Entrepreneur with unique touch
Selvaraj in his store in Kegalle
A young man who helped out his brother in his apparel shop in Kegalle
writing bills and issuing goods has today built his own ‘Dress Points’
and is aiming to have 2,000 employees by 2015.
It was 23 years ago when Mario Pille Selvaraj started helping out his
brother at Sriyani Textiles Kegalle and seeing the immense opportunities
in the trade he decided to start his own ‘shop’ with just 8 employees.
With his unique entrepreneurial touch ‘Sriyani Dress Point’ drew
customers in large number and in 1993 he invested Rs. 3.8 million to
move to his own three storeyed building. Selvaraj was mainly in to
buying and selling and in a bid to increase profits and also provide a
‘local touch’ to his products he started his own apparel factory.
“providing employment to the under privileged ‘youth’ in the area too
was one of my concerns,” he said.
He said that in a bid to give some thing back to the community they
are also engaged in several other initiatives and they are currently
building a new temple in Kegalle.
Selvaraj imported fabric from China and India and also created his
own brand names and designs to give a high quality product at an
affordable price to the local customer.
“My main market was the middle class and today even the affluent,
including tourist shops visit my show rooms,” he said proudly.
Sriyani Dress Point in Kandy
With his success at Kegalle he opened two other outlets in Kurunegala
and Kandy and one unique feature is that all of them are multi- storeyed
and customers are assured that he or she could find what they are
He said that in addition to kids wear they also specialize in wedding
wear and have special agents who send them high quality wedding sarees
He said today they manufacture over 75% of ladies items and 60% of
gents wear from their factories. “We also outsource and always maintain
high quality,” he said.
Asked if he is having competition from ‘pavement hawkers’ he answered
in the negative. “Firstly they cannot match our quality and secondly
since we buy wholesale, Sriyani Dress Point prices are in par or perhaps
lower than the pavement vendors.”“Another advantage we have over
competitors is the unique style we offer as we have our own designers at
our garment factory,” he said.
Customers at Sriyani Dress.
Gamini Ramanayake Our Kandy Corr.
Commenting on today's market trends he said that people spend more
money today than two decades ago. “In the 1980's people hardly wore any
ready- made garments and today one cannot find a person who would give
measurements for a garment unless it is for a wedding.”
He said that one of the main reasons for this is that today the
‘choice’ for finished products are huge and tailors are hard to find.
“People also don't have time to visit the tailors several times for
measurements, fit-on and to collect the finished product. Ready-made
garments are also cheaper,” he said
He said his next aim is to enter Colombo and the Southern Province
and has already picked several properties to open his concept of dress
points. “We would also be opening a second seven storeyed complex in
Kurunegala and is also targeting to have their second dress point in
Commenting on the industry he said that they are disappointed that
the government imposes a 12% VAT on locally manufactured apparels. The
same tax of 12% VAT remains for ready-made garments . “This is very
unfair since the government should more incentives for locally
manufactured products,” he said.
Selvaraj says that his children are studying overseas and his
daughter would get involved in the business when she completes her