded floor space wise as slightly larger showrooms surface in shopping districts, strictly catering to ladies bottoms segment. A big risk by the venturer but the gamble paid off in my opinion. Today, Go colors is here to stay and a label to reckon with when it comes to ladies pants. The brand outlets have mushroomed in dozens. Whether they are the chain or franchisees – I have no idea. Whatever, the market share of Go colors has been steadily climbing, as is clearly evident. From leggings, they have now cautiously diversified into jeggings, nightwear, culottes, three fourths, seven by eights and even denims but the bottomline stays the same (pun intended)! There are then the elasticated shalwars and straight pants. The colour range includes sheers and shimmers. For anything and everything to pair with your kurta or kurti – the single brand that comes to your mind these days is GO COLORS. The rules are unlaid: you don’t have to sell designer brands or lacy lingerie or plush accessories to carve a niche in women’s retail. You can do just what Go Colors did, restrict yourselves to a specialized service and excel in the limited scope. Wherever I go now, I try to look for a street or thoroughfare without Go colors! I spotted the brand in Thrissur. In Tirupathi. In Kumbakonam. Where not? In a world where increasingly perfection is deplored to be a weakness, Go colors is living proof as to how perfection is key to success.