YWC forayed into the offline space last year. How has been the response through brick-and-mortar stores so far?
YWC launched its stand-alone store in Varanasi last year; however, offline sales have been in place via our partner retailers who stock the brand in over 100 retail outlets pan-India. Physical stores give a holistic approach to the brand and it is important to have both online and offline presence. Even though the Indian market is evolving towards e-commerce, many consumers still prefer to ‘touch, feel and try’ their products before buying. Athleisure as a vertical is getting popular in Tier II cities and given that we are a home-grown brand, we are keen to further expand our offline presence in such locations alongside key metros. We have also tied up with Central stores across India with a shop-in-shop model. The response so far from their Bengaluru and Hyderabad stores has been excellent.
Why do you think physical presence was mandatory for YWC?
We have received an overwhelming response since the launch of YWC in 2016 and the collections we have in place via our online presence. Looking at the same, we felt the need to have a physical touch point to the brand and Varanasi made for a unique choice. The city represents a beautiful amalgamation of old and new cultures; hence, there was a demand for a contemporary fashion brand’s presence still rooted in Indian culture. This being the brand’s first stand-alone store, we now look forward to launching additional retail stores shortly in other cities as well. While physical presence is not mandatory, it adds a lot of value in terms of reach and engagement for the brand.
What’s your current market presence through physical stores, MBOs and e-commerce?
We are already available in over a 100 touch points via shop-in-shop and multi-brand outlets including Central stores pan-India. Our flagship stand-alone store in addition to this gives our offline strategy a new dimension. In the coming year, we plan to have additional stand-alone stores as well as expand our distribution efforts to encompass additional new cities. In the online space, we retail via our own e-commerce platform as well as via Jabong and Myntra.
Are you facing any challenges while scaling?
While scaling retail presence in a saturated market like India is always a challenge, we have been blessed with very strong retail and manufacturing partners right from the start. To have deep penetration in the online and offline retail chain like YWC within a span of close to a year is not easy. However, the brand comes with a big advantage of trust along with quality and being price-competitive. Hence, it stands out to our retail partners as a worthy choice. Having said that, the commercial real estate does play a very big role in expansion as such space is very expensive in metros. Therefore, we need to be very careful about our investments as wrong decisions can lead to brand-bleeding.
What’s the average ticket size in online and physical stores?
Our products price range is between Rs 599 to 5,000. The gold collection goes up to 30,000. The value for money is undoubtedly excellent. Our manufacturing partners allow for good economies of scale which we, in turn, pass on to our customers with attractive pricing.
Since the brand is backed by a renowned cricketer, how has his legacy been integrated with the brand?
The DNA of the brand is deeply embedded in Yuvraj Singh’s personal philosophy of ‘Live Dare Inspire’; it is the essential story of his life. The brand philosophy is deeply rooted in his own personal journey to fight against all odds and never give up. Additionally, YWC has a direct social connection, with sales from the brand contributing to Yuvraj Singh’s foundation for cancer survivors – YouWeCan. All this makes YWC an aspirational socially rooted brand where people are not just buying into a product but also into a way of thinking and participating in the social cause of raising cancer awareness.
What are your expansion plans? How much are you planning to invest in FY18-19?
YWC this year has a very ambitious expansion plan layered across outreach as well as product diversification. In terms of retail, we plan to partner with more online and offline stores which offer good reach. We also plan to launch more stand-alone stores in cities like Chandigarh and Delhi NCR. In terms of product, we are launching sports equipment this month and are soon to introduce jewellery and perfumes among other accessories to the collection this year.