An outlet in Margao run by a husband-wife team of Francis and Stella Crasto is creating a distinctive space in the fashion retail space by providing the trendiest latest fashion for everyone. Ajit John spoke to them to understand their drive and their dreams for the business
The urge to dress up is inherent in everyone. According to data available in the public space, this urge to dress well and fashionably has created a fashion industry worth US$ 42.24 billion in India.
In Goa, like any other part of the country, people like to dress. This has given rise to a local industry that caters to a market that understands its needs. There are companies entering or leaving it continuously. Some stay and consolidate by creating a distinctive space.
Fashion Closet is creating a distinctive space by presenting designs of an international stature at prices that are very affordable.
The brainchild of Francis Crasto and his wife Stella Crasto, this second-generation entrepreneur received his early education in the basic of business visiting his dad in Qatar. Francis was born in Qatar but was sent back to study in Goa. His father had a tailoring business in the Gulf kingdom. Every summer holiday was spent with his father and he would work half a day at the shop. He learned the intricacies of the business, the importance of man management and more importantly the importance of keeping to ones word.
After he completed his education, he returned to Qatar and worked for a couple of years followed by a short stint in Dubai. As he worked, he studied and leaned of the importance of marketing, of maintaining quality and of developing and sustaining a brand. He then returned home to Goa along with his father. Francis was very clear he was not interested in working for anyone else or for idling his time in the local joints. He was clear it had to only be business. In this he had great help from his wife, Stella who also had parents who had a tailoring business in Ponda and had also worked for some people in Bahrain.
They decided to focus their attention on the woman who wanted formal western wear. Someone who liked to wear gowns, designer gowns essentially someone who liked to dress and more all of this would have handcrafted work.
Fashion Closet came into existence in 2016. The cost of the designs can range between Rs 1000 to 21,000. As Francis says “If the cost of a gown retails for Rs 7000 then its value in a Mumbai boutique will be three times that”. The consumer visiting their store were regular folk who wanted a bit of magic in their lives as he put it. Since they were not in the market area in Margao but opposite the Collectorate, there were not many footfalls. Sales he said however was improving and was growing month on month. He said he had nothing to complain about.
Since the company does not stitch any of the clothes, they are sourced from all over the place. The consumer in Goa, he said like shimmery dresses and gowns. This is a trend that has caught on as more and more people have taken a shine to it. Their average customer can be a young girl of 13 or a 75-year-old celebrating her golden jubilee.
The plan is keep at it and maintain standards and bring in the trendiest quality ensuring women don’t have to visit Mumbai to access the latest in fashion.