Shopping Amigos, a menswear store in Tripunithura, is creating ripples among youngsters with its collection of hip garments
It is often found in the apparel business that the owners' personalities reflect in the company's or shop's image and style. ‘Amigos', the exclusive men's store at Tripunithura, is the creation of three youngsters, three friends, (which gives the store its name) who are in step with the times, in their wardrobe, in their confidence. Shraavan, who played a pivotal character in ‘Malarvadi Arts Club' and was then seen in ‘Dr. Love', joined his schoolmate Krishnakumar, (who works with Kingfisher Airlines), and Murukesan, (who was store manager at two garment brand stores in the city), to set up this store.
The location can make or break a store. Instead of joining the numerous clothesline shops in the heavily crowded main road of the town, Amigos is located on the relatively quieter area, close to the east gate of the Sree Poornathrayeesa Temple.
“We were lucky that Krishnakumar owned a 400 square feet space here. Like anyone venturing into a business for the first time we went to astrologers who told us that three is inauspicious. For a couple of days we did not know what to do. We then struck on making the Lord of this temple town the fourth partner. ‘Amigos' was inaugurated on Athachamayam day (August 31, 2011). We are just seven-months-old, too early to talk of how we are doing, profits and all that. But it is not bad so far,” says Shraavan.
Like in any enterprise there is need for creativity, drive and some solid business knowledge. The store, with its simple, well-lit up, aesthetic interiors and the choice of merchandise, make Amigos different from the shops in the town. “It is the merchandise that will keep us in the black. We realise this. Most of the T-shirts come from Bangkok; we handpick our cotton, linen shirts and trousers, shoes, mostly from Mumbai and Bangalore. We have good stock of football-theme accessories, like bags, windcheaters, mufflers, jerseys, key chains, water bottles etc. There is a growing demand for this stuff.”
The target clientele is certainly the young crowd. “The key is getting and retaining customers. We need to have customers get the name ‘Amigos' and walk through our door. Our aim is to convince them that we are a niche for your male clothing line. Most of our publicity is by word of mouth. Tripunithura is a conservative market but we still attract a lot of youngsters. What is encouraging is that the young crowd from Ernakulam, Fort Kochi, Mattancherry keep coming. They also give us suggestions on what they would like to see in ‘Amigos'.”
Shraavan is quite candid about costs involved but does not reveal what each of the friends put in to start the store. “All of us put in what we had through loans, savings. By the time we opened we were virtually empty. We have not actually started thinking of up-front costs though we have an approximate idea of the regular expenses involved. Perhaps after we complete a year we'll be able to get to the exact position.”
‘Amigos' has its business plans. “We have patented the name of the store. In future we would like to turn this into a brand name, an exclusive male clothing line. If everything falls into place we hope to start a women's section. Not the usual store but one that is funky, trendy, stylish, that sells trousers, shorts, tops, jeans and not the usual women's wear.”