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Salwa Shaukat – L1S06BBAM0001
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Kanwal Tariq – L1S06BBAM2037
INDUSTRY : FASHION INDUSTRY
COMPANY: MARIA B.
Professor Nasir Riaz
This work is an introduction to the fashion industry of Pakistan which has made quite a
lot of progress in just a few years. Ten to fifteen years from now, this industry was still
unknown to actually exist to the masses. Later with the formation of fashion councils and
education centers under the enthusiastic few who wanted to make a difference and
promulgate this very institution of fashion, did the very fashion industry took its concrete
contour from the old tailor culture that formerly existed. Today it is one of the most
progressing industries in the country.
The fashion industry too, is influenced by external forces be they social, political,
economic, technological or even competitive, which serve as a main driver for this industry.
Moreover, relations with stakeholders - mainly suppliers, distributors and customers, and the
strength and width of its competitors also define activities in the business. However, the
relative strength of impact of these external factors on the industry varies (as in every industry)
and is computed with analytical tools like PEST-C analysis and Porter’s five forces model.
Nonetheless, fashion industry assures new arenas of growth and development; new
opportunities for employment. This industry promises a different national projection that is
serene and contemporary.
Later, an extensive internal analysis of the company of concern is carried out, which in
this piece of work is Maria B.
Maria. B. is one of the most well renowned brands of Pakistan. A company formed to
revolutionize the tailor-culture of apparel making in our society. Maria B. is a brand that
reaches to all sectors of both the traditional and urban female fashion demand through a
unique combination of pricing and the diversity in the fashion lifestyles that she offers.
She is the only designer to have all the needs of different segments of the woman’s
demographic covered under one roof. (Randhawa) She has been adopted by the modern
Pakistani women along with the hip crowd as the latest cult label in recent years. This country
previously never witnessed a true international prêt-a-porter collection before Maria’s
infamous “Paris Collection” in 2001. Her clothes are a reflection of her own style. (Fashion
Avenue Quarterly, 2003)
The top student from the first batch of graduates from the Pakistan School of Fashion
Design, Maria was selected in 1997 to represent Pakistan at the international competition in
Belgium, Europe called ‘Les Etoiles de la mode’, an annual young designers award. She made a
major international media impact, and was the first Pakistani fashion designer who created
awareness of Pakistani Fashion on the world circuit, when she finished top 3 in the final
rankings amongst 22 participating countries including global fashion giants like, France, Italy,
Japan, and U.S.A.
A media darling of the local press, Maria B. opened her first outlet in 1998 in DHA
Commercial Block, Lahore at a time when her peers and seniors were still operating from their
homes, or at rented houses. Today, Maria B is immensely successful and is the largest selling
brand under a fashion designer’s label in Pakistan. (Randhawa)
Her lines are so exquisite and Maria considers them her strength. With her financial
strength and international presence, Maria B intends to bring a change in the local fashion
Fashion in itself is a very abstract term yet it embraces our everyday lives. The term has
many different definitions and interpretations. According to The American Heritage College
Dictionary, fashion is: the prevailing style or custom, as in dress or behavior; something, such as
a garment, that is in the current mode; the style characteristic of the social elite. (Forbes Inc.,
Fashion is an extension of self, an expression of individuality, of art and modernism. It has no
borders or divides. Its passion and it is the constant evolution of society (Ghafoor, 2002).
Fashion is a social phenomenon common to many fields of human activity and thinking. To
some, fashion is an art form. To others, it is life. For most people it is a method of utilizing
clothing, accessories and hair. Fashion is a mode to express yourself, to serve as an extension of
your personality, or even to disguise your true self (Nellis, 1999).
Fashion is a term commonly used to describe a style of clothing worn by most of people of a
country. A fashion usually remains popular for about 1-3 years and then is replaced by yet
another fashion. Even though there are a lot of changes in fashion, most people do not easily
except the changes. A clothing style may be introduced as a fashion, but its use becomes a
custom after being handed down from generation to generation. A fashion that comes and
goes is called a Fad. (Fashion Forever: What is Fashion?)
A lot has changed and evolved in the history of fashion since the 1900s. As the century dawned,
fashion was an exclusive enterprise, the pursuit of wealth. The average person in society settled
for garments that were usually stitched at home. With time, however, networks of
neighborhood tailors began to evolve into a retail history and the boom was followed by
The 1930s were influenced by socialism, communism and fascism and women’s fashion became
more and more feminine in keeping with these conservative ideas. However, this period also
saw the emergence of the culture of clubs and hence dresses became more body-hugging and
colors went more deep and dark. The establishment of Indian and Pakistani cinema has proved
to be the strongest influence on the fashion in the decade. Due to western influence, the use of
angarkhas, choghas and jamas had diminished considerably by this time, although the
ceremonial pugdi, safa and topi were widespread as ever. They had been replaced by the
sherwani, which is still a standard item of formal dress for Indian and Pakistani men today.
