INDIAN luxury silk firm has opened its first UK store in Wembley by investing around £300,000 with support from the UK’s department for international trade (DIT).
Chennai-based Nalli Silks, which previously gifted sarees to King George V and Queen Elizabeth, is likely to open more stores in London and Birmingham, a statement said.
The 2,500 sqft store in Wembley with up to eight members of staff is expected to meet the demand in the UK ahead of the wedding and festive season later this year.
“Our South Asian customers living in the UK are some of our most vocal and passionate patrons. Almost every week we would greet a few UK customers at our flagship stores in India, requesting for a Nalli store nearby. Soon we started receiving social media requests from non-Indian brides asking advice on saris for their bridesmaids (or themselves) as more and more people go in for themed Indian weddings held in their own locales, or as a destination wedding,” said Ramnath Nalli , vice chairman, Nalli Silks.
According to the statement, DIT officials in Chennai and London have been working with Nalli over the past 18 months to help facilitate the project including the retail bounce back announced by exports minister Graham Stuart in September.
“As both the Indian and UK economies recover from the impact of Covid-19, increasing investment in each other’s markets is more important than ever. Brands like Nalli Silk are sterling examples of the opportunities available to Indian businesses if they wish to sell high-quality goods to a strong base of customers in the UK, including an Indian diaspora of 1.5 million people,” said minister for investment Gerry Grimstone.
Established in Chennai in 1928, Nalli already has presence in the US, Singapore and Canada.
When King George V visited India in 1911, Tamil Nadu state gifted the king a hand-crafted Kanchipuram Silk Saree from Nalli as a souvenir.
As this was the year of the King’s coronation, Nalli wove a rich silk saree with a special coronation-themed border to mark the occasion. Similarly, Queen Elizabeth II was gifted with a Nalli Silk saree by the state of Tamil Nadu for her coronation in 1954.
The DIT-supported Indian retail investments into the UK includes Dehli-based heritage occasion wear retailer Frontier Raas, and Mumbai-based luxury fashion house Purple Style Labs.