This is the kind of story dreams are made of. A young man, barely 17 years old, leaves his village in Kutch, Gujarat, in 1993 with ₹100 in his pocket and travels to Mumbai to work at his uncle’s multi-brand store, which sells imported innerwear. Six years later, he sets up his own manufacturing and distribution arm, launching his own brand of Valentine innerwear with the ₹100,000 that he has saved. Today, his company, Ashapura Intimates Fashion, is poised to finish FY16 with revenue of ₹230 crore and a market valuation of approximately Rs.500 crore. This is the story of 39-year-old Harshad Thakkar, still young and still very hungry.
Harshad talks a good game — the kind that is music to the ears of investors. Yes, he plans to grow at more than 25% for the next several years. Yes, he could grow even faster; after all, the size of the market for his products is gigantic at ₹50,000 crore, with market leader Page Industries owning only 3% of this market.
But Thakkar wants to eschew this more rapid growth because he is debt-averse. He would rather focus on margin expansion through direct sales to consumers via e-commerce sites and company-owned and -operated stores. He believes in staying asset-light. Investments in buildings, plant and machinery can wait; in fact, they may not even be required if the company can develop a network of strong and loyal vendors.
Thakkar would r