Do­rae­mon: An Ex­cel­lent Part­ner

Do­rae­mon, an an­i­mated series that has been a fa­vorite of Ja­panese chil­dren for decades, will be turn­ing 50. As one of the old­est, con­tin­u­ously run­ning icons, Do­rae­mon is a rec­og­niz­able char­ac­ter in this con­tem­po­rary gen­er­a­tion.

Shoes & Accessories - - Contents -

The Do­rae­mon, an anime com­posed by Fu­jiko F. Fu­jio in 1969 in Ja­pan, came to In­dia in 2005 through fran­chise route and was aired for the first time. Amongst many lau­rels to its credit, it won the Nick­elodeon Kids’ Choice Awards - In­dia twice in a row for Best Show For Kids (2013 and 2015) and was nom­i­nated in 2016 and 2017 edi­tion for the same cat­e­gory. Presently, it’s aired on Dis­ney Chan­nel and claims to be the high­est-rated kids’ show with about 478.5 mil­lion view­ers. In 2007, Dore­mon in­trod­cued its li­censee for mer­chan­dise in In­dia.

Nitin Kalra, Di­rec­tor at AI Li­cens­ing In­dia Pvt. Ltd, a part of the Hong Kong­based An­i­ma­tion In­ter­na­tional Lim­ited, man­ages the li­cens­ing and mer­chan­dis­ing busi­ness for sev­eral pop­u­lar global brands such as Do­rae­mon, Shin Chan, Archie Comics, Garfield, Hall­mark De­sign Col­lec­tion, Hall­mark Ba­bies, Al­bert Ein­stein, be­sides oth­ers.

In Au­gust 2017, An­i­ma­tion In­ter­na­tional Li­cens­ing Pvt Ltd. en­gaged BD Nathani for mar­ket­ing con­sul­tancy to as­sist in find­ing li­censee part­ners in footwear, ap­parel and ac­ces­sories cat­e­gories. Nathani has had an op­u­lent ex­pe­ri­ence in man­ag­ing li­censee brands like Lotto, New bal­ance, Hi-tec and Crocs in In­dia. He had a ro­bust stint in launch­ing Dis­ney Footwear as well as Ch­hota Bheem Footwear.

Nitin Kalra and BD Nathani share their views on Do­rae­mon and li­cens­ing busi­ness in In­dia with S&A’S Amit Cho­pra.

How big is li­cens­ing busi­ness glob­ally as well in In­dia? BD Nathani :

Brand li­cens­ing is at nascent stage in In­dia but is set to grow man­i­fold in the fu­ture with ris­ing brand con­scious­ness among con­sumers and high peneter­a­tion of mod­ern re­tail cou­pled with E-com­merce. Cur­rently, In­dia, with a turnover of $396 mil­lion in re­tail sales, is on 20th po­si­tion glob­ally. Ac­cord­ing to Li­cens­ing In­dus­try Mer­chan­dis­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tions sur­vey, mar­ket size of the li­cens­ing in­dus­try stands at $271.6 bil­lion with growth of over 4.5% pa.

So, when did you re­alise li­cens­ing was the way to go? Nitin Kalra:

The Do­rae­mon In­ter­na­tional Li­cens­ing pro­gram was started by Mr. Hiroshi Kondo,chair­man of the An­i­ma­tion In­ter­na­tional Group al­most 3 decades ago. The vi­sion was to cre­ate a global brand icon emerg­ing from Ja­pan that would ap­peal to both girls and boys. From then on, An­i­ma­tion In­ter­na­tional now man­ages the ex­clu­sive li­cens­ing rights to Do­rae­mon across Asia, Mid­dle East and CIS re­gions through its 17 of­fices.


Well, footwear is still at a bud­ding stage when it comes to fash­ion cat­e­gory, which con­sist of ap­par­els, ac­ces­sories, shoes etc, but for some rea­son footwear’s share is quite low at the mo­ment. It con­trib­utes hardly 10% of to­tal fash­ion busi­ness pie.

Are there things peo­ple don’t un­der­stand about Do­rae­mon and the mar­ket? NK:

What peo­ple don’t know is that Do­rae­mon is a 48-year-old char­ac­ter and con­tin­ues to grow strong on the back of its con­tent. Our core con­tent, which pro­vides mo­ral val­ues and a mis­sion to make the world a bet­ter place strikes a chord with con­sumers – kids and adults alike. In In­dia alone, there is 38% coview­er­ship of the pro­gram with adults over 18+, which means par­ents, young adults do like to watch the show with kids. With Ama­zon Prime now show­ing Do­rae­mon,

Ac­cord­ing to Li­cens­ing In­dus­try Mer­chan­dis­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tions sur­vey, mar­ket size of Li­cens­ing in­dus­try stands at US$271.6 bil­lion with growth of over 4.5% pa.” – BD Nathani

How big is footwear li­cens­ing?

we are see­ing more young peo­ple get­ting added to the band­wagon of Do­rae­mon’s fol­low­ers.

