Scavin reveals true reason behind sluggishness in eyewear licensing

In a candid conversation with Retailer, Nitin Grover, Managing Director for the brand shares the insight about licensing in eyewear industry and what is leading to sluggishness in here.
Nitin Grover, Managing Director

Scavin - the flagship eyewear range of Scavin International holds the rights for Lee Cooper eyewear brands. Also, the brand has done promotional deal for Salman's movie Bajarangi Bhaijan in Delhi. 

Talk to us about your stint with eyewear licensing in India.

In India eyewear licensing has been for few years, but the main phase started four to five years ago. But because of few brands who make so big mess, they just wanted to earn money through licensing and didn’t focus at all on the quality. They had chosen their market for corporate gifting. For instance, when a pair of Reebok sunglasses was being sold at Rs 3,999 and after discount some players were offering it at Rs 399. 

What were the challenges you faced and how did you address them?

The problem we faced was that the companies had very high numbers but practically in case of quality products, those numbers weren’t possible. The brands were looking at 3 to 5 lakh pieces a year. When we entered this industry, first we made very clear picture that eyewear market is very different from apparel and hence is not viable to replicate numbers in case of apparel brands.

We have distribution rights for Lee Cooper which are primarily apparel brands. Such brands have tendency to judge licensing part same as the apparel segment. First we had to wash off all these misconceptions. Then we went on with full range of eyewear for men, women and kids across ages. The challenge is to convince the brand about volumes, royalty.

What innovation have you brought into this segment?

Earlier the licensees were into selected styles like typical aviators and wayfarers with some colour option. I feel that is not the right way with eyewear licensing. We began with research on the trend and variety in the market, brand perception and then we planned the range and packaging. For instance, we made denim cases for Killer eyewear line. The key in eyewear licensing is that the packaging should gel with the brand’s persona rather than just making a box for eyewear.

Second is that we focused on the quality which was missing. Usually the products were rated as UV 400, UV 100 per cent. The lenses we make are exactly UV 400. Other ones that I see have stickers on them citing UV 360, UV 390 etc. which is not a quality parameter. Moreover, the lenses have to be UV-A and VU-B filtered as well. We came up with lenses adhering to these quality standards. We also focused on acetate products in our range.

How have you strategized pricing?

The main thing we focused on is pricing. Generally the brands are selling eyewear at Rs 2,499 and offer almost 40 per cent discount taking the price to around Rs 1,799. Our Lee Cooper range is priced between Rs 1,299 to Rs 3,299. We don’t offer discounts throughout the year other than during EOSS. In case of online marketplace, the players are putting from their own pockets.

We are also doing Lee Cooper Junior range wherein we didn’t prioritize much on frame quality as economic price range was our focus and we launch Rs 899 to 999 with UV-A and B filtered range packed in a car shaped case. We had gone on micro level to create a vast range in eyewear market.

How far do you agree that eyewear Licensing is the toughest of all categories?

I agree with that, but people are not following that. The market is very unorganized as the retailers are not following right abbreviations. They are using SRP rather than MRP. Many of the Indian brands as well as licensed brands are doing so which devalues the market as price of same product differs at two retail stores. My grandfather started this business in 1945 and this is the third generation. We are a lot into the technical aspect of manufacturing. Most of the people operating aim at short term goals rather than long term agreements.

Many fashion labels are themselves coming up with an extension. What is your take on the same?

Some brands are taking licenses back in order to control quality because generally people tend to slap the logo of brand in the name of license. Flying Machine has taken back eyewear category as of now.


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