Even though women were accepting change, they continued to wear the peshwaz, kurta,
ghaghra and odhni at religious and ceremonial festivities, which were even sometimes made of
The 1950s saw the dawn of art colleges and schools and due to the freedom struggle
and the adoption of khadi by Gandhi, the dying and handloom industries got more business.
The 1960s was one of the most
shock-filled decades of the century, as it saw
sweeping fashion and lifestyle changes.
Tight kurtas and churidars competed with
mini-skirts abroad and at the same time,
designers began to understand the need for
The 1970s saw the export of
traditional material with the result that
export surplus was sold within the country itself and hence, international fashion came to the
In the 1980s big money ruled. In Pakistan too, silhouettes became more masculine and
The influence of cable TV became more prominent and the teenage market boomed
with youngsters who were more fashion conscious. (Baig, 2004)
Mid 1990s and the beginning of the 21 st century was marked fashion designers that
changed the way fashion was contemplated.
Designers greatly influence what direction fashion will go. These designers design and
define future fashion developments. They are the trend setters of change in a culture – through
change in tastes and lifestyles of a community which is often characterized by changes in
current trends and styles. And changes in fashion play one of the major roles in these
collaboratively, form the fashion industry.
The fashion industry of Pakistan is growing
in volume with every passing day. The credit
goes chiefly to the mainstream fashion
people, who have been instrumental in this
change. (Nisar, 2004) The industry has
witnessed quite a mature spurt in the last
two decades evolved from a traditional darzi
(tailor) culture into a mature and cutting-edge business (Imam, 2008). However the status of
fashion designers in our country greatly owes to the fashion institutions, particularly the
Pakistan School of Fashion Design (PSFD) – now called the Pakistan Institute of Fashion Design
which was played its role in bringing out the potential and imparting training to young
designers who today enjoy a reputed name in the retail market. Some of these recognized
names include Maria B, Hasan Shehryar Yasin, Deepak Parwani and Maheen Khan (Qureshi,
2008).These are some of the few names which the fashion industry identifies with.
Though the industry had been operating for quite a time, it actually got its institutional
shape after the formation of the Pakistan Fashion Design Council. This council was an attempt
by twenty five of the country’s top and established designers to create an infrastructure, a
platform on which everyone could collaborate and represent their ideas and designs at the
national and international level; a place where they could:
Give structure to the expanding vital industry.
To liaise with the government bodies on matters pertaining to excise duty, taxation
systems, preferential tariffs for cargo etc., and to work towards creating a fashion districts.
To create an interface between the fashion industry and textile and crafts industry which
are one of the most well-knit industries , which could revitalize them and in turn, benefit
the designers greatly by incorporating ethnic methods of weaving, printing and
ornamentation to produce up-market, contemporary creations of standardized quality and
To address the changing needs of the industry as it evolves and of creatively show-case the
work of Pakistani designers and find a commercial representation for them both,
domestically and globally. (About Us, 2004)
Some of the attempts that the council made was the initiation of a Pakistan Fashion
Week essential for business and trade linkages as well as for publicity purposes; studying the
present distribution/reselling network to see how designers could benefit from it; creating a
trend forecast for domestic and export markets, and standardizing the prêt-a-porter industry by
having uniform sizing, accounting and labeling norms. (About Us, 2004)
However, the council’s main attempt to collaborate the efforts of fashion designers
failed partly due to poor projection of there vision and partly due to the difference in the views
of designers in the East and South – Lahore and Karachi, the main fashion hubs. This led to the
creation of two distinct councils, the Pakistan Fashion Design Council (PDFC) in Lahore and
Asian Institute of Fashion Design (AIFD) in Karachi. These two councils have carried out their
separate activities despite unification efforts until lately. On December 1, 2007, a mall
showcasing the creations of Pakistani fashion designers was inaugurated by the name of
Boulevard in Lahore. It was for the first time in the city’s history that fashion designers from all
over the country got to display their work under one roof (Rashed, 2007). Prominent designers
displaying their work included Hassan Shehryar Yasin, Maria B, Nomi Ansari, Kamiar Rokni,
Shafaq Habib, Karma, Shella Rehman of Unbeatables, Ammar Bilal, Asifa and Nabeel, Ahsan
Nazeer, Sanya Qureshi, Sobia Nazir, Nickie Nina, Sana Shahid of Sublime and Naila Maqbool. It
is hoped that such a platform will amalgamate the vital forces of our fashion industry making it
the hub of Pakistani fashion houses as is envisaged (Farooq, 2007).
