Salute-worthy Success: How Ramraj Redefined Dhotis
👣 The Humble Beginning and the Inception of the Brand
Ramraj Cotton is the brainchild of K R Nagarajan, born in a humble agricultural family in Tirupur.
The business idea was born in the mind of young Nagarajan when he started working in a small shop selling dhotis. The job required travelling for sales, which gave him the opportunity to interact with weavers who were paid a petty amount for their goods. The empathy and humanitarian strain in Nagarajan helped shape his future business—he founded Ramraj Khadi Traders in 1957, which later became Ramraj Cotton in 1983.
👣 Making An Undeniable Fashion Statement With Dhoti
The biggest asset that was born out of Nagaranjan’s venture was the dhoti. However, there was an impediment to this—though dhoti was the mainstream product, it was only preferred as casual or traditional wear, restricted solely to family functions.
To tackle this, the brand managed to create a larger-than-life brand persona, which now relies on its ability to stand the test of time; changing the image of the dhoti to a respectable and acceptable piece of clothing.
Nagarajan himself started showing up in dhoti in all his major appearances. The brand aggressively marketed the image of dhoti through their advertisements as a choice by powerful men in various fields. The jingle “Salute Ramrajukku salute” chimed all across South India.
The brand also modernised the dhoti by changing the black belt used to secure the dhoti into white and adding pockets to the dhoti, thereby making it both aesthetic and functional at the same time.
👣 Threading Roots Far and Beyond
Ramraj Cotton has since expanded into manufacturing shirts, hosiery, t-shirts, lingerie, shorts, track pants, knitwear etc.
The most interesting factor is that despite the plethora of products offered, about 95% of the revenue comes from the sale of dhotis and shirts. The company even launched the ‘Veyti Vaaram’ (Dhoti week) to integrate potential young customers into its consumer list.
Today, Ramraj Cotton has a turnover of ₹1,300 crores and has 140 showrooms across South India.