Alberto Torresi, a men’s footwear brand by Virola Shoes Pvt Ltd, after a success in the European market now works towards growing big in India. Vouching on the ‘Stressless’ technology, Ishaan Sachdeva, Director, Alberto Torresi, wants to bring to Indians shoes which are comfortable and fashionable, all in one. In conversation with Gunjan Piplani, he unveils his future plans for the brand.
Gunjan Piplani (GP): How Alberto Torresi came into being in India?
Ishaan Sachdeva (IS): We started as exporters and have a presence across European markets. Alberto Torresi is our in-house brand which is being sold across the European market for more than a decade now but in 2010 we decided to bring this brand to India. It has been positioned in a segment which is not typically Indian and not typically European as well. We have tried to bring in the international designs and nature into these shoes in a very Indianised manner.
GP: The Indian footwear market is full of international and domestic brand, what different are you getting for the Indian consumers?
IS: Before we started off in India, we did a lot of market research and product development. What came to light is that the Indian market is full of footwear that is either comfortable or fancy, not the two together.
Keeping this in mind, we worked with a lot of international designers, invested a lot of money, and imported new technologies. Finally, we came up with ‘Stressless’ technology which makes the customer feel the comfort and see the fashion. We changed the thinking of a comfort shoe not being a fashion shoe.
GP: In today’s time footwear brands are expanding their offerings to accessories as well. What new are you bringing to Alberto Torresi?
IS: Soon you will see Alberto Torresi launching accessories starting with wallets in this season. Moreover, we currently are a men’s footwear brand, so now it’s time to bring in the women’s footwear as well. So soon there will women footwear brands which we will add to the portfolio, one of which will be the counterpart of the Alberto Torresi’s premium range. Also we have formed a joint venture with an Italian company, whose brand we will be selling in India.
Expanding the existing Alberto Torresi range, we will soon be coming up with premium collection and a mass market brand.
GP: Who are your target audience and what is the price range?
IS: We are majorly targeting the youth segment. India has more than 65% population below 35 and which wants functional shoes which look good. Moreover, in order to cater to them we also launched colours including blues and reds. Though it surprised them initially, but then these colours are being taken well. Now we see a lot of colours in men’s footwear.
The price range for shoes starts from Rs 1995 and goes upto Rs 3495 and for sandals starts around Rs 1495 goes upto Rs 1995.
GP: Now that you are planning big for Alberto Torresi, what retail presence are you looking at?
IS: We don’t have any exclusive stores in India as of now, but we are present in approximately 120 key retail store including Lifestyle, Shoppers Stop, Reliance Footprints, Central and other. Apart from that we also have a distribution channel, so the tally goes upto more than 200 stores.
By the end of this year we should have 250 point of sales and by end 2013 end we want to achieve 800 point of sales.
In terms of regions we are present in north India, growing strong in south, a bit in east and looking towards south. We are growing strongly in west. We are targeting the metros, tier I and tier II cities and also looking at tier III cities but some selective ones.
The exclusive stores will come when the complete spectrum of brands is in place which will be in two years of time.
GP: Going online is the new buzz. Elaborate about your online retail presence.
IS: The online retail segment is growing really well and apart from selling space it is also a way of creating attention for the brand among large number of customers. Understanding the importance, we have recently tied up with Jabong.com, fashos.com and koovs.com. We soon will be tying up with some more.
GP: What are your investment plans?
IS: We touched somewhere around Rs 10 crore which we will triple this year. The major investment has gone into the manufacturing unit to increase production capacity and to ensure availability.
GP: Elaborate about your manufacturing unit and capacities?
IS: We already have our units up in Agra and we starting off with a new one as well. The new unit will be functional by June.
Currently we are producing about 2.4 million pairs a year, 10000 pairs a day and we are scalling up to 17000 per day which we will be able to achieve by end of the year.
GP: What is current turnover and what are your future expectations?
IS: We have approximately done Rs 15 crore and expecting about Rs 30 crore. We are looking at doubling the numbers growth every year for at least next two years.