An Industry Analysis
By definition, industry analysis is business research that focuses on the potential of a
firm. Basically, an industry analysis is conducted to addresses three important questions:
1. Is the industry accessible—in other words, is it a realistic place for a new venture to enter?
2. Does the industry contain markets that are ripe for innovation or are underserved?
3. Are there positions that will avoid some of the negative attributes of the industry as a
whole? (Barringer & Ireland, 2006)
A complete industry analysis of a firm will include its PEST-C analysis which will answer the
first two questions, its Porter’s five forces analysis which will answer the latter question,
followed by its External Forces Evaluation (EFE) matrix on the basis of the opportunities
available and threats faced by the company of concern Maria B.
PEST – C Evaluation
In this industry evaluation, P stands for Political, E – Economic, S – Socio-cultural, T –
Technological and C – Competitive forces that impact the activities and opportunities and
threats affecting an industry.
These include any change in government laws – tax laws, labor laws, patent laws,
government regulation and deregulation etc, political stability, safety and environmental
protection regulations, international trade regulations etc. (David, 2005)
Changes in tax and labor laws, can directly affect an industry’s revenue and growth
structures. A rise in the rates of these laws can increase business expenditures and may
decrease revenues. Sometimes, with industries with low profit margins, such change can
become a barrier to profitability.
Political instability in the country in terms of political parties or weakness in
governmental policy can prove chaotic for the industry. Under such condition, this business, like
any other business can be severely affected and eventually shut down. For e.g., national
political parties like MQM and MMA reserve a very unfavorable attitude towards the fashion
industry. In case of power, any of these parties can adversely affect or even lead to a ban on
this industry which could prove distressful.
Similarly strict trade regulations and excise policies can affect international exports and
hence, increase the overall trade deficit. Environmental degradation posses a great threat to
survival of any industry. Hence, being a socially and environmentally responsible corporation is
an essential for projecting a positive public image.
Economic forces that impact an industry’s activities include interest rates, income levels
and earning patterns, price wars, oil, currency and labor markets, inflation, unemployment,
availability of credit, fiscal policies, consumption and spending propensity – living standards,
international trade and cooperation policies etc. (David, 2005)
Nowadays, there is a growing trend toward two-income households. Individuals place
an increased premium on time; immediate availability and improved customer service (David,
2005).Customers are willing to pay more if they can obtain it with ease. There is an increase in
the average standard of living in the country with a decrease in poverty level of 10.6% during
the past four years (Economic Survey of Pakistan 2007-2008). This can serve as an opportunity
for the fashion industry to enhance profit margins through ‘add-ons’ provided that the income
levels remain stable.
Changes in interest rates often occur due to changes in the exchange and trade market.
A deficit in trade can account for rise in interest rates. Similarly and rise in the international
price of oil (as witnessed in recent years) can drastically impact the value of currency. This leads
to changes in fiscal policy like an increase in the interest rate translated by inflation. High
inflation can slow down business activities and at time generate no profit at all. The inflation
rate the year 2007-08 was calculated to be 10.3% as compared to the 7.9% last year which
shows an increased inflation that disadvantaged business performance country-wide (Economic
Survey of Pakistan 2007-2008).
However, in an economically active country with lower trade barriers, resultant price
wars can increase competition and even and industry’s profit margins provided the industry is
dominant as well as has international presence.
Similarly, increased unemployment can provide an industry opportunity to project a
positive image and provide training and employment to the depressed, hence positively
contributing to the economy.
Factors in the socio-cultural front that can influence an industry’s operations include
demographic trends, cultural changes, environmental patterns, population growth, business
attitude, change in tastes and lifestyles, education, ethical concerns, buying habits, religion,
family, values and attitudes etc.
Pakistan, with a population growth rate of 1.8% is the world’s 6 th most populous country
with an estimated total population of 160.9 million. (Economic Survey of Pakistan 2007-2008)
Out of this 74% of the total population of Pakistan lies in age group 15 – 34. However, 70% of
the population resides in urban areas. (Federal Bureau of Statitics, 2005). With this came in
increase in the literacy rate of the country which increased to 55% in the last four years
(Economic Survey of Pakistan 2007-2008). Business activities have also flourished quite in the
recent years, partly owing to foreign competitors entering the market. This has led to an
increased change in the lifestyles and mindsets of people. There is an increased trend towards
nuclear and dual-career families which serves as great opportunity for the industry as the
buying power of the consumer is enhanced. Moreover, with change in lifestyles comes change
in tastes. Nowadays people prefer using customized products and this is an opportunity for the
fashion industry to pursue its target marketing strategy.
Fashion industry is an industry for the youngsters. With such a large and lucrative target
market, this industry can earn huge profits, provided it sufficiently focuses of their needs and
interests. In view of this, fashion industry collaborated with the PBA (Pakistan Broadcasters
Association) to launch a fashion channel worldwide last year by the name of ETNL (Style Dunia
& Youth) which is being launched soon in the country (Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA),
Religion and ethical preferences too, play a major role in shaping strategies and
marketing products, especially if one moves from culture to culture. Fashion industry in
Pakistan, therefore has to take into consideration the limitations that ethics, culture and
religions imply on clothing nationally as well as internationally.
