BIBA – Dressing the Women of Urban India


Code : LDS0051

Year :

Industry : Textiles & Apparel

Region : Asia

Teaching Note: Available

Structured Assignment : Not Available

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Abstract: BIBA Apparels Private Limited (BIBA), the Indian traditional fashion giant, had been dressing women from every corner of India since 1986. Contemporary ethnic fashion at an affordable price was BIBA’s promise to fashion enthusiasts, and it offered women’s Churidars and Dupatta sets. The word “Biba,” a Punjabi endearment for a young, sublime, and pretty girl, influenced Meena Bindra (Meena), the founder of BIBA, to use the name for the line of salwar, kameez and dupattas that she launched in 1986. What began as a fashionable and affordable line remained the brand’s core ideology: “fashion at affordable price”. In its 30 years of existence as a traditional homegrown salwar kameez boutique, BIBA emerged as one of the leading fashion brands in women’s clothing. In January 2021, BIBA hit the 290th store count and the 35th flagship store in the country.

In its journey of growth, BIBA faced its fair share of challenges. Throughout its journey, one of the crucial decision points was to commercialize the family venture to suit the needs of retail giants like Shoppers Stop and Pantaloons. With this move, the focus shifted from innovation to quality standardization.

With Siddharth’s (Meena’s younger son) entry into the family business, there was a complete restructuring of the venture. Earlier, BIBA had acted only as a manufacturer and supplier but with its first retail showroom being set up in 1988, it began direct selling. A major setback occurred when there was a rift between her two sons and Sanjay, her elder son, left BIBA to form his own company, the Seven East.

BIBA strategized its marketing and retailing practices as well as its branding. Futurebrands became BIBA’s brand partner in May 2011. It began with a study of the women ethnic wear market in the six major cities of India, which formed BIBA’s target market. The market research helped BIBA to formulate its strategic roadmap.

In 2014, BIBA created its online store so that customers would not even have to visit the stores. Siddharth recognized the opportunity opening up in front of them in the form of digital media and decided to make the most of it. In line with his focus on digital media, Futurebrands hired the firm Brandmovers to create and manage BIBA’s Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts. It also ventured into blogs and other collaborative digital media.

In its journey, BIBA faced several challenges. BIBA had been facing some competition from western brands, which were attracting the younger generation. Youngsters considered traditional wear only for occasions and festivals while they saw western attire as regular clothing. The reason for the shift was more awareness about international trends which had picked up in India rapidly. Retailers therefore began stocking 50% western clothes. Hence, shelf space for salwars and kurtis dropped from 70% to 50%.

Shoppers were quick to raise concerns whenever BIBA did not live up to their expectations. Around 2014, there was a general complaint that BIBA’s prices had suddenly gone up while quality had declined. Also, during the pandemic years 2019 – 2021, with the shift to online selling, there were several complaints against BIBA of wrong product delivery, late delivery, and low quality.

Meena’s major focus was on the quality of her products, something she had imbibed overtime. Customer interactions were conducted to understand the problems relating to customers, products, or front-end staff. The results from such surveys helped BIBA streamline its operations. In 2019, Siddharth target was to capture a market share of between 4% and 8%, which translated into a topline of Rs. 30 Bn. To reach such ambitious numbers, he planned to open 200 more stores in India, as well as in new international markets like the Middle East and South East Asia, by 2022.

It remained to be seen whether BIBA would be able to continue to sustain its growth and retain its dominant position in the Indian apparels market. Would it be able to address the challenges it was facing and increase its market share in the retail industry space?

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Pedagogical Objectives:

  • Interpret how the venture came into being and how it was turned into a family business by a mother and her two sons.
  • Inspect the similarities between BIBA and a typical family business
  • Identify whether there was any need for the particular product made by BIBA for Indian women and whether BIBA was able to address any gap.
  • Analyze the need and challenges in scaling up the family business
  • Draw parallels with the three-circle model of a family business against all the parameters

    Keywords :Startups; Innovation; Entrepreneurship; Marketing Strategy; New Product Development; Intellectual Property Rights; Women in Business; Entrepreneurship; Family business

    Contents :

    Case Introduction >>

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