VOI Jeans: Craft­ing a niche

VM&RD - - RETAIL TALK -

VOI Jeans, United King­dom based jeans wear re­tailer known for its en­gi­neered craft­ing, has re­cently launched its first store in Ban­ga­lore with plans to in­tro­duce its flag­ship store in Hy­der­abad. Am­par Pramod, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor, VOI Jeans Re­tails In­dia Pvt Ltd, shares with VM&RD, the brand’s strat­egy be­hind tar­get­ing the South first, and also talks about the brand’s ap­proach to re­tail.

What is the brand and busi­ness ob­jec­tive for this new store de­sign con­cept?

We did a lot of re­search to get the look and feel of what a jeans wear brand should be and as the con­cept of VOI says en­gi­neered for you, it re­flects a lot of in­dus­trial con­structed look. So, in or­der to cre­ate a good am­bi­ence for peo­ple who walk in we started form­ing en­tire ar­eas where we main­tained a lot of in­di­vid­ual el­e­ments, which also re­flects our core phi­los­o­phy. You can see a lot of wood and metal in­stal­la­tions in our store re­flect­ing a blend of in­dus­trial el­e­ment and mod­ern styling.

What was the cre­ative in­ter­pre­ta­tion be­hind the store de­sign?

Our team be­lieves in the mod­ern de­sign as­pect and we fol­low peo­ple like LeCor­bus­ier and Marc New­son. Th­ese are our bench­marks; we drive our in­spi­ra­tions from them. All of them had a sin­gle com­mon el­e­ment that cre­ated sim­plis­tic de­sign and style, but with a pow­er­ful im­pact. So, tak­ing mo­ti­va­tion from them we tried to cre­ate a sig­na­ture style of our own in which I think we have achieved quite a lot in the store. The store re­flects sim­plic­ity which also makes a very pow­er­ful state­ment.

How does the brand con­nect and be in sync with its tar­get au­di­ence?

There are a lot of mar­ket­ing ac­tiv­i­ties we do to reach our tar­get au­di­ence, but we be­lieve that mar­ket­ing doesn’t have to nec­es­sar­ily in­volve a TVC or some­thing on which we have to spend a huge amount of money. Our mar­ket­ing plan is based on a few things; we have a tar­get age group that we cater to. If for ex­am­ple, this group falls un­der the 18 to 30 years cat­e­gory, we start brain­storm­ing ac­cord­ingly and look at dif­fer­ent as­pects like where they hang out, what kind of clothes they pre­fer, the kind of mu­sic they lis­ten to etc. So, this way we ac­tu­ally started clas­si­fy­ing our mu­sic which fur­ther helped us in do­ing ac­ti­va­tions like VOI Nights. We have also spon­sored ral­lies in Abu Dhabi, and we go to col­lege fests, use the so­cial me­dia, host con­tests on Face­book and ad­di­tion­ally, we also do a lot of ac­ti­va­tions in the malls. If you ask me, yes there is a lot of dif­fer­ence in terms of the store be­cause stores in UK were done a few years back and as the re­tail sce­nario is very dy­namic and keeps evolv­ing, the for­mat is not some­thing which can be repli­cated here. We just wanted an eye catchy for­mat which drives peo­ple in. So, now our In­dia for­mat is get­ting rolled back into UK and Am­s­ter­dam for the up­com­ing stores. We have just started work­ing on this store for­mat in Am­s­ter­dam. It’s a fran­chise store of VOI and we are very ex­cited about tak­ing this for­mat to a global stage.

How do you bud­get for the var­i­ous as­pects of the store de­sign and how do they re­late sales and con­ver­sion to the store de­sign?

To­day, if we start re­lat­ing a store cost to the con­ver­sion, it is very dif­fi­cult be­cause to­day most of the re­tail com­pa­nies in In­dia have a fixed bud­get within which we need to ex­e­cute the store. But def­i­nitely one as­pect that helps us a lot is the square feet that we choose. We spend a good amount of money on the store, but if we re­duce the amount of space which we are do­ing, it helps quite a lot for sure be­cause we turn around the PDS much more in a smaller store when com­pared to a big­ger store.

What do you think are the ad­van­tages and chal­lenges in the In­dian re­tail sce­nario?

There are more of dis­ad­van­tages than ad­van­tages in the In­dian mar­ket es­pe­cially if a Euro­pean brand is en­ter­ing the mar­ket. Euro­peans work with a very set for­mula of whole­sale, they don’t have stock cor­rec­tion, they don’t have to take any goods back but when we go to the whole­sale mar­kets over here, there are a lot of draw­backs. First, you have to keep your stock and then have to man­age your stock and fi­nally have to pay them hefty mar­gins. So, it’s an out­right pur­chase here, but then there is noth­ing called an out­right pur­chase, ev­ery­thing is on sale and re­turn. Of course, there are also ad­van­tages. The scope for point of sale is grow­ing and

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