To gauge the growth of retail in Pakistan, one has to just take a cursory glance over at metropolis’ main city centres and notice how fabric brands and textile mammoths have evolved from selling the basic yards of cloth to a fully operational departmental store, replete with ready-to-wear clothing, bags, shoes, bed linens and home accessories.
The textile gurus Gul Ahmed pioneered the concept and last year one saw Al Karam launch their own studio along similar lines. Although one may not have expected textile brand Firdous to be the next in line, their concept store has serious potential to give competition to not only Gul Ahmed and Al Karam, but other similar stores that stock accessories for both sexes.
Although Firdous, akin to other local lawn brand had its own place in the market, in the last two years have upped the ante for brand awareness by pulling off a coup with first getting Bollywood’s reigning queen, Kareena Kapoor in an explosive marketing campaign and then went onto rope in dusky starlet Deepika Padukone as well. For those who took Firdous lightly, had to seriously reconsider their own perception of the brand. Indeed that was the point, says Firdous’ Managing Director Omar Saleem. “We were just establishing our brand at the time with all the Bollywood branding and wanted to use this strategy to eventually start our own stores.”
Initiating with a flagship store in Faisalabad, followed by Gujranwala, the Firdous Concept Store was launched in Karachi around Ramazan, “A bit late to have launched midyear,” admits Saleem, but given the nominal pricing and the quality of the products on display, one has to concede that it is better late than never.
One step into the store and you are stunned with the standards Firdous has achieved in such a short span of time. Not only is the store spacious and impeccably decorated, but everything, from the clothes to the shoes, to the clutches, is a class apart. And with a price range of an average Rs2,000, for that quality of craftsmanship, finesse and sophistication, the store is a steal deal haven. “The whole purpose of the store was to offer the best quality possible at the most nominal pricing at this stage of the economy,” explains Saleem. “We wanted all our products to be up to the current fashion standards and offer a wide range of accessories for a complete fashion store.”
Whether it’s a pair of wedges or a classic red peep-toe pumps, or an elegant clutch, Firdous has managed to get the look and the feel just right for today’s female customer.
And unlike other stores, Firdous gives just as much attention to detail to its men section with male accessories like travel bags, brief cases, shoes and sandals for the modern metrosexual man. Since most of the products are designed in-house, with inspirations from international trends, the brand manages to ensure that its ware is unique. “Of course we have to update and tailor the range according to the market,” says Saleem. “Somethings are standard in every store, but others have to be specific since what works well in Gujranwala may not work just as well in Karachi.” Next up for the brand is to reach out to Lahore and establish another store in Karachi.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 20th, 2011.
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