With rapid urbanisation, media exposure, and our new belief in ‘Look Good, Feel Good’, the popularity of fashion accessories is now gaining unprecedented momentum. Overall, the Indian consumers has begun to set apart a special allocation for buying fashion accessories. This is a natural progression of fashion consumption sparked by amelioration of aspiration and lifestyle of the Indian consumer.
In the last few years, the Indian retail scenario has gained unprecedented momentum owing to fantastic demographics, globalisation and liberalisation. As per the IMAGES Retail Report, the Indian retail market is expected to grow to about US $950 billion from its current size of US $600 billion by 2017-18.
Within lifestyle retail, the apparel retail category, which is the most modernized of all retail sectors, is expected to grow from US $50 billion in 2014 to US $87 billion by 2017-18. The youngest of the lifestyle categories is the fashion accessories segment which has surfaced strongly in modern retail only in the last decade. This segment is expected to grow from its present size of US $2.4 billion to US $3.9 billion in the same period.
However, we reiterate that contrasted to fashion retail, the fashion retail category is still dominated by the unorganised sector, with modern retail holding only 12 percent of it currently. This shows the immense potential this category holds for modern retail.
Key Market Segments
Bags, belts, and wallets, comprise 60 per cent of the overall sales of the accessory industry in India. These categories are largely leather led in modern retail, especially at the higher end. There is also a tremendous movement in the textile based fashion accessory segment, that is, mufflers, wraps, drapes, shawls, dupattas, shawls, hats, caps, gloves, mittens, muffs, handkerchiefs, socks, ties, bows, etc.
This segment is already worth more than 27 per cent of the fashion accessory market. Further, metallic and nonmetallic ornaments are also rising and have become 13 per cent of the overall fashion accessories segment.
All year selling products are primarily the leather merchandise, including bags, belts, wallets, purses, handbags, key chains, and other accessories apart from the usual mix of hankies, socks, scarves and ties.
The other key components of the market are fashion accessories like hair accessories, ornaments, tie-pins and cufflinks. They specially get a push during the holiday seasons nationally and the autumn-winter season especially in north India. Tie-pins and cufflinks are, at present, witnessing a waning market share due to strong casualisation in male fashion segment.
Incepted in 2010, Lavie is a high-street women’s fashion brand renowned for its snazzy bags and shoes. Its parent Bagzone Lifestyle is a part of Mumbai-based Periwinkle Fashions which also hosts many other companies under its umbrella. With handbags as its core product category, the brand also offers an extensive range of fashion accessories and caters to today’s young Indian woman who values her individuality and uses fashion to express herself. “A Lavie woman is impulsive and spontaneous. She doesn’t like to settle; instead goes after what she wants and loves experimenting. Our target audience is fashion-conscious women in the age group of 18 to 30 years,” elucidates Chief Operating Officer, Bagzone Lifestyle Pvt. Ltd, Sandeep Goenka.
In just six years since inception, Lavie has catapulted itself to a big success. The brand has adopted a multi-channel retail strategy. It has 20 exclusive ‘Lavie’ stores located in high streets and malls in major Indian cities. In tier-II cities, it is available in Bagzone stores, large format stores like Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle, Central, etc, besides other leading handbag retail chains. It also sells on e-commerce portals like Amazon, Myntra, Flipkart, Jabong, etc., along with its own online store, www.lavieworld.com.
Whilst handbags remain Lavie’s core product, it also has expanded into other accessories categories. Its diverse collection of handbags cater every style need of a woman, ranging from satchels, totes, shoulder bags, hobos to box bags, slings, clutches and wallets, leather bags and laptop bags. The brand entered the footwear category in 2013. Its footwear collection comprises slip-ons, ballerinas, peep toes, kitten heels, etc, and is made of art leather and has chic designs in attractive colours for every occasion. Of late, the brand has introduced a range of backpacks, flip-flops and belts. Goenka apprises, “We plan to add various more categories to our product portfolio, as we aim to become a lifestyle brand.”
India’s handbag market has become ever more dynamic. With rise in disposable incomes and living standards, women nowadays don’t shy away from spending on premium handbags. “Bags are perceived not just a utility item but a style statement. The handbag range has itself diversified into various styles,” Goenka notes. He underlines that handbags and footwear have become wardrobe essentials and simple ensembles can be enhanced with the right accessories. Dynamic trends have lead customers to imbibe those styles and are no more restricted to only apparel. “The scope for the product segment is huge,” he says, adding, “The online portals are a further source and drivers of growth and revenue. However, the biggest challenge is the unorganised market; customers follow the brand but purchase from the local market.”
