Who would have thought that a business graduate from Kerala with an ACCA affiliation from London in Finance would end up being in the fashion industry?
But, as they say- never say never, and that is exactly what Riyas K the brain behind bespoke brand ‘Stylior’ did.
A young mind, with a decade’s experience of associations with major fashion brands and retailers in Dubai, to fall back on, has been instrumental in carving the image of ‘Stylior’ as a unique bespoke brand.
We got a chance to talk to him at length recently… take a read!
SV: For those who do not know you, please share something about you.
RK: My name is Riyas, I am born and raised in Kerala. After completing my education, I moved to Dubai to explore career opportunities and started working as a Financial Analyst. Later, I shifted to fashion brand management and merchandising, which got me working with renowned brands like Paul Smith, Lacoste, Hackett London, and Ralph Lauren. In late 2016, I moved to Mumbai and started my own venture – STYLIOR.
SV: A business graduate who went ahead for further education in finance, but eventually landed up in the fashion market. How did that happen?
RK: I started my career in finance, but for the fashion business. The international work culture allows cross-functionality to improve productivity, so it’s easy to break the barriers and discover the potentials outside your areas.
The creativity and dynamism in fashion management made me explore the field and that is how I landed in Fashion management. To conclude I would say, you need to keep exploring to find out what is beyond your comfort zone, as there might be something more interesting to make your life more fun.
SV: What was/is the goal behind the brand? The ultimate target!
RK: The goal behind building the brand Stylior is to take the traditional art of bespoke tailoring to all aspiring men. It’s the only way to create individual styles and unique outfits for you. We will use physical, as well as, digital channels to reach out to our clients.
We are creating the brand, which provides the best quality and wide variety of fabric options, the finest craftsmanship and curated experience to ensure the best customer experience.
SV: Let’s talk a bit about the overall collection of Stylior. Tell us about the design theories, materials that you guys work with and what kind of research your team does, to deliver, as per the markets real demand.
RK: Since our concept is bespoke, the scope of design and styles are endless. We put a lot of effort in sourcing the finest fabrics in all possible combination of patterns, quality and prices to make it possible to go bespoke for any budget. We are keen on informing our customers about the possibilities of going bespoke through our marketing communications, as well as, in-store branding. Creating awareness about fabrics, style elements, and craftsmanship is one of the important things we always do, as it will help the customers to make some great selections.
We keep exploring the new trends in fabric patterns & stitching standards to ensure we provide the best to our customers.
SV: Indian cotton is considered as one of the best in the world, but your brand is more into Egyptian cotton. What are the characteristic differences between the two?\
RK: There is no second opinion about the quality of Indian cotton. However, the Egyptian cotton is known for its fineness. This cotton can create long and thin staples, making it possible to produce higher count fabrics. The fineness of a fabric is defined by its thread count in a square inch area, higher the count, higher is the sheen and fineness. There are other cotton breeds as well, like Sea Island, which give even longer staples. Indian cotton is used in most of the casual ranges and other apparel sections.
SV: Talk us through the Bangalore store. What all do you offer here and what kind of brainstorming did you have to do to launch it successfully.
RK: When we decided to open a store, our only goal was/is to give the customers best of our services. As this is our first store, we did an extensive research on how the store should look like considering it is in a mall.
Our first task was to hire experienced staff, to offer the services we always wanted to provide to our clients.We are also committed to launching new collections every 2-3 months. We even provide home visits of our stylist to our busy customers who cannot visit the store where they can book an appointment on our website www.stylior.com or can call us for the same.
SV: What do you think are the essentials to succeed as a men’s fashion brand in an Indian retail market, which still seems to be raw, yet, full of potentials?
RK: The success of any brand is the loyalty it has towards its customers. A brand should give the best to its customers and keep creating new stories and collections.
Communication with the customers and understanding their stories plays a key role in building a good name for the brand. However, the price point is also a major concern in India. The mantra to success is to create unique stories in the exciting collections and connect it with the customers.
SV: Having said that, Indian retail market definitely seems to be on the rise. What do you think are the reasons behind that?
RK: The main reason for the rise is shifting towards organized retailing from the unorganized market. Rise in the number of malls and designated retailing high streets, the flow of international brands and government policies have been contributing in creating this shift. We can also notice the growth in the income of middle-class segment and young age brackets who have a policy of living life to the fullest rather than the saving mentality of the previous generation.
SV: Coming back to the Stylior, I do believe that you guys have a plan to open a lot more store in the future. Tell us something about that plan.
RK: Yes, we have plans to widen our physical reach to maximum locations in India via different models of retail concepts. We believe the combination of technology and traditional methods is what we need in the modern age retail.
So, our stores will have characteristics of a hybrid in-store e-commerce with more concentration on proving the best customer experience with the latest technologies.
SV: What kind of role do you think the Indian market will play in your growth as a brand, and as a business plan?
RK: In next 30 years no other market will grow like India, we have huge plans and expectations around upcoming cities in India. There will be more connectivity between places, which will enable people to dream big and achieve more without moving to metros.
The young generation of India is more aspiring and willing to take new challenges, which means we will see a rise in growth in India. All this gives us a sense of opportunity, which is clearly visible in our business plan for next few years.