Tantalising accessories

The fashion accessories industry needs to look beyond apparel.
fashion accessories

More than anything else, it is accessories that complete the look of an outfit. Thus, in a way, accessories provide the best way for a brand to make its mark when we talk about the fashion industry. Accessories encompass bags and purses, ties, belts, shawls, scarves, handkerchiefs, suspenders, caps, hats, footwear, fashion eyewear and watches.

The basic idea behind accessory stores remains to be offering an array of products which have a daily life usage – from the time you are a kid to a time to transform into a young woman and even beyond that. The market for accessories is estimated at Rs 1,000 crore and is growing at about 20 per cent. The recent newsmaker was the US brand Claire with whom DLF Brands has inked a franchise deal to open 30 stores stores. It is understood that the market is very much ripe in the country and though it is not very established and organised; it possesses huge potential to take off in the times to come. The segment is dominated by unbranded players across the country and thus brands coming in the picture are expected to be a welcome relief.

Brands going for accessories retail

Lot of apparel brands have opted for venturing into the accessories segment, attempting to ensure that they retain their customers by expanding their product range. Tommy Hilfiger launched its two exclusive accessories store in Pune and Chandigarh in November, 2010.

Apart from Crew Republica, Hidesign and LuckyClover, Tommy Hilfiger some other fashion accessories brands include Esprit, Max, Burberry, Spencer’s Retail Ltd, Reliance Trends, Pavers England, Spykar Lifestyle Pvt Ltd, Nike, Christian Dior, etc.

Trend setters

Having well known brands from abroad is a positive sign in a way that they bring with them a great deal of learning and experience. We took a look at three such brands which are present in the country. Catering to the age group of 3-20 year old , Pradeep Bhanot, Brand Head - Claire's shared his take on having differentiated their target consumer – young, younger and youngest (12-20; 6-12; 3-6) respectively. Spread across an area of1000 sq ft, Claire’s has designed the store on the same lines, keeping the first half (45%) for the young and the balance for the younger and the youngest sections. The theme for the store changes according to the season in fashion. Claire’s, which has already opened one store, plans to open two this month – Bangalore and Delhi. The brand plans to sweep the market with more than 15 stores this year. The current store has about 27000-30000 pieces on display and offers a price range of Rs 300-Rs 3000.

Holii accessories, a name which is Indian as well as modern, is present in the country via a JV between Hidesign and Future Group, has banked upon Hidesign’s understanding of the market and Future Group’s expertise in department stores. “It has been three years and I can say that it’s about bridging the gap. Our USP is our creativity and differentiation in terms of design,” opined Gilles Moutounet, CEO - Holii accessories. The brand is also planning to enter the apparels segment by unveiling a couture line by December 2012. With products being sold at 11 EBOs spread across 16 cities and 62 shop-in-shops, Holii clocked 60 percent growth last year and intends to set up new shops in 16 cities including Kolkata, Kochi, Lucknow and Chandigarh this year.

Having tested in the shop-in-shop format, Moutounet shared that they aim to open one flagship store in October/November, with the location being dependent on the availability. The TG constitutes women from the age group of 25-45 possessing a high fashion quotient. Moutounet stated the learning he has picked up from experience abroad has mainly been – working closely with the customer database, acquire new customers while you grow with your customers. With regards to the expansion plans, by the end of the year, Moutounet said, “We are targeting for EBOS in Lucknow, Chandigarh and Kochi, with shop-in-shops in association with Kapsons in Ludhiana and Jammu.”

Further commenting on the online-offline interactivity, Moutounet commented, “The volume of sales generated by our online medium is equivalent to that of 2 EBOs on a monthly basis.” White, which stocks designer wear ranging from apparel to accessories, recently launched its spring-summer collection. Shaan Thadhani, the owner and creative designer of WHITE commented, “As fashion and brand names become bigger and bigger in India, accessories is a great way to start.” He emphasised on quality and creativity. He shared that one needs to understand what the customer is willing to spend on. Sharing some details, he stated that while 24% of sales are contributed by accessories, accessories constitute 30-35% of the merchandise of the stores. White has a store in Gurgaon and Hauz Khas and has some early talks going on for a launch in Hyderabad this year. The revenue which Thadani is looking at is 60-70 lakhs per annum which shall be contributed by the accessories range.

Yet another potential brand is Accessorize - from the house of Planet Retail which launched its first store 3.5 years back, having doubled its store count over the last one year. Having 40-45 stores pan India, the brand has three shop-in-shops located in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. The brand plans to open 20 stores in this financial year (West, North and South). Interestingly, the brand has the TG of 10-80 and a very flexible price range of Rs 150-Rs 5000. The average price point at which most of the buyers pick up stuff remains to be Rs 700. The tactic they employ, as shared by Ayush Tainwala, Brand Head, Accessorize, is based on introducing latest styles, fashion into the stores every single week. Tainwala further shared a key learning and said, “Sales do not increase as fast as the store size (in the same ratio/level).”

Accessorize has apx 1200 stores abroad and the key areas to look upon are fast turnover of inventory, integrated supplu chain and the speed it enables in return. Referring to the idea of going online, Tainwala avered that they are not considering the same since they feel that physical trying on of stuff before buying/purchasing is important when we talk about accessories/jewellery.

Global challenges

The global fashion accessories industry is due for some major transformation - steep increases in raw material prices, over capacity and competition, changes in consumer buying power in key markets, emergence of new markets, increasing consumer consciousness and more vigilant governments and regulators. Archies which had started their accessory stores as an extension of their current store format are no longer going ahead with the same, looking at no further expansion in the same category. However, Archies is selling their collection (including accessories) via their online medium.

Keep in mind

While leveraging upon the already created brand goodwill and image, Tainwala pointed out that it helps big time in recruitment while he shared his brand’s journey from 20 to 40 stores would not have been otherwise easy. The other areas which are better handled in a way as a result of the brand image and name, as shared by him, are backend, warehousing, IT, accounts, etc. As gauged by expert opinion, India is very much a ripe market and presents to be a land of opportunity when we refer to accessories and brands going for expansion in this space.



Players           Going further                                                       TG 

         Claire’s          Plans to open 15 stores this year                    3-20


Holii                EBOs in Lucknow, Chandigarh,                        25-45

                         Kochi, Kolkata; shop-in-shops

                         in Ludhiana and Jammu (with Kapsons)

                          Stores to be added in 16 cities.                        


Accessorize    Plans to open 20 stores in this financial         10-80

                          year (West, North and South)                             


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