What is the fu­ture de­sign di­rec­tion? Can you tell us how this has evolved? NK:

Do­rae­mon­has emerged as one of the most evolved de­sign char­ac­ters in the li­cens­ing busi­ness. From the ba­sic styles to theme-based style guides (on an av­er­age around 5-6 style guides are re­leased ev­ery year), Do­rae­mon is now avail­able even in a 3D Avataar. The fu­ture also holds good for cus­tomiza­tion – we have al­ready launched spe­cific tar­geted guides such as Chi­nese New Year or Ja­panese Sakura Fes­ti­val based de­signs. We are hop­ing to launch In­dian spe­cific de­signs very soon – such as Di­wali and Cricket.

How would you de­scribe the cur­rent li­cens­ing en­vi­ron­ment in In­dia? BD:

Ma­jor car­toon char­ac­ters like Do­rae­mon, Garfield, Dis­ney etc con­trib­ute a lot in brand mer­chan­dise apart from me­dia, en­ter­tain­ment, sports and fit­ness etc. Footwear cat­e­gory has brought in many char­ac­ters like Micky, Min­nie, Princess, Ch­hota Bheem, Bar­bie as well as Do­rae­mon, Garfield etc. Do­rae­mon was launched in In­dia with Wiesnner group 3 years ago and has now signed an agree­ment with an­other com­pany Color Foot Fash­ion Pvt Ltd, New Delhi and Do­rae­mon Kids col­lec­tion will be launched this win­ter. In fact, the same com­pany has been signed for Garfield too and the prod­ucts should be in mar­ket by Jan­uary 2019. We are very con­fi­dent of footwear cat­e­gory do­ing well in com­ing times.

What is your view on the com­pe­ti­tion between lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional char­ac­ters ? NK:

We be­lieve that ev­ery char­ac­ter has its own life and its own fol­low­ing. Com­pe­ti­tion is cre­ated by me­dia, not by con­sumers. As long as the con­sumers love the char­ac­ter, get at­tracted by the de­sign and the prod­uct is priced ap­pro­pri­ately, the con­sumers will buy. And yes, ev­ery­one will have pref­er­ences and no con­sumer will buy just one brand. We have been do­ing busi­ness in In­dia since 2005 and have seen many char­ac­ters come and go. The fact that Do­rae­mon re­mains rock solid and con­tin­ues to ap­peal to con­sumers is the proof that we are not a weak brand in any sense.

What is that you would like to im­prove? BD:

More the mer­rier. I mean more char­ac­ters, if launched, would cre­ate much big­ger mar­ket and ac­cept­abil­ity. It gen­er­ates big­ger mar­ket and much more sales rev­enue. Many con­sumers are not even aware that these characetrs are avail­able in in­dian mar­ket. Hence more aware­ness needs to be cre­ated amongst con­sumers. My ex­pe­ri­ence with Dis­ney and Ch­hota Bheem was very good and I am sure with Do­rae­mon be­ing No.1 Char­ac­ter in pop­u­lar­ity should have its im­pact on the sales of footwear cat­e­gory too.

Does it worry you that Do­rae­mon might not make money of li­cens­ing in the short term in footwear trade? NK:

I find this ques­tion quite ir­rel­e­vant. We have been in busi­ness since 2005 in In­dia and our growth has only been up­wards. We are mak­ing enough money to qual­ify to be a long term player in the li­cens­ing mar­ket in In­dia. With Do­rae­mon’s 50th an­niver­sary ahead of us in 2020, we will only grow and the busi­ness multi-fold.

What’s the best ad­vice you can of­fer to prospec­tive li­censees to adopt li­cens­ing method? BD:

From my ex­pe­ri­ence of work­ing with many sports brands like Lotto, New Bal­ance, Crocs and Char­ac­ter Li­censes like Dis­ney and Ch­hota Bheem, I can as­sure that this is the ready made for­mula to suc­cess. Build­ing a brand or cre­at­ing a char­ac­ter of your own is a huge and dif­fi­cult task which re­quires money and time with no guar­an­tee that you will be suc­cess­ful. Hence, I ad­vo­cate that tak­ing a li­cense or fran­chisee is the most suc­cess­ful method to start a busi­ness with lot of con­fi­dence as you are as­sured of brand aware­ness or pop­u­lar­ity of char­ac­ter.

