Hidesign Cel­e­brates 40 Years; Plans to Take the Mid­dle East by Storm

With an in­ter­na­tional foot­print and a strong e-com­merce pres­ence, Hidesign has re­de­fined the no­tion of Made in In­dia lux­ury with its pre­mium ac­ces­sories that em­body high qual­ity, eco­log­i­cal val­ues and lo­cal crafts­man­ship…

Images Retail - - CONTENTS - – By Charu Lamba

With an in­ter­na­tional foot­print and a strong e-com­merce pres­ence, Hidesign has re­de­fined the no­tion of lux­ury with its pre­mium ac­ces­sories…

Hidesign, a brand that has be­come syn­ony­mous with high­qual­ity leather ac­ces­sories such as bags, belts, and wal­lets, is cel­e­brat­ing 40 years of crafts­man­ship and in­no­va­tion this year.

What started off as a hobby for Dilip Ka­pur, Founder in 1978 is now a dy­namic en­ter­prise, with a gross rev­enue of ₹170 crore. With an in­ter­na­tional foot­print and a strong e-com­merce pres­ence, Hidesign has re­de­fined the no­tion of ‘Made in In­dia’ lux­ury with its pre­mium ac­ces­sories that em­body high qual­ity, eco­log­i­cal val­ues and lo­cal crafts­man­ship.

LVMH in­vested in the brand in 2012 and the brand is grow­ing at 30 per­cent an­nu­ally, and since its in­cep­tion, has suc­cess­fully launched 74 stand­alone stores in In­dia, with a com­mend­able pres­ence at 14 In­ter­na­tional and Do­mes­tic Air­port stores in In­dia.

In 2014, Vikas Ka­pur joined the legacy of his fa­ther’s busi­ness as Hidesign’s CEO, and of­fi­cially launched its Us-based web­site (hides­ig­namer­ica.com).

Hidesign is dis­trib­uted via 30 exclusive stores around the world and shares shelf space at some of the world’s lead­ing depart­ment stores. The brand is set to take the Mid­dle East by storm, with new Hidesign bou­tiques planned in lo­ca­tions such as UAE, Saudi Ara­bia, Le­banon and Kuwait this year.

In an exclusive in­ter­view, Dilip Ka­pur spills the beans on how he started Hidesign, how the brand has shaped up and the fu­ture:

Tell us about the re­tail jour­ney of Hidesign.

Hidesign be­gan as a re­ac­tion to all the syn­thetic look­ing, plas­tic coated shiny leathers. The raw, nat­u­ral look of Hidesign made it a rebel brand, that was soon a favourite amongst the in­flu­encer and the fash­ion for­ward set. At first, we only sold in­ter­na­tion­ally in San Fran­cisco, Lon­don and Mel­bourne, from there we moved to South Africa, Rus­sia, Malaysia and many other coun­tries. We fi­nally came to In­dia in 1999. Now In­dia is our big­gest mar­ket.

The brand will cel­e­brate 40 years of ex­is­tence this year. How have you seen the mar­ket for bags evolv­ing in these 40 years?

In the last 40 years, the In­dian mar­ket has ex­pe­ri­enced a sea of change. From the era of lo­cal un­branded leather bags and cheap syn­thetic and fake goods to lib­er­al­i­sa­tion, larger


num­ber of work­ing women, to the en­try of a wide range of global brands; the look and feel of re­tail has be­come in­ter­na­tional. Along­side we’ve seen the growth of e-com­merce and so­cial me­dia. The way peo­ple shop has changed.

What are the in-store tech in­no­va­tions that you have in­tro­duced to en­hance the cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence?

With the av­er­age Hidesign cus­tomer be­ing young, the main space for us to reach out to them has been dig­i­tal. All our stores are fit­ted with screens that play videos of the brand and its new col­lec­tions. Hidesign as a brand is full of sto­ries be­cause we make our own prod­ucts and com­mu­ni­ca­tion through videos helps us com­mu­ni­cate the brand mes­sage to our cus­tomers.

We have also in­tro­duced Hidesign wal­lets with RFID chips that will pro­tect one from any cy­ber theft.

Tell us about the vis­ual mer­chan­dis­ing at the store.

Hidesign stores play a ma­jor role in cre­at­ing the brand ex­pe­ri­ence, as our cus­tomers get the first look and feel of the prod­ucts via these stores. Our stores are what con­nect our cus­tomers to us, they tell the story of our prod­ucts and about ev­ery­thing we are as a brand. The clean lines, bright white back­grounds and gleam of solid brass helps to high­light the leather bags and makes the store look mod­ern and up­mar­ket.

