HRX to go overseas!

Afsar Zaidi, Co-Founder & CEO, HRX, who is also the Managing Director of Exceed Entertainment, interacted with Retailer Media to explain the growth strategy further.
Afsar Zaidi

Talk to us about the journey of HRX with brand licensing?

It’s a very unique trajectory of growth for HRX from 2013 to today. In 2013, Myntra was our first Licensee in the fashion category. Within 2 years convinced by the potential that the brand showcased and the upswing that the fitness industry witnessed, they converted into becoming investors and our JV partners for HRX apparel & footwear categories! This year we are anticipating an exit of Rs. 300 cr on the topline revenues.

Xiaomi our 2nd licensed category in wearables started in Sept of 2017 for a year with a single product SKU- The Mi band HRX edition. But we are already into our second year of continued association with having sold almost a million of these bands.

With Curefit we have always envisioned a long play - its about building and influencing the fitness ecosystem in the country - for a fit body, mind and soul - and we hand shook right at the start as equity partners.

According to you what would be the estimated market of celebrity licensing in India? What are the grey areas of celebrity licensing?

This space currently is highly fragmented and there is a very thin line between Endorsement & Celebrity Licensing. Thus it’s hard to quote exact numbers here.  The more available data would be for Character Licensing. 

Like I mentioned earlier- most celebrity brands that have come up in the last 2 years vary extensively from each other in structure and functioning. Creating a brand is completely different and often mistook for celebrity licensing. Brands which are led or owned by Celebs belong to the fashion/retail business as usual except they have a celeb backing the business while Licensing is essentially time bound and doesn’t translate into building a long term business or brand.

How was 2018 for HRX and Exceed?

For both HRX & Exceed- It was the year of sharpening focus and consolidating efforts. 

For opening up newer avenues, one has to zoom out and explore. We recalibrated focus and energies for a sharper and swifter next year.

Apart from fashion, what new categories the company plans to explore for licensed merchandise range to lend the IP? Also, what are your strategy to zero down on new licensees?

Through HRX we have the following categories:

1.  Apparel & footwear- Active & Lifestyle

2.  Eyewear

3.  Innerwear

4.  Gyms & Healthy meals

5.  Wearable tech

Through HOP

1. Ethnic wear for men & women

Some of the categories that we are evaluating are Home Furnishing and Personal Grooming.  

In terms of new licensees, unlike a character licensing approach, we are looking to build long-term sustainable business models and categories - for which, we adopt more of a partnership approach - it’s not just a deal; the right DNA & vision match and being aligned for the long run are important to us.  

What are the plans for offline expansion? Also how are you looking to expand beyond Myntra as far as online distribution is concerned?

Omni channel is the way to be and we would be getting into offline soon; the required planning is underway. We should have more to comment on in the next financial year. 

HRX is exclusive with Myntra and there is no reason for us to explore any other platform - between the Group companies, we have the largest reach in online fashion and potential to tap international markets as well.

.What is your ROI/ growth rate as a licensor?

Our ROI is close to 100%.

According to you what is the ‘trick’ to licensing in India?

Finding the right partner is one of the trickiest areas - the Licensor and Licensee objectives matching for the long run are very important - it has to be a partnership. The ecosystem for licensing unfortunately is not as developed as in the West.  

Overall in the last few years there has been a lot of traction - though more organised retail, better understanding of long term structures and arrangements, financial transparency, standardisation - all of this should help in building the licensing industry.  

What are plans to expand overseas with HRX?

This is on the cards; we should be able to share visibility soon on this.  

What are your growth plans for 2019? Any plans to take the IP to international market?

Grow the sportswear market in India by being the first and largest homegrown sportswear brand, launch a couple of new categories that are a core extension to the Brand, add more names to our roster of ambassadors and influencers and launch in international markets. 


Afsar Zaidi