Into His World: Sahil Malik
Having studied Fashion Design and Information Technology, were you always focused on working in the fashion industry, or was there a specific moment that inspired you?
I studied with the aim to create a fashion brand. It was my dream to own a label and I started working on it from the day I passed out of school.
As the Managing Director of Da Milano, what does a workday look like for you? Every day is a new schedule. Sometimes I am travelling for work or visiting the stores as each store is company-owned and self-funded. I spend most of my day at the office. Every day brings in new challenges and new learnings.
What are some challenges you face in the fashion retail business? How do you stay motivated?
As a brand, we face multiple challenges in a day. We have more than 80 stores in India, UAE, and Nepal. A constantly growing brand faces major challenges such as identifying the right location for the store, allocating the products which will be accepted by that market and strategising marketing activities to reach to the right target audience. Getting a location at leading malls and the airports is another challenge we face as a brand. The style and design market is very dynamic yet tricky; it never stays still. The thrill of working in this business is its ever-changing mood and momentum. It is important for us to have a good understanding of consumer tastes and what makes them vary.
How important is social media for a brand and do you see any benefits in using it for wider customer reach?
It does not matter if you own a small fashion label or an international brand. Social media is an imperative platform to market your brand. It is the most effective yet affordable way to reach out to your target audience and showcase your brand’s offerings. This tool is also the easiest medium to talk about the brand ethos and the brand story.
Tapping the Indian market can be tricky as there are new brands launching innumerable products day in and day out. What is your strategy to remain always in demand?
Da Milano is an affordable luxury leather accessory brand. Our vision is to bring reasonable luxury and Italian style to the discerning clientele. We keep up the pace in the fast-moving world of fashion by producing more than 300 designs per season and 3,000 SKUs per month. Our international design team in Italy works closely with our design team in India to keep everything in sync with changing trends. We do all this while offering the most affordable prices. We proudly offer a lifestyle service warranty on all our products as well.
What is the significance of constantly innovating the products that you design?
I believe that innovating new products and designs keep a brand going. Customers are looking for something new each day. They get bored easily. Keeping up with trends and structuring ideas is the key to growth for any fashion brand.
In your opinion, what are the latest trends that are driving the leather accessories industry right now?
Gone are the days when leather accessories were only accepted in basic black, brown, and tan colour. The changing trends have increased the demand for quirky and out of the box colours. Neon, shades of orange, blues, corals, reds, etc., along with bold textures like snake, crocodile, and lizard are ruling the leather accessories industry.
You are also at the helm of Rosso Brunello. Where does the company stand today in terms of growth?
I founded Rosso Brunello in 2010 as footwear was the only fashion category we did not have. When I started working on it, I realised that it is so vast that we could create a separate brand for footwear. The store count is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years in India and abroad.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received? Would you enjoy mentoring the novices in the fashion and retail world?
My father always tells me to stay humble and down to earth no matter how successful you become in life. I would love to share my experiences and learnings with people who are starting up their own business.
With a soaring number of accolades in your name, where do you see yourself and your brand in the next few years?
We now have more than 80 stores across the county, five stores in Dubai and one in Nepal. And we’re working on opening in London, Singapore and a few more in UAE. We aspire to open multiple stores across the globe and reach out to discerning clientele of all age groups.