At the 40-years of age, this man has an extra ordinary achievement in the business scene of Kashmir. A first generation entrepreneur, Adil Mir with an initial investment of Rs 50,000 in 1997 has come to a stage where his company turn over has reached about Rs10 crore annually. And that too by doing something, which is not a Kashmir advantage at all. Manufacturing garments.
Mir, by venturing into textile manufacturing, has not only created a successful business supplying internationally as well as within India but has created a famous Kashmir brand, Pureweave.
A hardcore industrialist, Mir uses modern technology, high-grade raw material to manufacture quality products and that has become his success mantra.
Venturing into textile manufacturing was not what Mir has thought of doing. Mesmerised by computers like his other classmates in 90s' Kashmir, Mir after his 10+2 decided to go for computer engineering in Bangalore. It was against wishes of his father, who wanted him to do textile engineering. After completing his MCA from Banglore, he returned back to Kashmir in 1997 and started a computer business. This was a time, when his father, who retired from JK Industries Ltd, started raw material business, dealing with import of cashmere etc.
However, to find a way to go outside for sometime, Mir started to deal with pashmina shawls. He started exporting to the United Kingdom and some other places. During a visit to UK regarding his shawl business he got to know about a textile course there and that became a turning point for him. He took the course and many others – regarding textile design, weaving and related fields – followed.
Armed with relevant textile manufacturing skills, in 2002-03 Mir started to manufacture scarves and shawls mostly with cashmere. He was going outside in different countries, participating in exhibitions, fashion shows, etc to sell his products. The export business of these products did well.
Encouraged with the success, he decided to go into manufacturing in a big way. Initially he decided to setup the Pureweave's manufacturing unit in Noida. "It was commercially more viable and then the prospects was better with secure environment there. But then I thought, I also owe something to my homeland; I need to do it there. Besides, I am always more comfortable and feel safer in Kashmir despite the uncertainties we face here," says Mir.
Therefore in 2007 end, Mir finally decided to launch Pureweave from Kashmir and took land at Rangreth Industrial Area for the manufacturing unit. He registered Pureweave Fashions as a private limited company on professional lines. However due to 2008 and 2010 uprising, the setup could be completed only in 2012.
"At that time our focus was on exports, our manufacturing line was all about western garments. We started with gowns, kaftans, palazzos, scarves etc. It was difficult for us that time to come into Indian garments. To come into Indian garments, we had to understand the patterns, colour combinations, cultures etc and lot more, so it took us some time to understand that. But we somehow now mix the western with the Indian, something which has good demand in domestic market. Here too we need to keep a distinction between a Kashmir customer and Delhi one, who have different preferences," says Mir.
Pureweave's whole manufacturing line is about women's garments.
"We are into women only clothing. Women's market is huge, so need to completely focus on it. The kind of material we deal into and the setup we have created is with the focus on women's apparels. It is a well thought decision," he adds.
The fabric used by Pureweave is very refined and high-end. German dyes, digital printing and yarn, which is very sophisticated to produce high quality products, in softness, strength durability, look and design is used only.
The factory, which Mir has setup, does everything from weaving fabric, dying, designing to stitching in house. Therefore keeping total control on the quality.
Except for the initial processing of a fibre, which is cleaning and spinning of yarn, all the manufacturing process is carried in the Pureweave's industrial unit at Rangreth.
Mir stresses that Pureweave is not a handicrafts units. "We are not into handicrafts, what Kashmiris usually do and other textile manufactures do here. We are completely a garment industry. We make the fabric for garments and that is something different. The difference between the handicrafts and our manufacturing is that it has a different yarn. Ours has a different raw material made by machines.. It should have a more strength and capability of taking the stitching. So the manufacture is completely different that for the shawls and stools or handicrafts in the regular textile factories based in Srinagar," says Mir.
All the garment fabric is produced from different materials like cashmere, cotton, modal, bamboo, woollen, fine woollen, Marino wool and many more basic fibres and blends.
The raw material, particularly cashmere, used at Pureweave is imported or procured in south India then spun into yarn in factories in Calcutta or southern states of India.
When asked why is the cashmere, being imported from Mangolia and other countries instead of using the local pashmina, Mir says it is done purposely. "The pashmina production, is not that much here and if we start procuring that for our factory where will the local artisans go, who use it for shawls and other products," says Mir. He strictly follows the norm that all his products made, which are machine made, should be labelled as cashmere and not Pashmina. He says pashmina should be kept for labelling handicrafts only so that the distinction is clear.
While the exports became a big success and Pureweave supplied to some of the leading brands of the world, Mir turned towards domestic market in 2014. First he started online and then at the end of the year opened first retail outlet in Srinagar's posh Rajbagh area at Comrade Inn.
"We not only got very good response but it became much more easier for us and the cash flow enhanced. We sold lot of garment online throughout India. Same way Pureweave became very popular within Srinagar and everybody liked our products. And everybody was very keen to know about us'" he says.
"We manufacture these fabrics, right from the fibre to finish in our factory based in Srinagar. Whatever expertise was there, we concentrated on making our process the best available. And with quality production, our sales went up, which encouraged me to go for the first outlet outside Kashmir in New Delhi at Greater Kailash in beginning of 2016 followed by another at Venice Mall, Greater Noida and now many more are in pipeline,' says Mir.
Mir says he has shifted his complete focus from the exports towards domestic market, with 80 percent of his about Rs 10 crore sales in 2016 coming from Indian market both through online and retail outlets.
"When I started with exports the yearly turnover was about Rs 50 lakh to Rs 60 lakh and then it went to Rs 3 crore, Rs 5 crore and now it has crossed Rs 8 crore and hope to touch Rs 10 crore this year," says Mir, adding, Pureweave has doubled its growth in last 5 years.
"I don't like to do things up and down, I pay VAT and other taxes as per norms and you won't see misappropriation for a single paisa, therefore, I don't need to hide my turnover or other business figures."
Presently there are about 100 employees working with Pureweave with more than 70 at its factory in Rangreth. The factory keeps churning products 24 hours a day in many shifts.
About the expansion plans, Mir says: "Presently we have 40 tailoring machines for our three outlets and in next one year we require at least 200 tailoring machines, which means at least 200 people. We are also planning expansion of our factory to enhance the production. We are installing some big machines. That was basically last year plan, but, you know, the situation. Now it is going to happen soon here. So the immediate target is 10 -15 showrooms in next 2 years across India. One showroom at Gurgoan is under process, and Banglore, Chennai, Mumbai we are at planning stage."
Mir says his next plan is to setup working clusters in different far-flung areas of Kashmir, where he can skill people and provide them employment as tailors and other workers, who can work for him at their own places. He says his expansion plan, targeted for next two years demands him about 500 workers and he aims to employ all of them locally.
"My goal is to make the Pureweave pride of Jammu Kashmir, whether I will be running it in future or not but it should be a Kashmiri brand, which is known everywhere. Despite challenges, I have to make it a success here only. With many uncertainties and difficulties at this places I decided to start it here. I need to contribute little bit to this place as well, in terms of employment etc. No matter what happens in Kashmir, what is the situation, I am not scared here. I have never seen people coming for money or threatening of ransom in Kashmir streets," Mir signs off.
Adil Mir, Managing Director, Pureweave Fashions (pvt.) Ltd