Da Milano was a brand with two retail outlets. When Shivani Malik took over in 2007, she changed the course and gave a complete makeover. Today, Da Milano has 85 stores in India, Nepal and UAE. They are soon coming up with a flagship retail outlet in Dubai Mall with which they are keen on catering to the global audience.
Here are the edited excerpts of our second episode of the Accomplished Women Series with Shivani Malik, Director of Da Milano.
The world of fashion is majorly women-centric and competitive. Do you agree with that and how would you define Da Milano?
I like it when you say world of fashion is dominated by women as I feel women are born a little more creative. Building Da Milano has been close to my heart as it is an extension of my own personality. Me along with my husband worked hard to build this brand to this level. Our efforts are appreciated by our customers in India. Now, we are turning towards the global stage and soon we are to open our flagship store at Dubai Mall which is one of the best retail destinations the world has to offer. It is a moment of pride and yet it shows sky is the limit and if we work hard, we can definitely reach to the stars.
There should have been a moment when you never had a scope to move ahead as an entrepreneur. If you ever had that scenario, when was that and please share with us for inspiration?
Those moments are not once in a blue moon. Every hour in a day we have that situation. Sometimes, we tend to doubt ourselves and our decisions. As an entrepreneur, you need to take the right decisions with enormous confidence and be firm on it. Once that is in place, it is half the battle won and the rest falls in line. Struggle or failure is the only way to achieve success. And that’s the only way we grow.
Not only entrepreneurs, everybody had struggled last year. Many people wanted to quit because they couldn’t take it. And, we all rose after a fall. It is always important that when you fall, you fall forward so that you can rise immediately.
Fashion and the middle class have been on the opposite poles. But Da Milano is at an affordable price point. Yet, there are creativity elements. How do you manage to do it?
When the brand was conceptualized, our motto was to make it affordable to the middle class of India. When we say luxury, it is not about the product, it is about the experience. We want to give them a product with which they feel it is worth the experience. That journey ends only when they pass it on to the next person. Our entire business process is based on that vision.
What’s the roadmap for Da Milano in the coming few years?
As an entrepreneur, you keep trying and testing. One of Da Milano’s focuses is to take affordable luxury to the rest of the world. Because of COVID-19 those plans got stalled last year. But once normalcy returns, we are aggressively attempting to take affordable luxury to the rest of the world. Also, product innovations are something we are looking at. We believe in fast fashion and during lockdown, we came up with work from home collections. Similarly, we are attempting such new concepts.
There are women entrepreneurs from remote locations across India and they don’t stand a chance to make it big. Motivation is a major factor for the ones who step back. What would be your advice for the rest?
In my opinion, women face societal pressure and succumb to that. I would advise them to believe in themselves and stand up for themselves. Everyone has their opinion and I would say, it is extremely important to know your worth and stand up for yourself.
Keep watching this space, for more exciting updates.