Boasting of a wholesome bouquet of trend-led fashion brands catering to the fashion and accessories needs of women, men, teenagers and children, Bestseller is an international family-owned fashion company founded in Denmark. With a humble beginning in 1975, the company has tremendously grown till the present day, with more than 17,000 dedicated colleagues working in all parts of the world. The brand has made a stronghold in the market with an omnichannel presence, as its products are available online and are also retailed via approximately 2,700 branded chain stores and in 20,000 multi-brand and department stores across Europe, the Middle East, North America, Latin America, Australia and India.
Since its entry in India in 2008, Bestseller brands have become a go-to destination for many fashion enthusiasts, which is emblematic of the success its four brands in India, namely Jack & Jones, Vero Moda, Only and Selected Homme, have garnered over the years. It presently boasts of 1,200+ shopfronts spread across an area of 6,00,889 sq. ft. pan-India.
At the helm of Bestseller’s menswear brand portfolio is the uber chic brand Jack & Jones, which has carved a niche for itself in the modern menswear space that trudges between smart formals and easy casuals, with a stronghold in denims. Within India, the brand operates through 68 Exclusive Brand Outlets and more than 450 Shop-In-Shop outlets, with the core operations being carried out from the Bestseller office, nestled in the busy streets of Mumbai, under the leadership of Vineet Gautam. This office is responsible for the operations of Bestseller India, and has been thriving in the market owing to a strong sourcing team supported by an efficient set of vendors, or partners, as the Bestseller stakeholders prefer giving an ode to the trust and longterm partnerships they maintain with their vendors. Jack & Jones sources several product categories from different countries, with the assortment comprising of topwear including T-shirts, shirts, sweatshirts, flat knits; bottoms including denim pants and shorts, woven shorts and pants; tailored garments such as outerwear, smart casuals including knit and linen blazers; along with footwear and accessories including belts, wallets, etc. The sourcing for Jack & Jones is on the shoulders of a team of seven, headed by Anshul Grover, Head of Sourcing, Jack & Jones, which includes Ranjit Jana, Apeksha Paralkar, Shaifali Singh, Ishfaq Zargar, Swati Chandak, Saad Moinudeen and Ayub Alam.
In a candid conversation with Apparel Resources, Anshul discusses the new strategies across various fields that the brand is adopting for a revamped version of Jack & Jones for the season of Spring/Summer 2020. A synergy of four teams, namely design, buying, sourcing & merchandising, handle the retail operations of the brand. Sourcing involves determination of the range by the design team, as per ongoing trends and sales reports to make collection for the season. The buyers choose the final assortment of collection as per the MRPs and also determine the final buying quantities. This is where the core responsibilities of the sourcing team starts, and it’s all about achieving the right product, right price and at the right time to serve the consumers the best.
“JACK & JONES is one of the most popular jeans brands in India. The sourcing team with the design and buying team are responsible for bringing the best product forward with top quality for our customers.” Anshul Grover, Head of Sourcing, Jack & Jones
Bestseller’s sourcing base
Through its rich experience, Bestseller knows that a certain kind of product can be made by a certain factory and the orders are distributed accordingly. The Indian Jack & Jones team has the power to nominate new factories and vendors, but those have to be at par with the high standards Bestseller Denmark entails, as each and every vendor has to be competent because once approved, the factory can also cater to the global orders placed by Bestseller Denmark. The company’s wide vendor base is spread out across the South East Asian and surrounding countries including India, Bangladesh, Turkey, China, etc., for products right from basic denims, knits and wovens to niche categories such as outerwear, premium shirting and dressing.
The Jack & Jones team is constantly employing new ways to reduce the cost and time resources for the vendors and the brand. Anshul enlightens about one such initiative, “Two years back, we were procuring a lot of our products by sea from Bangladesh, and the time between ex-factory and in-warehouse was about 45 days. We then introduced a road-based route for these products to come in, and the time from the point where the product leaves the factory to the time it reaches our warehouses in India has dramatically reduced to mere 10 days, thus revolutionising the entire operations with Bangladesh. It also saved a lot of cost and has brought down the logistics bills by 50 per cent, and now the products are reaching us much faster.”
Bestseller considers its vendors as partners, instead of mere suppliers, and has strategised their sourcing operations in a way that empowers these vendors while ensuring the best results for the company. As per Anshul, the Denmark office has given their vendors the liberty to conduct their own quality audits to show their trust and interest in the development of the vendor, and the Indian office is making efforts to adopt the same for its domestic vendors. They recently adopted a grading system for the Indian vendors on three broad parameters – one is on-time delivery, second is quality, and third parameter is design, and this grading system further empowers these vendors to perform better and harness better scores to enjoy the incentives.
The season of change
Spring/Summer 2020 is a season that will mark a lot of changes for Jack & Jones in India in the fields of sustainability, product range and overall brand language. The brand recently started Jack & Jones Junior, catering to the age group from 8 years till 16 years. From S/S ‘20 onwards, they will incorporate smaller sizes, starting from four years onwards. The initial response to the category showcased promising avenue in the future. They have also revamped their footwear offering as previously, they offered a lot of semi-formal and canvas shoes, and now, they have equal blend of sporty shoes, sneakers and smart leather shoes. A lot of changes are being made in their core category, the denims, with a plenty of new washes and fabrics that will be majorly directed towards sustainable fashion.
On the sustainability front, from Bestseller’s perspective, by the year 2020, 50 per cent of the products will formulate a completely sustainable range, as Anshul says, “Bestseller is going to continuously strive to use Organic Cotton, BCI, use less water to wash our denims, use laser finishing techniques. It has been our constant endeavour to do so in the years gone by as well; increasing awareness of the consumers towards conscious fashion only helps the cause.” Their vendors are also very enthusiastic towards sustainability, as they understand it is the need of the hour due to the global buyers they are catering to. This synergy between the Jack & Jones team and their vendors is emblematic of the rise of India as a retail hub, while also upholding India’s image as one of the biggest sourcing hubs on the global radar.