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Building a 26000 Cr Manyavar Empire With Just Mom’s 10K

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The journey of Mayavar
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Forget the saris and the vibrant lehengas for once. Let’s meet the man who made humble kurta pajamas desirable, hip, and trendy. He built a brand that dared to dress a nation’s men and women in more than just a kurta-pajama, transforming it from the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Have you guessed the brand we are describing, or are you still wondering about it? Well, let’s not keep you guessing. Yes, we are talking about Manyavar — The Wedding Destination. 

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We bring you a journey of perseverance, grit, and sheer gumption to turn ethnic men’s wear into a canvas for celebration, for pride, for the very essence of being Indian. Let’s begin with a trip down memory lane and meander to the story of what happened with Manyavar.

How manyavar started

The Real MBA..

The story begins in the streets of Kolkata’s AC Market, where Ravi Modi’s father ran a 140 sq ft store. Ravi Modi spent his time at the retail store after school since he was 13. They sold everything from shirts and pants to jeans.

He found a lot of interest at the store and became adept at selling to those who were just window shopping.

Without realizing it, Modi had spent his childhood learning what most MBA schools teach, at the store.

Ravi Modi from Manyavar

Beginning of a Business Dream

By 22, Modi had begun running the store and making decisions different from his father’s.
He realized a gap in the Indian wear category, and therefore introduced Indian wear in their manufacture.

That was his first foray into manufacturing. However, his father questioned a Rs 20000 decision Modi had taken for the store, remarking, ‘Humko barbad kardoge (Will you ruin us)? I might commit suicide one day.”

That was when Ravi Modi decided to leave his father’s store and start a business.

How manyavar started with 10000 investment

Setting up his Business

With just 100 kurta-pajama sets and Rs 10,000 in seed capital from his mother, Ravi turned to manufacturing Indian Wear.

He started selling finished products in Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, MP, Bihar, West Bengal, and other cities.

The birth of Manyavar

The Birth of Manyavar

In the early days of setting up his business, Ravi could not hire a creative agency to think of a name for it. So, he had to come up with a name.

He wondered what the purpose of life was…and realized it was to earn some respect for oneself. That’s how Ravi and his team came up with the name Manyavar. He believed it was his destiny and had nothing to do with his father’s chiding.

how manyavar suffered defeat

Overcoming Challenges

The early days were not easy. Ravi faced ridicule from Western brands who mocked his traditional clothing. But he knew the power of Indian wear and was determined to succeed.

Ravi sold kurtas which cost ₹200 at a loss of ₹10 to ensure he was paid in cash. He thought he would sell 20% of his production to Vishal Mega Mart for working capital and generate revenue from the remaining 80%. It is how they generated revenue in the first year.

Manyavar’s clothes were sold at outlets such as the Kashmir Vastralaya collection and Kala Mandir in the early days. 

Manyavar's initial success

Finding Initial Success

Even after this defeat, Modi did not give up. He followed his father’s advice, ensured he did not take on debt, and by 2005-06, Modi had begun selling his products to large format stores (LFS)—from Future Group to Shoppers Stop and Westside—building a pan-India presence with a revenue of Rs. 20-25 crore yearly. He reinvested every penny into building a solid supply chain and creating high-quality garments.


Manyavar's outlets

Building a Brand

2008 saw Manyavar open its first exclusive brand outlet in Bhubaneswar, with 12 more outlets opened in 2009. Other outlets were opened under the franchise model.

He soon realized multi-brand outlets were not working for them as they were inefficient and not customer-first. So they focused on creating efficiencies with the customer in mind.

Manyavar awards

A Shower of Accolades

Ravi focused on marketing, becoming one of the first brands to advertise during movie intervals in 2014.

His dedication and vision paid off in 2014 when Manyavar bagged the prestigious Images Most Admired Fashion Brand of the Year Award. This win further solidified the brand’s position in the Indian fashion landscape.

Virat & Anushka for Mohey

Celebrity Endorsements

The same year, Manyavar struck gold by securing the king of Indian cricket, Virat Kohli, as its ambassador. His star power ignited a national sensation.

This, along with the launch of Mohey, a collection of women’s ethnic wear endorsed by Anushka Sharma, catapulted Manyavar to superstardom.

Manyavar heart CSR

Expanding Horizons

Manyavar’s commitment to social responsibility also shone through in 2016 with the establishment of the Manas Foundation.

This initiative focused on supporting heart surgeries in children, reflecting the brand’s values of care and compassion. Manyavar had grown to a revenue of Rs 500 crore without any debt or external funding by 2016.

Manyavar - the king of all ethnic wear

Market Domination

The couple’s appearance in Manyavar ads for weddings and festivals further cemented the brand’s position as the go-to destination for ethnic wear.

Manyavar’s revenue soared to Rs 1,000 crore, beating major competitors like Aditya Birla Fashion and Tata Trent.

Manyavar celebration wear

Celebration Wear: Embracing All Occasions

By 2017, Manyavar had transcended its wedding-centric image and adopted the tagline “Celebration Wear.” This shift recognized the growing demand for ethnic wear for various occasions beyond weddings, such as festivals, family gatherings, and religious ceremonies.

Manyavar's future

Charting Fashions’ Future

Ravi and his team are focused on the runway, not just the aisle.

They cater to the ₹5 to ₹50 lakh wedding market. The ₹50 lakh to ₹ 5 crore market is catered to by Twamev, while less than ₹5 lakhs is addressed by the Manthan range.

Manyavar’s future is brimming with innovation, from tech-infused fabrics to sustainable practices, proving that tradition can be the future of fashion.

Manyavar IPO

IPO and Global Expansion

Manyavar’s success continued with its IPO in 2022, raising Rs 944 crore and becoming the first Indian ethnic wear company to be listed on the stock exchange.

Today, Manyavar is present in over 240 cities in India and five countries globally, with a valuation of Rs 26,000 crore.

Ravi Modi's Manyavar

The Man Behind the Brand

Ravi Modi’s story is one of inspiration and perseverance. He dared to dream big and transformed a simple kurta-pajama into a symbol of Indian pride and tradition.

Manyavar’s success is a testament to Ravi’s vision, passion, and unwavering belief in the power of Indian ethnic wear. Manyavar’s legacy is not just about clothes; it’s about celebrating Indian culture and heritage.

The brand has made ethnic wear cool and trendy, giving people a sense of pride in their roots. As Manyavar grows, one thing is sure: Ravi Modi’s vision will continue to inspire future generations.

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I’m Archana R. Chettiar, an experienced content creator with
an affinity for writing on personal finance and other financial content. I
love to write on equity investing, retirement, managing money, and more.

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