How Dubai-based Kachins Couture evolved its tailoring business over four decades
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How Dubai-based Kachins Couture evolved its tailoring business over four decades

How Dubai-based Kachins Couture evolved its tailoring business over four decades

Second-generation family member Anil Ramchandani, director of business development, is playing a key role in determining its future course

Anil, Ashok and Ravi Ramchandani

What was Dubai’s menswear tailoring market like when your father Ashok Ramchandani established Kachins Couture in 1981?
In the 1980s, menswear tailoring was emerging in the UAE. There were only four-five stores that provided tailoring services for men in Dubai. My father established our first store in the heart of Bur Dubai, and it still exists today. Some of his early clients included Emirates Airline, Coca-Cola, Juma Al Majid, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and many five-star hotels that placed their uniform orders with us.

At what point did Kachins transition from a small-scale business to a larger operation?
In 1989, Kachins evolved from a single 690 sq ft store offering only bespoke tailoring services to a two-storey 3,000 sq ft store offering a one-stop-shop for bespoke tailoring and fabrics under one roof. My father expanded the existing store, and also acquired two more next to it. It made Kachins a prime shopping location for men and women. This is also when he launched the first designer boutique for women. Kachins Group currently employs 140 employees across our five showrooms and factory. At present, our volume stands in the range of 8,000-10,000 suits and shirts per annum.

Kachins Couture

Tell us about the fabrics used and the expertise of the tailors currently employed.
We have collaborated with many renowned European fabric brands and mills. Some of the brands we offer include – but are not limited to – Scabal, Holland & Sherry, Cerruti, Huddersfield Worsted, Thomas Mason and Monti. Our tailors have been working with us for decades now. The years of experience and practice allows us to provide our clients with a high level of quality and workmanship.

What is the range of services that Kachins currently offers?
We offer a complete range of products and services ranging from ready-to-wear shirts to fully-canvassed bespoke suits. The steps [to create a bespoke suit] involve an initial consultation where a client is introduced to our services and where they sample the wide range of available fabrics. They are then introduced to the master cutter who uses his measuring methods to learn about the client’s posture and considers how best to accentuate their features. Next, be it your jacket, shirt, waistcoat, trousers, or shorts, this is the point where clients can customise every little detail with a variety of options such as thread colours, linings, buttons, designs, and cuts. The next stage is fittings where a roughly-stitched suit is put together so the master can see how well it works on the client. Alterations are made and a second fitting is decided accordingly.

Kachins Couture

Our service doesn’t stop once the delivery is done. A team member will be in touch with the client after a few weeks to ensure the suit is fitting well and to find out if there are any alterations required. Moreover, on successful completion and delivery of your garments, the client’s measurements and specifications are permanently stored in our system for future reference. This helps us minimise the lead time for repeat orders.

We also offer door-to-door services where clients can enjoy our bespoke tailoring services from the comfort of their home or their office. If necessary, a client can even get his suits as quickly as three days when he places an order for urgent delivery.

Apart from tailoring, shoes are another significant component of your business. Tell us about it.
We do provide a range of ready-to-wear shoes as well as custom-made shoes where a client can set up an appointment and create a pair of shoes from scratch, and style it exactly how they want to. It’s a similar process to making a suit. Shoes have had an immense growth in demand over the past few years. We’ve been bringing in genuine bespoke shoes from Italy and Spain to fulfil this segment in our business.

Kachins

You will be launching an e-commerce platform this year. What are some of your expectations from it?
This website will be our gateway to markets we haven’t been able to reach yet. Many of our clients who visit us from around the world have been unable to reach us due to travel restrictions or faced difficulties due to the pandemic. This platform will help us cater to them in a bigger and better way. We aim to establish Kachins in markets around the world and this will be our gateway to it.

What are your expansion plans?
This year, we have a few stores already in the pipeline, one of which will be our first international store outside the UAE. We have been looking into expanding in the GCC region for a while now. Covid-19, of course, was one of the reasons we haven’t been able to execute this yet. But I do believe this will be our year to finally get back out there and see Kachins expand internationally. We aim to have at least five stores overseas by the end of next year.

What are the advantages of working within a family-owned business setup?
The best part about having a family business is the support system that comes with it. Be it a new project or a difficulty you’re facing, we always support each other. Growing up with this business, I’ve not only learned from my father, but also from my siblings, Ravi and Neetu, who are a big part of the organisation. They’ve been involved in the business much longer than I have and when I joined, they supported and guided me.
Yes, there are definitely times where we have a conflict of interest or approach that we all can’t agree upon, but this doesn’t stop us from working well together. We’ve always respected each other’s decisions and moved ahead, treating it as an experiment, with its failure and success, contributing to our learning curve.

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