Fabindia: Branding India’s Artisanal Craft for Mass Retail
As India’s most iconic garments and home furnishings company, Fabindia had come a long way from its humble beginnings as an export shop in 1960, selling handloom fabrics to overseas customers. In 1976, Fabindia started domestic operations in India, and in the next 38 years it had become synonymous with quality handmade products procured from artisans all over India, with a social conscience. The business combined the twin objectives of making a profit and providing a sustainable livelihood for rural artisans. A whole generation of loyal shoppers had grown up with the brand and the view that “If you were a Fabindia person, you were alright.” However, the winds of change were blowing. The next generation of consumers, who were part of a different economic environment and world order, were less tied to the Fabindia ethos and had wider consumption choices. Given the changes, was it time to evolve? Should Fabindia broaden its positioning? If it remained niche, could it continue the phenomenal growth it had experienced? If Fabindia chose to broaden its positioning, what should that broader positioning be?