Akbarallys, the landmark department store near Flora Fountain, has now been rebranded and relaunched as Akbarallys Men. We caught up with Aiman Khorakiwala, who shouldered the responsibility of this relaunch
Q. What prompted your decision to rebrand / revamp Akbarally’s?
Akbarallys has been an extremely trusted and renowned brand. We have an extremely loyal clientele and I aspire to continue this tradition in a whole new way. While women have numerous shopping options and don’t mind traveling from store to store to satisfy their shopping needs; I noticed the lack of a multi-brand store for men in the city. Moreover, Fountain is an extremely male dominated space – a commercial area frequented by men of all ages and corporate backgrounds, which explains why the men’s section in the original store always performed well. It only seemed ideal to utilize the space well and introduce, once more, the concept of ‘everything under one roof’- this time for men.
Q. What was the biggest obstacle you faced during the rebranding effort?
The biggest obstacle faced was that of changing the perception of the old Akbarallys as that of a departmental store, to a premium multi-brand men’s store. Also it was extremely challenging rearranging the old staff and bringing in new blood and energy.
Q. Which are the brands that will be sold at the store? What options will customers have and in what price range?
A wide range of products comprising of men’s accessories, Western casuals and formals, Indian-wear, winter-wear, from reputed brands such as Calvin Klein, Ed Hardy, Gas, Tommy Hilfiger, United Colors of Benetton and Indian brands like Being Human, Indian Terrain, Spykar, Colorplus, etc. are comfortably spread out across the two level store. Categories: casuals, formals, denims, winter wear, leather accessories, fashion accessories, ethnic wear, fabrics and tailoring, the barber shop. Price point- ranges from Rs. 1,499 – Rs. 3,999 for a formal shirt, Rs. 899 – Rs. 2,500 for a round-neck tee and anywhere between Rs. 2,500 – Rs. 11,999 for a pair of jeans. Tailor-made suits range from Rs. 12,000 – Rs. 1,00,000. Also, any credit note or gift voucher can be redeemed against any brand.
Q. Has the company introduced any innovations to improve customer experience?
We have changed the interiors of the place – the store is in shades of black and white which make it look minimalistic and classic. The pillars continue to bear beautiful mouldings designed during its primordial days. Vintage-coloured mirrors and lights, rendering an industrial look, adorn the walls. The staff is well-trained to help a customer find his style needs. The exchange policy covers all brands – so for example, one can exchange a pair of Levis jeans for a Tommy Hilfiger shirt. We serve beverages to customers – barley water and tea/ coffee to all. All size-alterations are conducted in house. Home delivery of goods. Our loyal customers get benefits to our sales before the rest of the public.
Q. How do you compete with on-line retailers on cost, how do you attract customers?
We don’t compete with online prices. Here at Akbarallys Men we aren’t playing the price game. We provide the customer with a phenomenal shopping experience, great customer service and personalised after-sales service. Here you will find a basket of curated brands and within those brands carefully picked styles to suit the south Mumbai customer’s taste.
Q. Please comment on your bespoke services.
Akbarallys Men has introduced its own range of bespoke clothing – hand crafted suits, shirts, bandhgalas and bandhis made from the finest Italian fabrics. This product line is being extensively developed and worked on currently.
Q. What’s in store for the future?
We wish to make this model a success in this location and hopefully open many more stores after a year, either through the franchise model or our own stores.