A basic necessity of our lives, the clothing industry is undoubtedly one of the largest in the market and has been so for decades. The size of the global apparel market in 2018 was almost 759 billion USD. This figure increased to more than 1 trillion USD in the next year alone, of which, India’s contribution is 80 billion USD. These exaggerated figures, however, make sense when you take into account the heavy influence the fashion industry has on the apparel choices of consumers.
The deep impact of fashion on people who want to keep up with the current vogue has paved the way for many different branches in the apparel industry to take root and thrive in the current tech-centric atmosphere. And one of these many up and coming sectors is customized clothing.
The customized merchandise industry has been developing steadily in the Indian market, with more and more manufacturers coming forward to take a small but significant piece of this expansive sector. In the last decade, India has witnessed a huge expansion in the custom clothing market. Currently, this industry is valued at 1.65 billion USD and continues to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 60%.
There are many manufacturers in this domain, offering a variety of services to their target consumers. And while there are certainly countless fish in the pond, the one that has managed to draw our attention is a fairly young manufacturing brand based out of Chandigarh.
QuadB―India’s first complete custom apparel brand
QuadB, founded in 2014, stands to be India’s first complete custom apparel brand that provides personalized t-shirts and hoodies to a national as well as an international customer base. The company was conceived after Bandhul, an industrial engineer (in-the-making at the time), saw the huge potential for success in the custom apparel industry. This realization came after he noticed that the demand for customized garments was significantly greater than the number of manufacturers available who could satisfy these demands with premium-quality products.
Initially, it was Bandhul and Litesh who started making customized clothes available for students in their college. Since they had neither capital nor land, they decided to rent out machinery from different manufacturers which helped them cut down on costs and they were able to use their limited resources to focus on the production of garments they could be proud to call their own. This helped them establish the foundation of trust with their customers which aided them immensely in retaining and expanding their clientele.
While this helped them in the initial process of setting up their business, what really gave it momentum and helped put QuadB on the map was their unconventional manufacturing techniques. Bandhul and Litesh decided to employ production techniques like Just-In-Time and Virtual Assembly Line to create an asset-light business model. Additionally, instead of buying machinery which would have been capital-intensive, the two industrial engineers assembled their own and made them labour-intensive. This not only helped them scale back on a lot of initial costs but also allowed them to employ hundreds of people.
Starting with various colleges in and around Chandigarh, Litesh and Bandhul gradually worked their way to the top of the ladder. With consistency and hard work, soon they were able to expand their clientele to include the likes of IIT Delhi, IIM Ahmedabad, Google, UberEats, JP Morgan and Microsoft among others.
QuadB’s influence on India’s clothing industry
JIT and VAL are two extremely proficient production techniques that, until a few years ago, were not widely popular in India. It was the out-of-the-box thinking of the founders of QuadB that the Indian manufacturers were introduced to the increased functionality and efficiency that these methods provided in the production process.
The Just-In-Time inventory system, which is also known as the Toyota Production System is a dynamic style of management which relies on the procurement of materials only when there is a need for them. This results in accelerated productivity with a significantly decreased amount of wastage. This management system immensely helped QuadB in cutting back on initial costs and in the strategic use of their limited resources.
While there are many competitors in this industry, QuadB certainly manages to take the cake with its successful integration of a Virtual Assembly Line in its operations which refers to a manufacturing technique in which tasks are crowdsourced to various employees, scattered in different parts of the world, who work together to achieve a shared goal.
“Having a fully functional Virtual Assembly Line has helped made our manufacturing process more flexible and efficient. Its integration in our production line has had a significant positive impact on our customer relations,” says Bandhul.
Raising the bar that they set for themselves exponentially, the team at QuadB is already the first in the current market to create an Online-to-Offline model through the integration of Cloud VAL in their operations. This assimilation of technology with manual work makes it possible for the company to keep track of its multifaceted production departments in real-time, making the entire process automated.
Already a leader in the Indian custom apparel market in terms of digital space occupancy, Bandhul and Litesh are now focused on setting up their IPO by 2022 which would consequently increase QuadB’s market value.
“We are currently curating a comprehensive product range which will appeal to our expansive client base,” says Litesh. “We will be adding specialized merchandise including water-resistant and mosquito-repellant clothes to our product list.”
QuadB, at the crux of it, remains the effort of two students from PEC to improve the custom clothing market of India and make premium-quality apparel available to consumers around the world. Starting off as a bootstrapped startup and becoming a self-sufficient enterprise with operations all over India in a matter of 2 years is a feat that is not easily accomplished. Its fresh take on the customized apparel industry has allowed QuadB with the potential to position itself as this sector’s future market leader.