A look at the entrepreneurial journey of Kishor Naik and growth of ‘My Choice Cloth and Tailor’
By Samay Shetti
My Choice Cloth and Tailors presently stands tall among names in the garments domain of Goa. Having started from a small shed in the Gandhi market in Curchorem way back in 1982, Kishor Naik has grown it to a level, that they currently have five establishments in the cities of Curchorem and Ponda. This story chronicles the journey of an entrepreneur who single-handedly forged a thriving enterprise with raw passion on the anvil of patience and a hammer of perseverance.
The story starts in the late 1970s when young Kishor was given the responsibility of running a vegetable stall in the fish market area of Curchorem market. He took the reins of a dysfunctional business when just out of 10th standard, “My father told me to run that shop, as the other siblings were much involved in studies,” recalls Kishor. After running it for some time and getting the vegetable stall up and running, he decided to make a drastic change.
“Right from childhood I liked wearing good clothes,” he said, adding further, “That was the time I decided to follow my passion.” He then started training in the tailoring trade under a master craftsman named Malcolm in the same town. Next was a dream to go abroad to practice the trade, “Through an agent, I came to know about an opportunity to work in the army camps during the Iran-Iraq war.” Chasing the opportunity, Kishor went to Mumbai and stayed at a craftsman’s house who was supposed to be his sponsor. The idea tanked, however, and having nowhere to go Kishor decided to learn the trade from this man. He came back to Goa in 1982 and with whatever little savings he had, revamped the old vegetable stall into a new establishment and it named Fine Fit Tailors.
“That was a very tough time in my life,” says Kishor, “Having recently started, there was no customer base nor much capital to even sustain.” To tackle the issue he started with the first brand of clothing line in form of sports shorts by the name ‘Shaolin Champ’. “The pricing was at ₹15 a piece,” chuckles Kishor. That product gave the venture a new lease of life he feels. The business gradually picked up and made its name in the market. After a decade and a half of sailing in calm waters from that point, dark clouds made their appearance in 1997, when the Curchorem municipal market was slated for redevelopment and the existence of Fine Fit was in jeopardy. At that point, as a decisive move, Kishor decided to venture into the garment manufacturing domain. In the same year, he started a company named ‘Saish Readymade Garments’ and set up a manufacturing plant under it. A clothing line was thus released under the brand name “My Choice”.
“It was a whole new level of exertion,” says Kishor, “Our day started at 5 in the morning and ended late in the night, while the weekends were the time of marketing the brand across the state and beyond its borders too,” he adds. This venture gave the brand “My Choice” and Kishor a widespread recognition and a reputation owing to reliability and quality of their merchandise. My Choice, over the next four years, expanded its reach to the area ranging from Banda and Sawantwadi in the north to Karwar in the south. Kishor’s team also grew in this period. They entered turbulent waters again in 2001 when betrayal in terms of finances by a trusted employee delivered a fatal blow to ‘Saish Readymade Garments’ from which the venture did not recover and was eventually shut down.
Perseverance being his forte, Kishor immediately bucked up and in the same year started ‘My Choice Cloth and Tailor’ in Curchorem itself, but on the main street within a clear line of sight. He retasked his team from the manufacturing unit as resident tailors there and came out with a one-day delivery guarantee. The speed of delivery without any compromise on the quality set them on a path from where they did not look back. “It was a pivotal point in our business,” says Kishor. Three years later in 2004, they expanded into Ponda, with an establishment in Upper Bazaar area and in 2007 another establishment in Curchorem again in line with growing business and demands. A decade later from that point, in December 2017, they inaugurated a three storied emporium consisting of a Wedding Collection with sections ranging right from head wear to thematic shoes. The building also houses their central workshop now.
Having seen a 10% average growth per year, they have filed a turnover of 52 lacs in the last financial year. In the words of Kishor Naik, “Perseverance and passion have got us this far, the same drives us ahead”