What­peo­ple don’t know is that Do­rae­mon is a 48-years old char­ac­ter and con­tin­ues to grow strong on the back of its con­tent.” – Nitin Kalra

How do you think the li­cens­ing mar­ket will shake up the footwear busi­ness? NK:

The li­cens­ing mar­ket is still very small in In­dia – just about 4-5 ma­jor play­ers – yes, more are com­ing, but some have al­ready weaned out as well. That’s the law of na­ture! We fore­see this mar­ket to con­tinue to grow mas­sively, with 350 mil­lion chil­dren be­low the age of 14 years, we are only here to see an up­ward trend. The li­cens­ing com­pa­nies will lead the way in en­sur­ing best of the brands are launched and of­fered to con­sumers who are con­stantly look­ing for bet­ter prod­ucts. With the tier II and III towns set to join the li­cens­ing band­wagon, the party is just about to start!

Have your ethics ever been tested in li­cens­ing busi­ness?? BD:

This is the most dif­fi­cult ques­tion to an­swer as in In­dia ethics and busi­ness hardly go hand in hand. With footwear cat­e­gory be­ing mostly in un­or­gan­ised sec­tor, many en­ter­preneurs who take the li­cense in­dulge in wrong re­port­ing of sales fig­ures as more sales one shows, more roy­alty you have to pay. I have faced this chal­lange at few places where I could not agree with my su­pe­ri­ors to re­port low fig­ures to avoid pay­ing roy­alty. But I have fol­lowed the path of eth­i­cal busi­ness and pre­ferred to quit rather than work in un­eth­i­cal en­vi­ron­ments.

What is your view on those who seek to in­fringe on the of­fi­cial Do­rae­mon brand? NK:

Piracy is a “re­al­ity” which we can­not ig­nore and no one has a per­ma­nent so­lu­tion to it. How­ever, we do have a strong in-house le­gal cell that works with our li­censees to ad­dress this is­sue. I can proudly share that in 2017 we got over 400 il­le­gal ven­dors black-listed on prom­i­nent e-com­merce por­tals and the list con­tin­ues to grow in 2018. All our part­ners are cau­tious and re­port any in­fringe­ment that hap­pens from time to time.

Do you think ecom­merce play­ers would be get­ting into the li­cens­ing busi­ness? NK:

They al­ready have. We were amongst the first li­cens­ing com­pa­nies to sign di­rect to re­tail on­line deals with Myn­tra. Com. Now we have sev­eral Di­rect Deals with Be­, Souled­,, etc. And it’s just get­ting big­ger. For e-comm com­pa­nies it makes per­fect sense as they have the sup­pli­ers and we have the de­signs, it helps in more mar­gins for ev­ery­one and more so cheaper prod­ucts di­rect to con­sumer.

Dis­ney char­ac­ters are very strong. How do you plan to take on them? NK:

The irony is that Do­rae­mon drives Dis­ney Chan­nel in In­dia, all 3 of their chan­nels sur­vive on Do­rae­mon. Like I said in the pre­vi­ous ques­tion, each char­ac­ter is unique and we don’t be­lieve in com­pet­ing with any­one. Dis­ney is a great com­pany and an in­spi­ra­tion for ev­ery­one in the li­cens­ing busi­ness. There are only learn­ings for all of us to grow to­gether.

Many prod­ucts have gone from wooden to plas­tic. Does the com­pany in­sist on en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns? NK:

Yes, as a mat­ter of fact by 2020, we aim to elim­i­nate plas­tics from all our prod­ucts in In­dia as much as pos­si­ble. We are also work­ing on cer­tain bio-degrad­able pack­ag­ing op­tions, which we may make manda­tory for all our li­censed prod­ucts to use in times to come.

What is fu­ture of li­cens­ing busi­ness in In­dia? BD:

It’s very heart­en­ing that 32 brands have for­ayed on on­line and 22 other global brands have

Its very heart­en­ing that 32 brands have for­ayed on On­line and 22 other global brands have launched in brick & mor­tar stores in 2016.” – BD Nathani

launched in brick-and-mor­tar stores in 2016. There are over 300 new global brands plan­ning to en­ter In­dia in com­ing 2 years which in­cludes many footwear brands too. As per LIMA’S sur­vey re­port, or­gan­ised re­tail which is grow­ing very fast and with present tax struc­ture mod­i­fied to GST, re­tail is es­ti­mated to touch $220 bil­lion by 2023.

What will be your pri­mary fo­cus for li­cens­ing this year?

NK: We are adding some ma­jor part­ner­ships for Do­rae­mon lead­ing up to the 50th an­niver­sary in 2020. Our line up of li­censees at present in­clude big play­ers like Re­liance Trends, ITC, Dabur, Ti­tan, D’dé­cor, Asian Paints, Usha, Mongi­nis, Kin­der Joy and many more. We are ex­cited that ma­jor com­pa­nies now rec­og­nize and want to work with Do­rae­mon to pro­vide a de­light­ful ex­pe­ri­ence to their cus­tomers.

