Risks define the growth for every brand and individual. From its shell of being 'the' brand for premium leather bags and accessories, Hidesign has experimented with the sunglasses segment. A thought about forward integration, the brand saw a connect between handbags and sunglasses, more so when it’s the need of the season. The brand is known for its exquisites handcrafted, all natural, eco-friendly luxury leather goods and fashion accessories. Today it’s a global brand presence and has become the first Indian Brand to be retailed at premium international outlets.
Plans for extension in Pens, Shoes,and lots more.
In conversation with Neha Singh, Dilip Kapur, President of Hidesign talks about the brand and the movement across it.
Neha Singh (NS): How is real time retailing being adopted by Hidesign?
Dilip Kapur (DK): In late 90s we started looking towards new markets and developing economies. South Africa, Russia, India, South East Asia were the markets that seemed inviting. When we looked at India in 1999, we realized that the retail market was at a nascent stage and we did not find distributors who understood the brand and its vision. We looked at tourist places like Pondicherry, Cochin, Goa before moving to the metros. We saw tourists and NRIs as our first market. They related well to the values we stood for and understood our vegetable tanned leathers better. We opened one shop, then another and realized what we had been missing out on all this time – customer interaction and feedback. Hidesign has expanded by capturing exclusive and strategic retail spaces across all major metros and airports across India. We were among the first niche category players to start retailing online in 2009. Hidesign is now targeting smaller towns (tier-II and III cities) that display a growing consumer profile. We understand the growing demands of the consumer in various and upcoming regions of India, the upwardly mobile and discerning in its taste. And as we start various brand extensions like Luxury collection by Alberto Ciaschini and Hidesign Sunglasses, we foray into new sets of customer base.
NS: What is the reason behind the expansion of product range in Hidesign?
DK: The idea of introducing a Luxury collection by Alberto Ciaschini germinated almost 3 years back. Hidesign has always occupied the position of a luxury brand in the consumer’s mind. The luxury collection is another avenue to explore our craftsmanship. We are also growing with this loyal clientele and are also foraying into a new arena of customers –those that respond to the values of Hidesign and enjoy sophisticated designs and fine detailing. Hidesign launched its first luxury collection in 2012. In 2013, we chose to venture into sunglasses because India sees many people sporting sunglasses, be it for fashion or to protect their eyes from the sun. After permeating into the Handbag market, sunglasses seemed to be a very distinct choice for us to extend into. Introducing Hidesign Sunglasses adds to our natural progression. Sunglasses also make everyone look great and there aren’t many fashion-oriented sunglasses brand in the market that is natural and yet has great price points.
NS: How do you plan to retail your brand? And who is your ideal customer?
DK: Hidesign is recognized as the leading manufacturers of leather accessories in India, positioned in the category of premium luxury. Successful, upwardly mobile, young-at-heart with a strong sense of independence; the Hidesign customer is likely to be:
Between 25 and 40
Career focused, part of mid & senior level management, the brand is increasingly sought by career aspirants and fresh graduates, aligns with the values of people in alternate professions like media, fashion, art, education and home makers alike.
Belongs to high income group
Travels frequently (often abroad)
Buys quality products that have a lasting value
Has a strong commitment to nature and ecology
NS: Elaborate about the product range you are bringing to India?
DK: Hidesign products are currently split into the following categories:
Women’s handbags, work and day bags, clutches, women’s wallets
Men’s and women’s belt
Men’s wallets, travel wallets and passport holders
Men’s briefcases, crossbodies, messenger bags, city bags, backpacks
Travel bags, duffels and wheelies
Laptop and iPad sleeves
Accessories and smalls- coin pouches, key chains, pencil cases. The ‘Alberto Ciashini- handcrafted by Hidesign’ luxury extension of is available only in select Hidesign stores in India. The collection consists primarily of day and evening bags. The recently launched Hidesign Sunglasses for both men and women in select Hidesign stores across India. Plans for Hidesign’s brand extensions include shoes, pens and lots more!
NS: How do you see the luxury sunglasses market in the current year?
DK: In India, the luxury Sunglasses market seems to have augmented with the consistent lifestyle changes and increase of the urban culture. There seems to be an increased demand of hi-fashion sunglasses among the women since 2009.There is a huge underground market for sunglasses. Although the high end fashion segment of Sunglasses is small but a very lucrative market; that’s what we’re looking to gratify.
NS: What are the variants and the price point at which Hidesign sunglasses are available in India?
DK: The Hidesign Sunglasses are priced from Rs.3000 to Rs.4500. The target consumer falls in the age group of 20 years and above (for both men and women).
NS: Brief on your store/distribution presence- number of cities and number of total stores?
DK: From the first exclusive boutique in 1998, Hidesign has grown to 66 exclusive stores in India and a distribution network in 23 countries that has placed its product in over 2000 stores. E.B.O- 66, MBO- 115, Franchisee – 4
Retail presence: Across all metros, tourist hot spots, tier II and III cities.
NS: How do you see tourist or religious spots as a space to open stores? Do you have or plan to have any stores.
DK: Hidesign has expanded into travel retail by opening stores at a lot of domestic airport. We’re soon launching a store at the Bangalore airport. This directly caters to all kinds of travelers – work or leisure travelers. We’re already present in tourist spots like Pondicherry, Goa, Cochin, Gateway of North East – Guwahati. Aiming for complete market saturation, we will cover all important areas and points, with wider expansion into tier II and tier III cities, like Siliguri and Nagpur.