Though fashion industry is not technologically driven, but is has now become a
necessity; especially if an industry or company wants to maintain competitive edge or tap into
international arena. The focus of today’s industries is on mass customization as well as mass
production which are not possible to achieve if it is inept in technology. Several factors impact
an industry’s technological consideration. These are, Government spending in research,
changes in Information Technology, Internet and Mobile Technology, energy use and costs, and
international transaction costs etc.
Technology is one of the powerful sources of marketing in today’s era. The world is now
a global village. Increase in technology, especially the internet helps cover a large number of
consumers thus, helping a business reach a large target market in a short time span. According
to estimates of 2006, the global internet usage accounts for 21.9% of the total world population
with Pakistan alone, having a total usage of 7.2%. (UNDESA, 2006) This is a very attractive
opportunity for the fashion industry in case fashion designers start e-selling.
International marketing (e-commerce) is one of the major contributors to world
economy. It not only helps in the development of the business but also helps in the
development of the country’s economy. However, any business before tapping into
international arena has to go through various study and research to adopt proper marketing
mix, physical evidence and performance before launching itself worldwide. It also needs to be
aware of all the rules and regulations (cyber) of its host country. Once capitalized upon, ecommerce can produce great profits.
This force is recently introduced in the PEST analysis. Keeping in view the growing
competition world wide, analysis of one’s competitive forces has become an essential to
success. Gathering information about competitors’ strategies and progress has become very
important. Due to diminishing trade barriers, WTO, EEC, OPEC and collaboration with other
world communities, national border are no more existent. Now every country is a part of a bloc.
This in turn has fiercely increased competition as a result of lower labor costs, enhanced
technology and internet facilities. Now production is done in one country, assembly in other,
packaging and shipment in another due to advancements in transportation and e-commerce.
Companies strive to achieve competitive edge as low-cost producers.
In such a rapidly changing environment with international competitors invading every
country, keeping pace with, in fact going ahead of ones competitors is the only key to progress.
However, it is essential to have a track of strategies and policies of an industry’s competitors
but ethical concerns in gathering intelligence data should not be neglected.
Competitors of Maria B.
The company that study under fashion industry is Maria B – the largest fashion house of
Pakistan. The company when formed was the first to start business with a retail outlet while all
her competitors were doing business from home. Today, after ten years in business, Maria B
faces competition from direct as well as indirect sources. A list of her direct competitors
include designers like Hasan Shehryar Yasin, Rizwan Beyg, Generationz, Deepak Perwani, Nomi
Shahid, Nikki and Nina, Sehyr Saigol, Maheen Khan, Sonya Batla, Hajra Hayat, Nayna, Monica
Piracha. With them there are indirect competitors too that pose a threat to Maria B. They
include local textile shops, local tailors, and famous brands like Gul Ahmed and Bareeze that
are dealers in un-stitched garments.
PORTER’S Five (Competitive) Forces Evaluation
Below a diagrammatic summary of the five important competitive forces is given:
Rivalry among competing firms
Fashion industry in Pakistan is yet in its progressing stages. It has moved ahead from
being embryonic but hasn’t spurted. However, threat of competitors is still an important factor
that govern the operations of this industry; particularly the rivalry between fashion designers of
Karachi and Lahore in terms of ideals have prompted every company in the industry to strive to
develop a competitive edge and nationally expand as large as possible. This is mainly because
the few designers that exist at present are equal in size and capability.
The internet is still not used as a primary source of doing business but there is a growing
tendency among designers, particularly the established ones to use internet for trade purposes
nationally and internationally.
Inflation and changes in customers’ perceptions and attitudes is also a driving force
toward increased competitive rivalry. In the beginning, fashion designers pursued all their
efforts towards bridal dresses. But as customers are becoming more and more aware and
demand of branded apparel is increasing, these designers are finding new areas of
development by focusing more on casual outfits.
However, this industry is still not mature enough in its life cycle that price cutting could
be a common phenomenon. There is not much time before these few designers are faced with
increased competition particularly as standards of living become high and international
designers set up their business in the country. Competitive rivalry in this case is comparatively
Threat of new entrants
Threat of new entrants in Pakistani fashion industry is high. This is because the barrier to
enter this market is quite low because no previous experience is required to start doing
business in apparel, customers have low brand preference and loyalty, too is low. If a customer
gets a better option else where and that too, for a lower price, s/he can switch to that option.
Regulatory policies in the country are not very strong and hence achieving patents for a
product or service is relatively easy. Moreover, the government itself promotes the setting up
of new businesses.
