Silk is the fabric of choice for Kalyan, and it's been a lucrative one too. Image Credit: Kalyan Silk

Dubai: More Indian weddings happening in Dubai? One of India’s biggest names in wedding wear for brides – especially those from the southern part of the country – is absolutely thrilled with the turn of recent events.

“Dubai became the place to visit, to shop and enjoy when the world was distracted by Covid,” said T.S. Pattabhiraman, Chairman and Managing Director of Kalyan Silks, headquartered in the south Indian state of Kerala and synonymous with being the place for expensive silk sarees worn by brides on their big day. “So, when they were coming to enjoy, why not get married as well?

“A higher percentage of our sales in recent times have been for such occasions, and which is unlikely to drop even with travel getting normal in Indian and everywhere.”

That confidence has rubbed off into the opening of back-to-back stores in the UAE, one each in Dubai and Sharjah. Kalyan Silks opened its first store in the UAE, in Dubai, back in 2013. “It made sense to open new locations, because the brand has established itself as the go-to place for designer South Indian wear and other ranges,” said Pattabhiraman.

“What we have been seeing is a consolidation among small to medium retailers offering Indian ethnic wear, and the bigger names were mostly present in one location. By expanding our store network in the UAE now, we are pushing ourselves ahead of the game.”

The Kalyan Silks’ chief is not too riveted by chatter over bricks or clicks. The retailer offers the online channel, primarily catering to a younger generation of shoppers. “I have never seen a bride or her family preferring to buy online the wedding saree – I for one can’t think of it happening,” he added. “Some things need to be done at the store – we are making sure Kalyan provides every option available for our customers.”

Qatar too

As part of the new store openings, there will be a move into Qatar. “I think we have more or less settled on our presence in the Gulf,” the Chairman added. As for India, the retailer is maintaining a steady pace within key markets in India, with three upcoming ones in Chennai, Coimbatore and Madurai.

Niche luxury?

“I don’t see the need to go for a super-niche luxury offering through a Kalyan Silks’ brand extension,” said Pattabhiraman. “We cover all needs from our existing stores – why change anything? What’s been working for us through years will stay as such.”