Among the few female entrepreneurs of the Indian apparel export industry, Anita Malhotra started WGS International back in 1989; her hard work and grit has taken the company to an annual turnover of US $ 3.7 million (Rs. 25 crore) today with a setup of 240 sewing machines. Catering to buyers in the US, Europe and Russia, Noida-based WGS International manufactures highfashion value-added tops and dresses with heavy embroidery work. Sharing her experience of working in a difficult market like Russia, Anita disclosed, “We work with just one buyer in Russia, Incity, which is one of the biggest retailers in Russia for high-fashion as well as basic garments, with over 350 stores in Russia itself. So, it has always been safe for us to do business, as we did not expose ourselves to any small buyers in Russia that have bad reputation on payments, rather stuck to just one, but big buyer.”
Starting with basic as well as highfashion garments, the company is now majorly dealing in high-fashion garments only. The value-addition done is mostly bead work for which they get professionals in and around Noida itself, in abundance. Made of polyester fabrics, the garments produced by the company start from FOB US $ 11 and can go up to US $ 90. To achieve the turnover target of US $ 6 million (Rs. 40 crore) in the coming 3 years, the company is in the process of establishing a unit with 600 sewing machines in Noida, which is expected to be completed by the 1st quarter of 2016.
Anita’s son Saurabh Malhotra, who later joined her, handles the finance and also takes care of the company’s costing. Being a Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) has helped him in implementing procedures to keep the costs under control. “Everything is sourced ‘just in time’ for every order, greatly reducing our costing per style. The cost reduction has also been possible because of automation in our financial and ordering systems,” he informs. Saurabh, from his experience as a Swiss Bank investment banker, has formulated excel formats which are used in planning, ordering, etc. instead of software packages catering to specific needs. With the use of excel, the company has cut down on manpower, leading to reduced overheads. To negotiate hurdles like increasing electricity and water tariffs, and even the labour wages, Saurabh keeps a close eye on optimum requirement of tailors for completing a certain job, shuffling valueaddition operators to avoid inflation, and setting targets for all the department heads to ensure that their teams register maximum on-standard time.