Started its operations in the year 2002, a stationery and writing accessories store in Koramangala, Bangalore. William Penn today has 30 exclusive outlets across 10 cities and a store in Colombo, Sri Lanka. It has more than 20 globally renowned brands on offer. From retailing at the best locations to offering a curated range of premium writing instruments & men’s lifestyle accessories sourced from across the globe, William Penn takes that extra effort to give customers the world-class shopping experience.
Nikhil Ranjan, a mechanical engineer by qualification in the year 2002 who is also the founder of William Penn talks about Covid 19 impact on his business in an exclusive interaction with indianretailer.com
Kindly shed light on the journey of William Penn in Indian market so far?
William Penn has been in existence since 2002. It was started with the vision to provide world-class stationery in a modern retail environment.
When we started, the target audience was much broader to include children as well as adults. But, today, the brand has evolved to cater to the more discerning customer who is looking for a premium lifestyle accessory – be a writing instrument, a wallet, a bag or a journal.
We have two divisions – one retail (with stores called William Penn) and the other distribution.Since 2002, we have been distributing international brands such as Sheaffer, Moleskine etc. In 2016, we launched our own brand called Pennline. We have a range of notebooks, journals, organizers, cabinets apart from pens under Pennline.
Kindly tell us about your current distribution. What are the plans to scale up the distribution in the time to come?
We distribute all our brands to other retail stores including modern retail formats such as Bookstores and department stores. We have been doing so since we started in 2002. We have recently expanded our geographies to include Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Middle East. We will continue to expand our distribution as we move ahead.
How has covid 19 has impacted your business? Will you be tweaking your distribution strategy now onwards?
This pandemic will certainly impact our business significantly in the short run. We really don’t know today, what the pain will be like and for how long this will last. But, we are confident about the market, we will have to stay patient for the demand to return. ,
In the short term, we will be cautious about our spending on marketing and on new product launches.
How do you think the luxury stationery market will grow now considering setbacks caused by covid 19?
As mentioned in my previous reply, the luxury market will be hit more than other goods. It will be the last to recover. But, this could also be an opportunity for brands such as ours to grow since international brands may take longer to recover.
How has consumer behavior evolved in this category?
Until Covid happened, there was steady growth in the discretionary income and hence in the aspirational & luxury goods too.
But post Covid, things are going to be different and consumers will tend to be cautious with their spending. We will have to gear ourselves for the post covid world.