Kelme has more than four decades of experience in sports fashion.
Now that it is entering the Indian market with Global Overseas as its partner, we ask Luca Gios, Managing Director, Kelme Sports, whether the brand intends to be in India for a long time.
Aadeetya Sriram (AS): Please tell us about your brand Kelme and its history.
Luca Gios (LG): Our brand has more than 40 years of history in Europe. We were born in Spain in 1977. We started getting known as a reference in Spain. This then spread to Europe, and over the last 15-20 years, we have made our mark worldwide as a sports related brand. Our roots are in sports and during the last decade, we have been widening our product offerings into fashion and apparel. India is one of the most interesting markets due to increasing demand, increasing middle class and if you look at the European crisis, countries like India, Brazil, Japan or Latin America are important for a company like us.
AS: What is the USP of your brand? How different are you from the likes of Adidas and Puma?
LG: We have always believed that we distinguish ourselves with performance, because we are completely a sports-centric brand and if you want to work with sports people, you have to deliver performance. That is the reason why we have always tried to give the best product at the best price to our consumers. By expanding into fashion, we are trying to deliver performance with designs in a Spanish flavour, so what we focus on are performance and design.
AS: Where are you manufacturing your products for the international market and how do you intend to carry out your operations in India?
LG: Our manufacturing bases are mainly in China, but with our entry into the Indian market, we are looking at having local suppliers for certain lines that will produce under license. We are also examining the possibility of opening up our supply chain to India for our international collection.
AS: You have touched upon licensing in a varied manner. How active is Kelme with regards to licensed products?
LG: When we talk about licensing, this is allowing our local distributor and partner in India, ie Global Overseas to produce under license in some selected and authorised factories. Some selected product ranges, because of import duty issues or pricing issues, cannot be imported from China but the major chunk of products that we will be offering in India will be sourced from our international lines.
AS: What is your retailing strategy for the Indian market and how do you plan to market Kelme as a brand in the country?
LG: For the Indian market, we intend to open around 7-10 stores and from a wholesale perspective, we plan to be available through various multi-brand stores. The store will be positioned in metro cities initially and then later on, if the demand for the products is high enough, we will look into other regions in the country. For us, the Kelme sale points will be the source of marketing our brand wherein one can find the entire Kelme range, from footwear to apparel, under one roof.
AS: Who are you targeting with your varied product offerings? What is the age group you are primarily catering to?
LG: We are targeting the young people. We cater to men and women in the age group of 25-30 years, as we are trying to tap the customer who is price conscious. In Europe, we are priced at around 70 Euros. This is the price range where the customer starts to look at the price and this normally happens when one starts working and is no more dependent on anyone.
AS: What investment will Kelme make to ensure that the brand has a visibility in the market in the next couple of years?
LG: Our investments are mainly going to be in terms of retail operation. We will also be organising launch events with our partners. We are planning mass-media coverage and also looking to support sports athletes in India. As far as the figures are concerned, we are not entering the Indian market to have a quick bite, hence the amount of time and work that Kelme will put in will be enormous.