SEVEN is not merely a brand but a call for change, an appeal to the modern-day youth and changemakers. It is not just a pair of shoes or, t-shirts, apparel or accessories, rather it encapsulates and encourages the philosophy of an active lifestyle for the millennial. The brand aims to provide accessible fitness not just to sportspeople but anybody who wants to have an active and health-conscious lifestyle. As a brand, SEVEN aims to revolutionize and democratize sports and sportsmanship. In an exclusive conversation Lokesh Mishra, COO, Rhiti Group share more insights about the brand.
Kindly shed light on SEVEN by MS Dhoni. How did the brand start and journey so far?
Since its inception in 2016, the brand has seen an upward journey. This not only shows the popularity of the brand but also echoes the belief, trust and love that people have in the brand. We are among the very few brands in the world who have grown organically since our inception and one of the prime reasons for this organic way of growth is having legendary cricketer MS Dhoni as our brand curator and ambassador. Our current pan India presence is primarily through distribution and online partners and also our own website.
What is your assessment about sports lifestyle market in India? According to you, what are the factors propelling growth in this segment? What would be tentative share of SEVEN by MS Dhoni in the overall market?
According to a recent industry report, the Indian sportswear market grew 22 percent from 2015 to 2016, outpacing the segment’s global increase of 7 percent. The market has grown from Rs. 24,000 Crore in 2014 to Rs. 37,000 Crore in 2016, more than 50 percent, over the past two years. The same study has shown a 23.7 percent CAGR for the 2011-16 periods with a forecast of 11.3 percent for the 2016-2021 periods. We are very bullish on the Indian sports lifestyle market and rightly so.
The key growth driver is the presence of bloggers and influencers who are becoming amazing spokespersons of the fitness movement and keeping quality footwear visible. Also, lots of academies have been scaled in past decade so that kids can choose the sports as per their choices.
An increase in income leads to more expenditure in urban India and people are becoming tremendously health and fitness conscious as also choosy about the brands they invest in and associate with. The lifestyle of the millennial generation is seeing a sea change with the urban Gen-X populace clued in to what is essential for a healthy and stylish lifestyle. They are more aware of the developments as also focused and ambitious and they are our target audience. We contribute approximately 40% in the sports market year on year.
Kindly highlight your current distribution in the online as well as offline space. Going forward, what are the plans to scale up the distribution?
Currently SEVEN sells via online and offline, across India and globally in the Middle East, Africa, South East Asia, Australia among others. We are present across major e-commerce platforms and multi stores and franchises. Unlike other brands, at SEVEN we have focussed on the tier 2 and tier 3 markets in India as these cities have large untapped potential as also the willingness to spend reasonably on quality products. We have stores in Jamshedpur, Kota, Ajmer etc. and having gained strong experience here, we are gradually moving to the metros and tier 1 markets. Our current pan India presence is primarily through distribution and online partners and also our own website.
We are planning to appoint distributors Pan India who can buy our products and sell to Multi Brand Outlets (MBOs). We currently own over 100 Multi Brands Outlets (MBOs) who are selling our products.
Since it’s a celebrity started brand, therefore, do you think you have edge over other players in this segment including Puma, adidas amongst others? What are your strategies to combat the competition?
SEVEN, as we mentioned earlier, is about being the ‘Changemaker’. Our focus is on providing value to the discerning youth of today, people who believe and emulate an active and healthy lifestyle. Our entire product range incorporates the latest in design and technology to provide a perfect combination of style with comfort. Our R&D team works day and night to analyze the demands of the market and cater to them accordingly. We believe in striving not for excellence but for continuous improvement every day and this motivates us to work hard and make SEVEN stand apart for others.
We believe in creating a legacy for the brand and living up to it and for this we ensure that the highest standard products and the best quality of material is incorporated in all our offerings.
Kindly shed light on your best performing categories and average bill size?
Well, all our products are quite famous among the customer. Our Sports jersey’s and training gearsare the best performing category in our portfolio. The average bill size is somewhere between INR1200-1500/-
Kindly shed light on your Omni Channel strategies?
We have equal focus on both online and offline platforms. Our e-commerce presence includes both, our partners and our own e-commerce site across India and globally in the Middle East, Africa, South East Asia, Australia among others. Presently the brand owns 309 multi stores across the country and we plan to open 275 stores by 2020.
Building a robust marketing plan based on brand priorities, targets and organic expansion is our strategy at present and we are concentrating on launching new product and stores, while leveraging the brand value of our ambassador MS Dhoni.
At last, kindly highlight your growth plans?
SEVEN has always been focussed on building a global presence but in an organic manner. Thanks to our motto of democratising sports, we are already registered in 45 countries and have started selling in about 10 countries. Going ahead, we plan to expand our footprints in over 100 countries in the next couple of years, especially the developed economies including the USA and Canada. Also, we are eyeing an entry into their sports marketing arena and building a presence there by sponsoring and supplying kits and jerseys to cricket clubs.