In regards to technological requirement, fashion industry does not require any cuttingedge technology to keep at pace. Therefore, if one needs to get into fashion designing, it is
Potential development of substitute products
In an apparel industry, there is no substitute for clothes, but there may be a substitute
on the procedure of processing them. Fashion industry, too faces threat of substitute methods
of processing. People, especially in a growing economy can easily get ideas from designer
outfits and get them stitched through a neighborhood tailor instead of buying it from that very
designer due to its high price. On the other hand, local tailors can give you the same design,
though maybe not the same quality at a comparatively low price.
Hence, the threat of substitute is high.
Bargaining power of suppliers
Bargaining power of suppliers is quite low in Pakistani fashion industry. The major raw
materials required in this case are textiles and embroidery materials. These two industries –
textiles and embroidery are one of the richest and profit producing industries of the country.
Therefore a designer has the power and the choice to switch among suppliers and even
negotiate prices as there are a large number of suppliers available to provide the same or even
better raw materials at negotiable prices.
Bargaining power of customers
Bargaining power of customers is low in this industry. This is because there few choices
to select from. Designers have there set prices that are quite high and fixed – they cannot be
negotiated upon. If talked about competing brands, a buyer cannot easily switch to other
options. Products are homogenous and the prices may either be uniform or else a buyer has to
trade-off with quality of the product.
External Analysis – SW(OT)
Expand into Emerging Economies
Enter New Product Markets
Acquire More Companies
Expand Standalone Stores
External Factor Evaluation (EFE) Matrix
This matrix evaluates a company’s external environment – the opportunities and threats
that are faced by an industry’s companies in the external environment. Our company of
concern is Maria B. A summary of all the factors that are faced by this company and its ability
to capitalize on them or tackle threats is given:
External Factor Evaluation Matrix
Expand into Emerging Economies
Enter New Product Markets
Acquire More Companies
Expand Standalone Stores
International Economies and trade
Fashion industry provides a promising future of growth and development in Pakistan.
Once established, it has the potential to contribute positively to the national economy.
Maria B’s entrance into fashion world can be summed up in adage “she came, she saw,
she conquered”. (Ghafoor, Face to face with Maria B., 2002)
Maria B. was the first fashion house in Pakistan. She launched first outlet in Lahore in
1998. Since then, Maria B. has grown leaps and bounds. With her vision always clear – to make
Maria B. Pakistan’s first international brand name in fashion, today, she is the first and only
women wear brand retailed across countries. She is the only local designer with a franchise
outlet in London. The Label is also internationally stocked in Manchester, Birmingham, New
Delhi, Dhabi, Orlando, Washington, New York, New Jersey, Dallas and New Delhi. By the end of
2006, she had retail reach to 5 outlets nationwide over Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad, and
Faisalabad. (Randhawa) In 2006, Maria B. also launched her first range of accessories of shoes
and handbags. (Randhawa)
Maria learned that there was tremendous scope for Pakistani fabrics in the international
market and was determined to make her mark globally. As she said, “I’m a staunch patriot – I
want to take Pakistan’s name in the international fashion scene. I want to show people around
the world what a great heritage we have. That really is
the core philosophy of my business. We want to go
into the international market and prove ourselves as a
Pakistani brand name.” (Maria B. - Fashion Designer)
For her, fashion is simply an extension of self, an
expression of individuality, of art and modernism. It
has no borders or divides. Its passion and it is a
constant evolution of society. It is transient and global.
(Ghafoor, Face to face with Maria B., 2002)
She changed the previous ‘begum darzun’ (societal tailoring) culture and brought new
horizons in the fashion, rather the apparel industry as a whole with her prêt-a-porter collection
of exquisite and elegant dresses that defined femininity with style. She believes that, “ Fashion
today is not dictated to woman. The modern confident woman chooses what she wears”.
(Ghafoor, Face to face with Maria B., 2002)
As a designer, she always felt her responsibility to translate and enhance each person’s
natural style into fashion statements according to current trends. She believes in talent and
dedication – if a person is not talented enough or can’t make fashion his or her life, s/he should
be in another field. She strongly suggests, “Don’t be in fashion because you want to be
fashionable or make money-- be in it because you feel that you can contribute to it-- otherwise
you’ll be just one of the thousands who have kaarigars (tailors) at home and think that they are
designers!!” (Ghafoor, Face to face with Maria B., 2002) Recognized by BBC, in 2002, over a
three month running program for Asian woman as the preferred label for modern professional
working woman of Pakistan, Maria B has been hailed as the pioneer in redefining woman’s
fashion modernity in Pakistan. (Randhawa)
No doubt Maria B has brought a revolution is the local apparel industry. Today, after ten
years in business, it is the largest fashion house in the local industry. Her company has risen and
surpassed the semblance of mediocrity. A trend setter as Maria B. has always been, she is even
more passionate and daring to set trends for the future and believes that she can go further
than others in bringing Pakistan on the world map of fashion. (Randhawa) “You have to aim
high – and I do want to get to New York, Milan and Paris one day.” – Maria B. (Maria B. Fashion Designer)
Internal Analysis of Maria B.:
Zurain Imam, a renowned fashion critic said that Maria B. has become ‘a veritable couture
quality household brand’. (Imam, The A to Z of Fashion, 2006) Maria B. has become a hot name
with her exciting shoots and the rapid expansion of her outlets. Her success has single handedly
shown that fashion can be successfully open in Pakistan as business. (Dawood, 2003) No doubt,
Maria B. has put forward a splendid example a of successful business venture by expanding
worldwide in just a short span of time. All of this requires planning and organizing strategically.
