A personal desire to see everyone wear branded shirts led Sunil Shah to venture into a shirt manufacturing company called Impression. Ever since it started its operations in 1994, Impression has become one of the most sought after platforms for quality shirts for the well-dressed gentlemen. Putting style back into men’s shirts, thanks to their trendy designs which are tailored to perfection, the brand has spread its wings into the major markets of Nepal in a span of 25 years. This includes all the leading stores in the country.
“Impression was born out of my father’s personal quest to see everyone wear branded shirts that are high in quality, easily accessible to a larger audience and affordable. With a small scale factory in Birgunj and barely two stitching machines to start with, 1994 was all about experimenting, trying, testing and learning,” smiles the CEO Atul Shah and adds, “After 25 years we have now grown to spread our business to neighbouring countries like India. And the journey has been nothing short of exhilarating.”
The USP of the shirts from Impression has been its fabric which is carefully sourced from some of the finest mills in the country. From pure cotton to a family of cotton and linen, they work with an extensive range. Lately, they have introduced a lot of wrinkle-resistant and stretch fabrics that are both functional and long-lasting.
The second factor which wins the customers heart is the pricing, “The first shirt we sold in the initial phase was priced at Rs 250. Today all our shirts are priced between Rs 1200-1800,” he informs. They will be starting women’s shirts which will be designed and stitched in the United States next year. Shah says that their target group is someone who prefers a quality product at an affordable price and falls between 25 to 65 years age bracket.
He elaborates, “We follow a standard process – right from designing a shirt to manufacturing it. Our extensive designs help us cater to people with diverse tastes across the country.” Further, the brand has three subcategories− Special, Delvetron and ABM. “While Special is a formal shirt collection, Delvetron and ABM cater to the casual wear demand. Further, Delvetron exists in the Indian market as well,” he shares. For the festive season, the brand is coming up with floral designed shirts and an extensive range of plain shirts. “We introduce 25 new designs every month. And with 70% repeat customers, we hold 15-20% share in the market,” he claims.
He elaborates, “All our shirts are made from scratch once an order is received from the retailers. Currently, we are running 10,000 pieces behind in terms of delivery, so high is the demand. Also, we make sure the retailer does not sell the shirt above the MRP.”
“Kathmandu has always been on our minds; we have had a strong resonance with our customers here,” says the young entrepreneur. Retail in Nepal is now caught between online and offline sales and Shah says, “Very soon, the lines between offline and online are going to blur completely. This may sound clichéd, but it is a reality. Our research upgrades, user journey flows and processes will take into account this shift in shopping habits. We hope to be at the cutting edge of omni channel distribution in the country with a strong presence online.”
He considers the sales of one lakh units a month a personal highlight. While the future looks bright with expansion plans in the offing; Shah also owns Best Care, a brand which deals in 60 products in the hygiene sector; clinical and non-clinical. In fact, they claim to be the first in the country to introduce adult diapers.