Pondicherry Paris Collection
Started out in California with about 6 stores selling its bags on Castro Street in the late 70s, Hidesign now is an established brand in over 24 countries across Europe, America, Australia and Asia. Its collections are distinct, and the brand ensures that vital values are manifested in the every collection. It has recently tied up with José Lévy for Pondicherry Paris Collection. José is an accomplished artist, a designer who has led luxury brands in Paris and London as creative director. The collection reflects the refinement and sensibilities of the modern man and woman who is influenced by art and fashion, and by cultures beyond national boundaries
José and Hidesign are rooted in travel. The Pondicherry Paris Collection is all about travel, about making travel easy, comfortable, and above all chic and cool. It has the range of chic products that make travel a pleasure: the softest shawl to wrap yourself in when you feel the chill; the big sunglasses that protect you from the desert sun; the range of pouches to organise your travel needs; the incredibly simple yet elegant Valise that jumps straight out of the Orient Express to 21st century coolness.
The collection also speaks to the traveler, the nomad in us. The simple, easy to carry shapes and modern styling should do well customers in India and internationally. The collection compliments Hidesign’s current lines and brings freshness to the product range.
S&A’S N Bobo Meitei recently interacted with the renowned designer and Hidesign’s founder Dilip Kapur to discuss the collection.
What motivated you to collaborate with Hidesign, and what did you notice in the brand in your initial observation?
Jose Levy: I was very inspired by the connection between Pondicherry and Paris, by the art of both cities and the way it connects to my lifestyle of constant travel. Hidesign follows a philosophy of simple and clean designs which I really admire and I knew I could incorporate the essence of India in the collection with Hidesign.
What motivated you to launch the collaboration with Jose Levy?
Dilip Kapur: Jose was introduced to me by a very dear friend. We automatically connected. He has tremendous experience working with luxury brands and he brought a wave of freshness to Hidesign.
How would you describe the uniqueness of the collection and how different is it in comparison with others?
Jose Levy: I wanted to create some products that were very easy to live with, luxurious and cool, very simple yet stylish. The Indian culture has also been a major influence for this collection.
Pondicherry Paris collection products are designed for an international traveller. It is a simple but stylish collection. It includes all the little and necessary things that a traveller might require to make his journey comfortable and chic.
Kindly share your view or understanding of the Indian handbag market.
Jose Levy: My experience has largely been with luxury brands and design teams in Europe and the Far East. This is my first attempt at working in India and I look forward to learning a lot more about India for my future collections.
Given that Hidesign has presence in Europe and the US, is the collection aiming those markets as well?
Dilip Kapur: Hidesign started out in California with about 6 stores selling our bags on Castro Street in the late 70s and is now an established brand in over 24 countries across Europe, America, Australia and Asia. This collection will be available worldwide through www. hidesign.com. It will also be retailed in Portugal, Bosnia, Sri Lanka, US, Indonesia etc.
What is your growth projection in a backdrop where homegrown brands have geared up their operation with huge advertising budget?
Dilip Kapur: Hidesign has strong presence and is available on five platforms, (EBO) Exclusive Brand Outlets, (MBO) Multi Brand Outlet with Shoppers Stop, Central, lifestyle then E-commerce partners like Amazon, Jabong, Tata Cliq, corporate sales partner and then our website- www.hidesign.com
The Indian market goes through a generation every five years! We have decided to treat every platform as equally important and to always speak the same language on every platform, tell the same stories, run the same campaigns, and in the products to always use the same quality of materials and craftsmanship.
We also plan to expand market in tier 2 and 3 through e-commerce, further inroads into airports, and internationally into emerging fast growing economies. We are present in about 24 countries and have just begun operations in Indonesia. The total turnover is hitting over 200 cr and the leather part around 150 cr. The Indian consumer will be around 75-80% of our customer base and we have 84 stores in India, we are getting another 16 which are in progress currently.
How is Hidesign positioned in the US market today? Is the brand’s consolidation taking place more in foreign markets?
Dilip Kapur: Hidesign is an upmarket brand selling mainly online and in exclusive independent stores. The range has more men’s products than it would in India, and the styling is a little different. For instance, our best-selling bags are canvas and leather combinations. In India the solid leather bags do better.
Give us an overview of the Indian handbag market. What is the brand’s market share?
Dilip Kapur: Over the past years Hidesign has strengthened its position in Indian market through company run stores, multi-brand stores and online channels. The brand has expanded its portfolio to Sunglasses, Shoes, Pens and Stationery. New collaborations with Disney, Kalki and design led collections such as Scandicci, Marcapunto, Maasai, Pondicherry Paris and Heritage collections such as Icons and East India are a few recent highlights.
We grew a little slower last year than expected both due to demonetization and GST. We grew about 15-16%. This year we hope to grow above 20%.