Maria B. believe that it’s the company’s strategic vision of ‘promoting Maria B. as a Pakistani
brand recognized world over’ has played a very important role in its success. She believes that
with good management, marketing, leadership, research, cost and operative measures, a
company can really go ahead.
Management at Maria B. like any other successful company is all about good planning,
organizing, motivating, leading and controlling. The company has a strong management
philosophy that believes is integrity, talent and dedication – if you can’t make fashion your life,
choose another field. (Ghafoor, 2002)
Planning: Maria B. firmly believes that good and forecasted planning is essential for achieving a
desired goal. Planning is all about preparing for change by bridging the gap between the
present and the future. It enables a company to gather the necessary resources and carry out
tasks in the most efficient manner. (David, 2005)At Maria B. planning is thoroughly done before
the beginning of any new activity or the launch of a new product. The company also relies on
competitive intelligence in order to make comparative decisions. With no fear on local
competition from brands like Hasan Shehryar, Nomi Ansari, Ammar Bilal, Deepak Parwani,
Rizwan Beyg and Nilofer Shahid etc., the company formulates strategies in view of the
international market and international competitors like Armani, Prada, and Louis Vuitton etc.
Organizing: Organizing is really important for defining task and authority and effectively and
efficiently allocating resources for any company. (David, 2005)
At Maria B. defining line of authority is important. The company started off with a
functional structure with Maria being the CEO as well as the controller all designing and
marketing activities. With the company’s expansion across the borders, Maria B. now is
developing towards a more divisional structure with line of command spreading internationally.
Since the Maria B. Accessory launch in 2006, and the company’s aggressive intensive strategies
through market and product development, it won’t be long till Maria B. starts working at each
production line separately at the organizational level. At present, the company employs more
than 50 management staff in its outlets across Pakistan alone. (Randhawa)
Allocation of resources is also another important decision for the company. The
company is financed completely by the CEO –Maria. Moreover, the use of skilled labor for the
job also is carefully selected to give every single piece of work ‘the designer finish’.
Motivating and Staffing: Motivation means influencing people to accomplish specific
objectives. Staffing, on the other hand is the essence of human resource management. It
includes activities of recruiting, interviewing, testing, selecting, orienting, training, developing,
evaluating as well as rewarding. (David, 2005) The Maria B. factory currently employs over 200
workers, all recruited after specific procedures that test there credibility to the profession.
Because Maria B. wants to give the best in terms of quality and versatility, hence every worker
needs to know how to give the perfect finishing to a Maria B. dress. Each employee is required
to make a sample of embroidery or hemming etc that s/he specializes in. In case of training, the
company’s HR manager is responsible for developing and grooming the workers for perfection.
The company believes in Equal Employment Opportunity and every individual be it a man or a
woman is selected merely on the basis of his or her talent/skill. (Shaukat, 2009) In terms of
wage and safety issues, Maria B. conforms to the Labor Laws, be it in Pakistan or across the
In terms of motivations, the company always grants a pay rise every month on the basis
of performance. Moreover, the in lieu of employee safety, every process in the factory is
automated. Training is given to operate the machinery. (Shaukat, 2009) The production rate of
the factory is the highest among the local designers for formal couture, prêt-a-porter lawn on a
monthly basis. (Randhawa)
Controlling: Controlling at Maria B. is done through monetary incentives given based on
performance. Employees are first trained and the standards of performance are set. Individuals
meeting these standards are considered for the incentives. The company believes in its
employees as an asset and retaining them is essential if it wishes to avoid further training and
hiring costs. It believes employees become experienced with time and this increases their
loyalty to the company which is very essential particularly in present times of economic slump.
Marketing can be described as the process of defining, anticipating, creating and
fulfilling customers’ needs and wants for products and/or services. This is exactly what Maria B.
invested upon. The company created the demand of branded designer clothes through
awareness. Maria B. made people shift from the traditional tailor-culture to demand more. Its
heavy marketing approach and use of appropriate mix of
marketing made it develop a brand name, an identity which
no other designer had before.
