Expert Excerpt at LIBA#2: Building a Brand by Mr Venkatesh Rajagopal

LIBA was happy to host Mr. Venkatesh Rajgopal, Chairman & MD, The Indian Terrain Ltd at the Beyond Management Initiative Session held on 2nd August 2017.

Born in a family of Civil Servants, Mr.Venkatesh Rajagopal did his post-graduation in Economics and joined the civil services as an IPS Officer. He served for 10 years and then began his second innings as an entrepreneur. In the year 2000, Mr. Rajgopal launched ‘Indian Terrain’ to cater to the needs of domestic markets. It was listed in the year 2011. Indian Terrain has today grown to be a truly national brand with its presence firmly established across the entire country. The brand is today one of the three top casual wear Brands in the country and has currently recorded retail revenues of Rs.500 crores.

He says that building a clothing brand from the scratch is painstaking, emotional, something that cannot be scaled up and does not count on overnight success. He fondly recalls how his brand that manufactures both style and design, started 17 years ago. Like most brands, Indian Terrain too went through the rough terrains of any product life cycle, facing problems related to the setup of the manufacturing plant, sourcing of raw materials, establishing the distribution channels and most importantly, competing with international brands like U.S Polo. The first outlet that was opened at TTK Road, Chennai is till today the best retail and flagship store. Slowly the brand started occupying space in the retail environment of Multi Brand Outlets, where the Indian consumer redeems an international sense of being. The aesthetics and emotions laid out well in the stores, the way the clothes were displayed, drew the attention of customers and convinced them to try the brand. He partly owes the success of this venture to the strong retail distribution network it has built over the years. The fashion genre that Mr.Rajgopal ventured into was the ‘American Sportswear’. This genre gave him the opportunity to target the masculine face of the country who were gradually evolving their styles to fit both arenas of play and work. The brand itself is known for the ensemble of many individual pieces that are put together, to match the expectation and emotionally connect with the customer.

When asked about women’s apparel, he recollects that they had earlier committed the mistake of entering that segment. As far as he knows, the Indian women were spoilt for choice and it’s never easy to target that segment with the genre he was specialising in. He admits that the story of the Indian Terrain has begun only now with a proper launch platform in place. Building resilience and delivering the promise of his brand will always remain the biggest challenges the brand faces.