BILAL Ahmad Khan, general manager, and YASSER Irfan, brand manager, tell Nimrah Khokhar how they manage Kayseriaâ€™s growing empire
What does it take to run a successful clothing brand?
BILAL: Entrepreneurial approach, creative flare and passion to deliver the best
YASSER: To establish a successful brand one needs dedication, ingenuity and integrity. Itâ€™s most important be on your toes as the fashion market changes like the wind.
How do you manage your work and personal life?
BILAL: Itâ€™s all about managing your focus and developing a clear sense of priorities.
YASSER: One has to draw a line between work and personal life. After years of trying I have finally learned to leave work at the office. My personal time is just for my family.
How important is formal education in textile business?
BILAL: Formal education is part of your skill set, which when combined with passion, drive and experience gives you an edge over everyone else.
YASSER: Education is important in any field but real life experience and knowledge of others will take upper hand in most textile businesses. I myself have no formal education in textile or fashion business but I have learned from the best, like the Adidas team, fashion designers and most importantly Mr. Hamid Zaman.
How do you ascertain the fashion and colour trends for Kayseria?
BILAL: The basis for fashion and colour trends are derived from formal sources available worldwide but the most important factor is the instinct of designers. Our design team has been trained and encouraged to follow their hearts in developing colours and fashion forecasts, which result in the most innovative and creative product possible. Our directors, Madam Sarah Zaman and Waleed Zaman, have placed special emphasis on inculcating this instinctive fashion sense to our design team.
YASSER: Colour trends are available form the different companies around the world who specialize in forecasting seasons and colors. One can take the information as guidance but incorporate it to your surroundings, seasons and skin tone.
What is your biggest success regarding your brand so far?
BILAL: Establishing one of the best brands out there in the field, especially in face of tough competition presented by already established giants in our fashion retail market.
YASSER: Sales growth, customer growth and retail growth. Our consumer loyalty has grown every year and we are mentioned and placed with top brands of Pakistan.
How do you differentiate your brand with your competitors?
BILAL: High Quality, pure fabrics, genuinely creative designs and, most important of all, a vibrant, creative and dynamic home-grown brand team.
YASSER: Our customers know that we give them the best quality and designs. We are not run of the mill designers. We promise quality and we give quality. Integrity runs in the brands DNA.
Has the fashion market become more challenging if you compare it with the last decade?
BILAL: Yes, definitely. The low entry barriers in the fashion textile industry have made it easier for anyone with a creative mindset and passion for fashion to enter this market. Resultantly, we have one of the most fiercely competitive fashion markets in the world. Increased consumer awareness and ever expanding middle class has fueled the growth and competition in this industry.
YASSER: Disposable fashion is a challenge with us as we want our clothes to last and be valid (in fashion) every season. Keeping prices competitive while keeping high quality in mind is the biggest challenge for us. Every summer season we see 900+ new brands come up and then disappear. So the most important challenge is to be consistent in designs and quality.
People in Pakistan have become very conscious/ aware about quality and standard, whatâ€™s your take on that?
BILAL: Yes the exposure of our consumer to a variety of home-grown as well as international brands has increased the awareness level to its highest in our retail history. I believe this is a good trend because it constantly pushes us to our limits, forces us to be the best and exceed our valued customersâ€™ expectations.
YASSER: The majority of us are working for money to run a house, so every penny matters. I look for value for money and Kayseria is just that. Again, I want my product to be valid this season but be valid later on as well.
Which collection of Kayseria is coming out? What is the theme of the collection?
Our Winter Collection is out now with prints you will love and classic embroidery collection you will need to have and later we will have Kayseria Pret, Ladli, Working Woman, Luxury Pret and Limited Editions coming soon at all outlets.