Lock Laces (USA) a shoe accessory company that first came up with the popular no-tie shoelaces now launches in India. Bringing an array of products under their portfolio, the brand offers specialized laces for runners, outdoor adventurers, obstacle course racers and officegoers as well. Having expanded to over 50 countries globally, the brand has sold over 5 million pairs of shoelaces worldwide. It is one of the highest rated accessories under the sports and outdoor category on Amazon.com with over 29,000 positive reviews. India launch was attended by John Riddle, Director of Operations, Manmeet Duggal, AVP Brand Development at Kyzen Etail India. In an exclusive conversation Duggal talks about India strategy.
Tell us about the brand 'Lock Laces’‘s presence in the international market. What is the rationale behind foraying the Indian market?
The brand Lock Laces is present across over 50 countries globally and has sold over 5 million pairs of shoelaces worldwide. India is one of the fastest growing economies with an increasing appetite for global brands, especially in the areas of lifestyle and health & wellness. Also, the internet penetration is quite high as a result of which Indian consumers are well-aware of global trends and international brands that are doing well in other markets. All these factors make India a high-potential market for the expansion of Lock Laces. Lock Laces is the original no-tie shoelace brand that created this category and has been around for 20 years. We believe India can be among our top 3 markets globally, within a very short span of time.
What is your assessment about footwear accessory market in India? According to you, what are the factors propelling growth in this segment.
The size and growth of footwear accessories is directly proportional to the overall footwear market. India is one of the largest footwear markets in the world with over $6 Billion in annual sales. India is also the second largest producer of footwear in the world, after China. This helps make it an accessible product for consumers and has helped in the growth of the retail business in India. Increasing demand for new and innovative footwear and the emergence of various global as well as regional brands across segments in the category is driving the market. Innovative and trendy footwear is being manufactured by leading market players due to advancement in the footwear manufacturing process, technological innovations, and development of new materials.
Rapid urbanization, higher disposable incomes and greater penetration of media have also led to changing fashion needs of the consumers and footwear has evolved from a need based protective product to an important fashion accessory. As more and more consumers are looking for more comfortable shoes, and do not mind spending extra on such shoes, accessories such as Lock Laces will become an integral part of the footwear market in India.
Have you tied up( or plan to) with any leading footwear chain in India? What are the plans to scale up the distribution of 'Lock Laces' beyond Flipkart and Amazon?
We have launched the brand online-first through Amazon and Flipkart. This will help us understand the consumers needs and tastes better. Basis this understanding, we will scale up our business in the offline channel as well through various footwear chains. We are also in discussions with a couple of leading footwear brands in India, who are looking to bundle Lock Laces with a part of of their footwear collection as a strong value-add to their consumers.
Who do you see as your potential competition in Indian as well as international market?
Lock Laces is an innovative product with a unique technology that ensures maximum consumer satisfaction. Given our quality standards and product configuration, we do not see any immediate competition in the market. Having said that, our team is continuously working on new product development to ensure we can offer the latest products to the consumers and stay well-ahead of any potential competition.
What would be your initial marketing strategies to promote the brand in Indian market?
India’s retail market is expected to more than double over the next 5-7 years. A large part of this growth will be driven by online purchases or purchases which are digitally influenced. It is estimated that 70% of the users who have internet access, go online to make a purchase decision. Considering these factors, we will be primarily focusing on digital marketing to promote the brand in the Indian market.
At last, kindly highlight your growth plans for the brand in India.
We aim to attain the leadership position in the Footwear Accessories category in India within 18 months of launch.