The dis­play win­dows in­tro­duce the new col­lec­tions and of­fers and in­vite you into the store. While the fo­cal dis­plays and theme-based col­lec­tions such as The Icons, Hidesignxkalki, Cal­i­for­nia, Atelier, cre­ate mul­ti­ple stop points in the store and help keep the cus­tomer in store for longer.

How are you tap­ping tran­sit re­tail? How much does tran­sit re­tail con­trib­ute to your over­all rev­enue?

We are al­ready present in 14 air­port stores and this year, we plan to dou­ble that num­ber. We be­lieve that air­port is a very im­por­tant plat­form for our brand as our ideal Hidesign cus­tomer is well-trav­elled and suc­cess­ful. We do sig­nif­i­cantly well at the air­ports.

Who is your TG?

The Hidesign cus­tomer is young mainly be­tween the age group of 25-35 well

ed­u­cated and work­ing pro­fes­sion­als, who are well trav­elled and care for their ap­pear­ances.

Tell us about the lo­ca­tion strat­egy of the brand. What do you pre­fer- high­streets or malls and why?

We in­creas­ingly pre­fer malls; the days of high street stores are over. There are var­i­ous is­sues such as park­ing, hy­giene that these high-street stores face. In malls, we have the right kind of am­bi­ence per­fectly suited for our tar­get cus­tomers.

What are the prod­ucts that your of­fer? Which is the fastest mov­ing prod­uct at Hidesign? Any plans to ex­pand the prod­uct range?

Hidesign is a lifestyle brand; we of­fer ladies bags, men’s bags, wal­lets, belts, shoes, sun­glasses, lug­gage and jack­ets. Our ladies bags and men’s bags are our top sell­ers. While we have only in­tro­duced sun­glasses in the past 3 years, it is a very fast­grow­ing cat­e­gory.

What steps are you tak­ing to please Mil­len­ni­als who pre­fer fast fash­ion?

We are not a fast fash­ion brand, quite the op­po­site, yet our main cus­tomer base is young men and women be­tween the age of 25-35. Hidesign is the per­fect fit for the young pro­fes­sional who wants to make a mark at work and wants to be taken se­ri­ously. Col­lab­o­ra­tions such as Hidesignxdis­ney, Hidesignxkalki help in­crease Hidesign’s ap­peal to new tar­get groups. For some rea­son, mil­len­ni­als and Gen Z have em­braced Hidesign, on so­cial me­dia where we have more than a mil­lion fol­low­ers and on­line in­flu­encers love us.

Share with us the ex­pan­sion plans of Hidesign. Which are the lo­ca­tions where we can ex­pect the stand­alone stores of the brand com­ing up?

This year, all our ef­forts are go­ing to­wards build­ing a dozen air­port stores in In­dia. In­ter­na­tion­ally we are ex­pand­ing in many new mar­kets such as Sara­jevo and In­done­sia, while build­ing up Hidesign in USA, Spain and Por­tu­gal.

Other than new mar­kets and air­ports, in terms of cat­e­gories we will con­tinue to build footwear and ac­ces­sories like sun­glasses. We need to get bet­ter at it be­fore we think of some­thing more.

Tier I and metro cities or Tier II and be­yond – which is the ma­jor mar­ket for the brand and why?

Our greater suc­cess as a brand has been at the air­ports and top tier malls in big cities. We reach many cities in In­dia and do well in more far-flung ar­eas through Hidesign e-com­merce. For a brand with a strong iden­tity and in­ter­na­tional out­look our best cus­tomers are of­ten found in ma­jor cities.

Throw some light on the same-store sales growth of Hidesign. Share with us the rev­enue tar­gets of the brand.

As In­dian econ­omy grows, the as­pi­ra­tions are grow­ing even faster. We want to be where there are as­pi­ra­tions. That is why we are open­ing at air­ports. We be­lieve that for up-mar­ket prod­ucts like ours, when you go to places such as Varanasi, the most as­pi­ra­tional or cos­mopoli­tan cus­tomer is go­ing to be at the air­port. Sim­i­larly, we will not miss the op­por­tu­nity to be in any malls where this type of cus­tomer is avail­able in In­dia. We will not look at high street; we are not look­ing at fran­chise and distri­bu­tion in the in­di­vid­ual multi-brand store.

We grew a lit­tle slower last year than ex­pected both due to de­mon­e­ti­za­tion and GST. We grew about 15-16 per­cent. This year we hope to grow above 20 per­cent.

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