Rajiv Padwal has built a reputation as one of the most consistent names in lingerie fashion and Little Lacy has high hopes for the future. The company was founded in 1992 in Mumbai. Back then it was known as “Little Laika”. The branding underwent a change in 1998, they turned it into a Private Limited Company and since then it is known as LITTLE LACY. This year the successful lingerie company is celebrating its 25th anniversary. This brand has been growing over the years and has become an integral part of lingerie Industry in India.
Little Lacy is known for always using the most up-to-date cutting techniques, embroideries, laces and fashion-forward designs in its products, the result they say is a line of refined, sophisticated lingerie for the everyday woman. Little Lacy has fully grasped this, and provides the best fit, quality and the greatest comfort.
“ If it’s Lacy, it’s got to be us. Our products are engineered with intricate embroideries and laces that truly make them class apart. We give due attention to the quality of raw materials, hand feel, user wear ability and comfort. These things go a long way in making our lingerie a world class product.” – Rajiv Padwal
In conversation with Rajiv Padwal, Founder and Director had something of a beautiful start in the world of Innerwear
This year we celebrate Little Lacy’s 25th Anniversary. What thoughts and emotions come to mind?
Rajiv Padwal: Its been a terrific journey so far and when we look back on it , we are filled with a deep sense of pride and gratitude towards the Indian innerwear industry who has welcomed us with open arms and been kind enough to put us on a pedestal that we will truly cherish.
What made you start Little Lacy? Where did you draw inspiration in order to start and build this incredible business?
R.P: I have an experience of over 30 years in this industry and have closely followed what works / consumer demands vis-à-vis availability in the market. Back then it was a sellers’ market, where the buyer usually purchased what is available and what the manufacturer was making. The colour scene in the market was also very basic with white, skin, black and an occasional pink ruling the shelves.
Little Lacy was the FIRST in the market to launch over 40 colors in the fashion lingerie category. Thus the sheer non availability of choices for the women led to the foundation of our company.
What were your visions in 1992 and how have you met them? What was the organization like then?
R.P: Making available fancy colors and never used before fabrics in lingerie, specialising in bridal lingerie sets was the prime focus back then. We laid our main impetus on offering a fresh outlook in a market stagnated with mundane lingerie. The organisation was structured in a small but seamless manner. Of course the technology and resources we possess currently wasn’t available back then but our breakthrough products made up for it.
In what different ways have you grown Little Lacy over the past 25 years?
R.P: Presently we are technically sounder than we were back then. Over the years, new channels of sourcing have emerged, the retail and distribution network has grown by leaps and bounds. The product offerings have also increased with the addition of a swimwear brand “LOBSTER” in 2003 and a premium core lingerie brand “EXTRALIFE” in 2008.
What do you see as the biggest accomplishments since your start in 1992?
R.P: To be able to create and maintain a distinct position in the intimate apparel industry that is plagued by fierce competition. Innovation and quality has been the prime catalyst in the growth of Little Lacy. Providing high fashion, quality and fit at a reasonable price is what generates and maintains a loyal customer base.
What is the favourite part of your job? What excites you most?
R.P: Its gives our each day a possibility to be different and that is what is truly exciting. To be in a position to create something wonderful each day that will serve consumers and enhance their buying experience. It is also a very challenging job that puts our expertise to test and brings deeper learning insight.
What is it like working on Little Lacy products? What inspires Little Lacy products?
R.P: Innovation is at the helm of our line of products and we have to update ourselves each day with the new trends in styles, colors and fabrics. So that is something which keeps us on our toes at all times. We draw a lot of inspiration from where the actual needs and desires of a consumer arise. The product needs to be a blend of utility and value addition.
Talk to us about some of the big successes in the last 25 years of Little lacy. What moments stand out to you? What are you the most proud of?
R.P: The ability to bounce back is our ace. In the last 25 years , in our own small way, we have contributed to the intimate apparel industry by offering some never before product lines in lingerie. We were the first to introduce colors, laces and embroideries. We were the first to offer ‘CDEF’ range of bras made exclusively for the bigger cup sized women at a time when consumers were new to the concept of a C or a higher cup bra. Since the times have changed and the markets are getting fiercer, the only constant to survive is by providing a QUALITY PRODUCT each time and we at Little Lacy abide by it.
So for every highlight there must have been a few challenges along the way?
R.P: Absolutely. There is no business that is immune to challenges or hurdles. But these hurdles have only been learning experiences that has prepared us for the future. Our indomitable spirit and the support of our well-wishers has helped us overcome such challenges.
What is the best piece of leadership advice you have received?
R.P: The best piece of leadership advice would be to pave one’s own way and not blindly follow what other brands may be doing. You, as the creator of your brand, know best about its atmosphere, its strengths and weaknesses. Try to be the innovator and not a mere follower.
These last few years have not been easy for retailers. How has Little Lacy approached such challenging economic times?
R.P: Certainly, the last few years have been of economic turmoil and it has not only affected the retailers but has hampered the entire chain. We have tried to provide support to retailers with whatever was feasible to us. We have a strict anti-dumping policy so the retailers know they would only get what they have ordered for. This policy has helped us tide away a lot of hurdles as the product generates demand in its own way. When your product is sound it will find takers, you wont have to dump it.
How have you seen the innerwear industry change over the years?
R.P: The industry has grown by leaps and bounds in the last two decades. The market has gone from being a sellers to a buyers’ market. The choices and preferences of women have changed, they are more aware of what they are buying and won’t merely buy something that the retailer wants to sell. The marketing styles and mediums have changed. The technology has changed for the better.
What are you most excited about for the future of retail?
R.P: Consumers have become more aware in the recent years owing to digitalisation. It provides a good platform for us to interact and explain the innovative features of the product to the end consumer. So when there is knowledge sharing and brand communication, it opens more avenues of retail, you empower your customer to make choices.
What comes next for Little Lacy? What will the next 25 years look like? In what ways do you expect to grow?Are there any new products or services in the pipeline?
R.P: The brand is undergoing a refreshing change with new innovations and break through products in the making. We are expanding our product ranges by offering more variants in minimisers, bridal lingerie, padded bra sets in laces and embroideries.
Our marketing and distribution channel is growing and we are tapping a new customer base. Our vigour and energy has renewed after 25 years and we are absolutely ready for the future and its growing needs.