1 June 2019: It’s who you are — was an oft-repeated tagline of a celebrated apparel brand, Digjam. However, the makers of suits and shirts are now facing bankruptcy and have begun the insolvency process, from April 26, which will eventually kill the brand.
The name, which was once mentioned alongside Raymond, lost out because it did not keep up with changes in the market, consumers and brand experts said. “Digjam is more like an uncle who would not evolve with time, but we still respect them anyway. However, when we hardly stitch suits using fabrics, the brand does not have recall,” said Satish M, a marketing manager from Chennai.
Harish Bijoor, brand consultant and founder, Harish Bijoor Consults, added that while competitors like Raymond kept up with the latest trends, Digjam started becoming obsolete. “The brand is considered old-fashioned and its positioning in the market is still unclear,” he said. That’s perhaps what led to the downward spiral of the company. In April, exchange filings reported that its directors — Meenakshi Birla, C Bhaskar resigned with immediate effect.
On May 3, an application for initiation of Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process was filed by Oman Inc, an operational creditor. According to the creditor, the claimed outstanding stood at Rs 21.74 lakh.
In just one year Digjam saw its revenue fall by 80%. From Rs 15.54 crore for the quarter ended December 2017, to Rs 0.97 crore in the December 2018 quarter. Financials for the Jan-Mar 2019 quarter weren’t declared as on May 29. In September 2018, the company announced the temporary closure of its Jamnagar mill due to cash crunch. In its annual report for the year, the company also added that with the export markets reporting a slowdown, demand took a hit. Digjam was also the biggest exporter of woollen and worsted fabric. In the report, the company also added that the losses suffered from demonetisation further impacted the business. ‘Demand is particularly affected due to general liquidity constraints in the market, impacted by the time-consuming recovery from demonetization and the disruptions during transition to GST,’ the annual report said.
While the financials of the company were hit in 2016, the company was bullish about exports growth and struck a joint venture with Scotland-based suitmaker Holland Sherry the previous year. Even as the company stares at liquidation and stocks are being dumped at the markets, the brand name is still famous and looked at with fond nostalgia. “My wedding suits were all from Digjam, carefully made and durable. The brand is close to my heart and the products were of superior quality,” added Sundar Ravindran, a retired government official. Bijoor adds that if the brand label is brought back with a contemporary look and flavour, the old magic can still be recreated.