In the 1980's there was a fashion revolution in Hyderabad. The tailor-made dresses were fast making way to readymade garments that were sold at throwaway prices from a small store at Abids.
Offering a shirt for a mere Rs.15 and a trouser for Rs. 75, Cherma's, the readymade garment store launched by Captain K.F. Pestonji on August 1, 1980, became an instant hit among the youth. Its cheese cotton shirts, jeans and other garments, which were till then alien to Hyderabad, became a rage.
From a 350 square feet store at Abids to seven stores, including one in Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada, Cherma's Group created history in retail market and is now celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.
But the journey was not that easy for the Pestonjis. Despite being busy as a commercial pilot and a professional car racer, he always managed enough time for business. “It all started in 1978 when my wife, Gool Pestonji was pregnant and had to resign from her bank job. Our financial position was shaky and had to look for other sources for income,” recalls Mr. Pestonji.
“Inspired by an idea given by a family member, we decided to sell readymade garments. During summer holidays, we used to hire space in Grammar School, Abids to sell garments. Sales picked up and in two years we launched the first store in 1980,” says his wife, Gool Pestonji.
On his USP, Mr. Pestonji replies that the idea was to cater to the middle and low income group families without compromising on quality. “Everyone loves to wear branded garments, provided they are offered at affordable prices and that is what we offered,” he says.
With an annual turnover of Rs.125 crore, Cherma's is now planning for expansion. The store now offers footwear and there are plans to venture into other fields in future.
Regarding competition in the market, he says “Competition is there in every field and it brings the best out of you.
I always believe in the principle of one who dares wins. Right now, I am competing with my friends in increasing my collection of vintage cars,” he smiles.