Customer Analysis: It involves the examination and evaluation
of customers’ needs and wants. At the time of the company’s
start up, Maria B. researched on the need of fashion industry,
found a considerable target market for her product and then
launched the first Pakistani fashion house. She changed the
concept of fashion from the dress of the working women to
everyday wear. Today her clientele are spread across the
globe and includes teenagers to 70 year-olds. Maria B. takes
care of the need of each and every age group. Her contrast and selection of colors defines that
each and every line is tailored to specific clientele’s needs – wild and bold prints for the
youngsters and neutral and serene ones for adult target market. Her customization to the
needs of the customer is an important variable of success of Maria B. (Ghafoor, Face to face
with Maria B. , 2002)
Planning and Selling Products/ Services: Maria B. has the designer need of ready-to-wear dress
line for each age-group and every occasion catered effectively to. She take care of everyone’s
needs and desires and relies on adequate promotion activities to retain previous as well as
capture more market.
Maria’s prêt line of clothing includes formals, semi-formals, party line, Mafia line, bridal
line and her new MGirl line. Together with this, she also
started her own accessory and jewels line in 2006.
Mafia line: this is a casual, ready to wear line. Mafia is
made mostly in pure cottons, khaddars, lawn, linens and
embroidered cottons. This line is primarily day wear
Semi formals: This range is primarily evening wearslightly more formal, it plays with exquisite embroideries
in resham and crystals on chiffons, silks and georgettes.
Formals: Perfect for wedding needs, this line consists of
silks, jamahwars and heavy hand embroideries in
Maria.B Brides: A purely couture line which is available only at the bridal studio in Lahore. It is a
made to order line for brides and their families.
Mgirl: this is the new hip and trendy line by Maria B. offering everything from clothes to bags
and shoes to accessories. It guarantees satisfaction to the woman who wants it all. It caters to
the fun and fearless and is certainly not for the fainthearted.
Maria.b Jewels: Introducing semi-precious jewelry for weddings, this jewelry in platinum
coated with semi-precious stones such as topaz, tourmaline, amethysts and zircons. (Official
Facebook group of Maria B. )
According to a recent survey, Maria B. lawns have been the largest sellers in terms of
number of units in all of Pakistan. (Mansoor, 2008) All this is the result of Maria’s daunting
effort to promote her brand at every level possible. Being a media darling, she relied heavily on
print media and PR activities for the promotion of her brand. Some the names in print media
are Dawn News, Visage magazine, Instep magazine, Fashion weekly, SHE and others. For PR,
Purple Arts have been Maria B.’s official consultants. (Shaukat, 2009) Besides these, fashion
shows, ramp events have also been another very important source of promotion. But due to
governmental issues, these events are snubbed and not promoted to the adequate
promotional level. However, the recent Lux Style Award’s Red Carpet and Ramp Events (Imam,
2005) and 2007 National Day Ramp Show held in Washington D.C. (Embassy of Pakistan, 2007)
served as a very important awareness and marketing tool, provided they continue. Besides,
Maria B. also holds her own fashion shows at the international level. Besides being businessminded, Maria B. is also a socially responsible person. She holds ramp events at the national as
well as international level to help the deprived class of the society through foundations like
Kashf. In 2001, on the launch of her Paris Collection, Maria B. held a fashion show in Marriot,
Karachi for raising money for Afghan refugees in the country. (Malik, 2001)
In a nutshell, Maria B.’s success is a fusion of excellent dress designing as well as
sophisticated promotion done nationally as well as internationally.
Pricing and Distribution: This is an important decision in marketing. As for Maria B. this decision
of pricing and distribution is a task well done. Maria B. always wanted to make her name in the
international market. Since the launch of her fashion house, she has been constantly working to
promote her product internationally. At the national level, Maria B. has expanded to almost all
the major cities of the country – Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad
and Faisalabad. She has plans of opening her outlet in every
city of the country. But her main goal is to export her
product around the world. She wants to make Maria B. the
‘brand of Pakistan’. And she has been very successful in
doing that. Within ten years of business, Maria B. has
outlets in U.K., U.S.A., India, and Dubai. But export being
her strategic vision, Maria B. wants to expand to other
cities of the world. “I want to send haute-couture items
such as evening wear, bridal wear etc. to UK/Europe, and
then eventually to the US/Canada, Singapore and
competition and says “you have to aim high – and I do want to get to New York, Milan and Paris
one day.” (Maria B. - Fashion Designer)
As for pricing, it is well adjusted to the need of the local market. Maria B. has unitpriced her product very intelligently – neither very high nor very low - or ‘somehow affordable’
as on critic says. (Ghafoor, 2002) She believes her lines are of the top-most quality and hence,
relies on skimming strategy for pricing. Regarding the international market, prices are decided
in accordance with the trade regulations of the country, by adding a mark-up to it. (Shaukat,
Market Research and Opportunity Analysis: Maria B. believes in fashion as a constant transient
change. New tastes keep on developing which gives rise to new demands in the product
market. Research hence, is always critical to success. Maria B. no doubt has always successfully
catered to the needs to its market through research. A recent example is her launching of the
new M Girl line with its bold, wild and vibrant colors, keeping in mind the aspirations of the
young women of today. (Official Facebook group of Maria B. )
With increasing divisional structure of the company, the need of a full-fledged
independently operating financial department was necessary. Maria B. has fully handled that.