What has been the most suc­cess­ful and im­pact­ful pro­mo­tion that you have run over the past years ? NK:

There have been sev­eral such pro­mo­tions but in par­tic­u­lar the one we ran with HP Print­ers was the first of its kind and was also rec­og­nized as one of the top pro­mo­tions from Asia at var­i­ous Li­cens­ing fo­rums across the world.

Where do you see the Do­rae­mon brand a year from now? NK:

Do­rae­mon is head­ing for very ex­cit­ing times – we are adding more con­tent to Ama­zon Prime, launch­ing the show in English on Dis­ney and adding some top­notch brands as our li­cens­ing part­ners. We are soon an­nounc­ing our Ex­pe­ri­en­tial Li­cens­ing project with Do­rae­mon that will re­ally help us con­nect with con­sumers di­rectly across ma­jor cities in In­dia.

How much would your in­volve­ment be in the li­censees mar­ket­ing ini­tia­tives ? NK:

Our li­censees love the fact that we don’t let Do­rae­mon sit dor­mant in our of­fice. Our char­ac­ter cos­tumes are al­ways on the move. In 2018 alone, till now we have done mall events in over 24 cities across the coun­try. This just adds to the noise on ground and helps our li­censees sell more prod­ucts. Keep an eye for Do­rae­mon 50th – we will be do­ing a lot more than peo­ple ex­pect from us!

Pira­cyis a “re­al­ity” which we can­not ig­nore and no one has a per­ma­nent so­lu­tion to it.” – Nitin Kalra

stylish, tas­sel loafers are quite trend­ing and raise a man’s fash­ion quo­tient ef­fort­lessly. A pair of tas­sel loafers with cord stitch is a must-have style for those go­ing for cock­tail par­ties. Apart from tas­sels, fringes are also gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity amongst fash­ion en­thu­si­asts. A pair of in black patent leather can be the wis­est op­tion for a groom to rock his tuxedo look at a cock­tail party. On the other hand, those opt­ing for pas­tel shade suits can team up their out­fit with tas­sel loafers in shades of wine, olive, bur­gundy and tan. It is rec­om­mended not to wear socks with these slip- ons. Dou­ble Monk Strap Shoes: A pair of dou­ble monk strap shoes with strappy sad­dles crafted in leather gives a chic look. This style tends to draw at­ten­tion and is highly no­tice­able be­cause of its de­tail­ing. The ver­sa­til­ity of a dou­ble monk strap shoe is sec­ond to none. It can be worn for mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sions in var­i­ous set­tings, and colour plays a cru­cial role in height­en­ing its ap­pear­ance. For an evening wed­ding re­cep­tion – one can opt for rich tones like brown, bur­gundy and oxblood colours to team up with three­piece suits or chi­nos and blaz­ers. While at a cock­tail party, a sin­gle monk strap shoes in leather in clas­sic hues of black, dark brown or bur­gundy will make you stand out in a crowd when teamed with dressy shirts and chi­nos. Two-toned Brogues: The much trend­ing two-toned shoes are a bold state­ment and adding them to your closet am­pli­fies your per­sonal style to a great ex­tent. The in­tri­cate de­sign of this spec­ta­tor shoe gives off a time­less feel that sets your look apart from the typ­i­cal con­tem­po­rary style. It is es­sen­tial to co­or­di­nate colours while wear­ing dou­ble toned shoes to cre­ate that bal­anced look. Draw at­ten­tion to your footwear by pair­ing a bold two-toned shoe with a mono­chrome out­fit. If your shoe is of a darker shade, go for an out­fit with light colours to cre­ate em­pha­sis on the shoe and vice versa. These shoes look best when teamed up with nar­row/slim fit pants. Brogue Wingtip Moc­casins: A wingtip style is an ideal op­tion for those go­ing for par­ties and wed­dings. It is dec­o­rated with a W-shaped patch of leather stitched on the top of the toe with fine brogu­ing through­out. Crafted in pre­mium patent leather, this style can be car­ried off eas­ily for a wed­ding look when teamed with blaz­ers or jack­ets and chi­nos. It is also an ideal op­tion for those head­ing for a party or a cock­tail night; this style brings out a dy­namic styling essence when teamed with shirts or blaz­ers. Lace-ups in patent leather: Lace-ups are the most ba­sic and time­less sta­ples. A pair of black for­mal lace-ups in patent leather is a must-have for ev­ery man go­ing for a for­mal or so­cial event. The lim­ited stitch­ing gives a sleek and so­phis­ti­cated look to the over­all out­fit. It is one of the safest op­tions to opt for a wed­ding re­cep­tion or a cock­tail party with the right dress­ing. Team­ing it with a jacket in muted shades and trouser with a colour­blocked shirt will add a con­trast­ing ef­fect to the whole out­fit mak­ing it per­fect for a wed­ding party. When paired with the right socks, patent leather shoes can be eas­ily worn along with a bright colour jacket and chi­nos for a cock­tail party.

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