"We want to provide new retail concept for niche eyewear products", shares Ronak Sheth, Director, Eternity Lifestyles that has been in the eyewear space for over 30 years and occupies an enviable position in India by exclusively marketing and distributing brands like Mont Blanc, Chrome Hearts, Dsquared2, John Galliano, etc. In conversation with Avinder Batra, he further elaborates about his future plans in the eyewear space.
Avinder Batra(AB): How fast is the eyewear industry growing in India and how much you are expecting out of this?
Ronak Sheth(RS): The eyewear industry in India is growing at about 8-12%. As there is increased inflationary pressure and eyewear is not a priority consumer good (as compared to food and water), we expect 6-8% of this growth.
AB: Tell us about the VM services that you provide to the optical retailers?
RS: It is more like designing the optical store. Since we are in the optical business, it is easy for us to know the real requirements of an optical shop. We specialize in designing the ambience for the eye wear store. For this we have a tie up with German company ‘Concepts’. They are the real designers as far as the equipment of the store are concerned-- actual furniture, holders concerned.
AB: What is your role in this kind of service?
RS: We make the entire layout together with Concepts as one package for the store set up.
AB: Do you have your own retail destination?
RS: We do not have our own retail outlets but indirectly operate through Shopper Stop, Central, Pantaloon etc.
AB: Any plans to open company-owned stores?
RS: We are not very sure at this point, but surely we plan to come up with concept of offering a unique retail platform for niche brands foraying in the country. Our idea is to capture the niche audience and make a retail destination model which other opticians could also replicate. We do not want to give competition to the opticians but want to add value to the retail format to make an attractive ambience for the product which the price ranges of around 1 lakh, 1.2 lakhs etc.
AB: What is the cahllenge in this business?
RS: The real challenge is to give a adequate platform comparative status to such niche products because most of the opticians have the fashion optical which look alike and we want to have retail environment which stand apart as a differentiator.
Niche brands require different type of retail environment—a Branded shop for high-end opticals.
AB: How difficult is it to find customers in India?
RS: Indian consumers are there in India. The difficult part is to make them buy in India.
AB: Is there change in price range?
RS: No not much, only upto 10%.
AB: Tell us about the new brands you are bringing to India?
RS: We are launching Luxury fashion division and youth luxury fashion brands—like Opium. Provogue and Park Avenue will be launched this summer.
AB: How do you plan your marketing for the brands you launch in India?
RS: We are planning aggressive marketing tactics to stay in the mind of the consumers.
AB: How do you plan your distribution network?
RS: We have selective distributions network. Our sales teams go directly to the opticians to deliver the products.