The company has an independent accountant who is responsible for all the financial matters of
the company. Thought most of the information was confidential, however, Maria B.’s net profit
margin was found out to be 6.77% after taxes and interest. And the company’s gross profit
margin was found out to be 98.25% which is quite operative especially in today’s era of
economic slowdown. With the pursuance of her already implemented strategies and adequate
control, Maria B. , no doubt, can become one of the most successful brands of Pakistan.
Research and Development:
Research and Development (R & D) has become a necessity in today’s constantly
changing era. Unfortunately, at Maria B. no specific R & D department exists despite its
expansion. All research decisions are made during periodic meetings or by the CEO. However, in
lieu of arising need and global expansion, Maria B. is making decisions on having an R & D
Production and Operations:
Maria B. works on all types of clothing, from cotton, linen, silk, hand woven khaddar and
organdy garments. She prefers working on colors that are bold and vibrant. Colors and material
that are bland are not her preference. The cloth is always acquired from the textile hub,
Faisalabad. In case if the desired cloth or quality is not available, it is also imported. The
production process at the Maria B. factory is highly mechanized and up-to-date. She does not
fear local competition because her processes are highly automated and recent. 200 employees
in the factory work on monitoring production and focusing on embroidery. Though no special
MIS software is in place, the company plans to have one installed soon as market size and
demand increases. (Shaukat, 2009) Moreover, all the activities in the company’s value-chain is
covered by the cost of sale of goods.
(SW) – INTERNAL ANALYSIS
Below are a list of all the strengths and weaknesses that are faced by the company. The
strengths are of an advantage to the company while the weaknesses pose threat and need to
be minimized and converted in order to prove beneficial for the company.
Wide product line
No mission statement
Strong Brand recognition
No written vision statement
Almost all brands have a niche focus
Lack of focus
Diverse brand portfolio
Lack of Brand Idea Sharing
Internal Factor Evaluation Matrix (IFE):
The IFE matrix evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of the company in relation to
the ability of its management to capitalize on the strengths and minimize the weaknesses.
Company: Maria B.:
Wide product line
Strong Brand recognition
Almost all brands have a niche focus
Diverse brand portfolio
No mission statement
No written vision statement
Weak advertisement efforts
Lack of brand idea sharing
Competitive Portfolio Matrix (CPM):
The CPM identifies a firm’s major competitors and its particular strengths and
weaknesses in relation to a sample firm’s strategic position.
Company: Maria B.
Local Competitors: Hasan Shehryar Yasin (HSY), Nomi Ansari, Rizwan Beyg, Nilofer Shafid,
KEY SUCCESS FACTORS
Market size and growth rate
Intensity of competitors
Below is the SWOT Matrix of the Company Maria B. These are some strategies that the
company can adopt to capitalize on available opportunities in the industry by making use of her
strengths and reduce her weaknesses and avoid threats.
1: wide product line
2: strong brand recognition
3: decentralized management
3: Diverse brand portfolio
4: financial strength
1: Expand into emerging
2: Enter new product markets
3: Acquire more companies
4: E-commerce sales
5: Expand stand-alone stores
2: New entrants
3: Economic recession
4: Political situation
5: International economies and
6: Brand cannibalization
1: No mission statement
2: No written vision statement
3: Lack of brand idea sharing
4: Weak advertisement efforts
1: Expand to the northern areas
of the country S4,O2, O5
2: Increase online selling to Italy
and France S3, S4, 04
1: Increase print advertisement
and e-marketing to attract
markets like India, China as well
as the local market. W4, 04, 01
1: Target niche markets in the
country that is not being targeted
by competitors. S4, S1, T1
2: Advertise on brand quality and
corporate social responsibility to
increase customer loyalty. S2, S4,
T6, T1, T2
1: Work on making a written
vision and mission statement and
project it to make the MARIA B.
identity. W1, W2, T1, T6
2: Increase collaboration,
cohesion and idea sharing
between local designers at the
platform of the BOULEVARD. W3,
In a nutshell, Maria B. is conquering the land in the name of Pakistani fashion with her
unique and bold styles. And one day, she surely plans to become Pakistan’s top international
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