The brand makes continuous efforts to understand and evolve with the changing consumer tastes. It focuses on delivering up to 100 styles per season. Nonetheless, Goenka feels that just understanding the consumer mindset is not enough. “At Lavie, we try to go a step ahead and offer cutting-edge products to our consumers. This is how we differentiate ourselves and establish a distinct brand identity,” he tells. Importantly, Lavie’s products imbibe great utility, comfort and style. Working on the fast-fashion concept, the brand introduces new products every two weeks. Adding to it, it strives to adapt to the changing shopping needs and surprises its customers with customised promotional benefits.
Designed To Detail
Lavie’s in-house design team constantly studies international trends. It draws inspiration from runways across New York, Milan, Paris, India and Hong Kong and also leverages the world-renowned trend forecasting tool WGSN for insights into trending colours, silhouettes, textures and print. As such, the designs are globally-inspired yet suited to Indian tastes. For instance, each bag is created keeping the global trends and quality deliverance in mind. Indian women look for spacious bags which are trendy as well. The brand tries to make sure that these needs are met through its design efforts.
Goenka affrims, “As a brand, Lavie takes its products very seriously, focusing on the smallest of details such as buckle detailing, lining, logo, inside lining, etc. to ensure each style has something unique to offer. We exercise stringent hygiene and quality control standards at every step of the manufacturing process. The products are also individually hand-checked by various artisans.”
The brand’s 2016 Autumn/ Winter collection is currently in stores and also available on e-commerce websites. All products are well thought in terms of texture, embellishment and space. The handbag collection has been designed with keen detailing; infused with strong elements from these themes: Global Commune, Off-Beat and Bronze Age. Global Commune captures a bohemian spirit with artisanal techniques, hippie inspiration, and a 1960s free-spirited craftsmanship. Off-Beat is all about disruptive patterns and geometric lines with a sporty appeal. Bronze Age collection is made of magnificent metallics.
In keeping with the festive and wedding season, Lavie has added a wide range of metallic handbags and footwear to its range. Brand’s mid-range handbags, priced at Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,000, find a huge favour among the consumers. Says Goenka, “We understand that the Indian consumers seek quality in every purchase, and prefer buying from a brand as they believe they will get value and excellent service. They are ready to shell out more on branded handbags for their superior quality.”
The brand has adopted a 360 degree approach to marketing and makes the most of channels like print, electronic, digital, mall activations and others. In today’s digital era, social media has emerged as a very powerful marketing tool and Lavie has been effectively using these channels for promotions. Its digital marketing strategy includes partnering with top influencers and bloggers to reach out to the potential fashion-savvy customers. “We are present across varied social media platforms viz., Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. The current trend is reaching out to the audience through influencers and on social media channels. We work with a large number of influencers and bloggers with huge following,” Goenka lets in.
Lavie is powered by celebrities as well. The brand pioneered celebrity endorsements with a high impact media campaign “Fickle is Fun” with Bollywood star Kareena Kapoor Khan in 2014 – it was a big hit. The brand has recently released its latest ad campaign based on same theme, featuring another Bollywood sensation, Kangana Ranaut, as its new brand face. The concept has been moulded into a 360-degree campaign, including a TVC.
“Lavie is now eyeing an aggressive expansion. We are looking to add 100 new points of sale (POS) in the next two years, followed by another 300 POS within five years from now,” shares Goenka. The brand aspires to become a leader in the women’s premium fashion accessories category. In the coming times, it also plans to introduce new categories like eyewear, jewellery, etc., making it a one-stop destination for fashion accessories for women.
> Country of origin: India
> Number of employees: 1,000 (as on October 7, 2016)
> Total number of doors present in: 266 (as on October 7, 2016)
> Number of EBOs: 20
> Number of SISs: 160
> Number of MBOs: 86
> Number of states present in: 29
> Number of cities present in: 147
> Annual turnover: Rs 125 crore
> Total retail space: 8,363 sq.ft. (for EBOs only)
> Average sales per sq.ft. per day: Rs 3.90 lakhs per day (EBOs only)
> Average bill/ ticket size: Rs 2,000 (for EBOs only)
A quintessential Parisan brand, Lipault is a globally-known women-oriented luggage brand that was brought in India by the Samsonite Group. It was originally founded by François and Karine Lipovetsky, who were leather wear merchants in Rue de Vaurigard with a keen eye for fashion. Backed by their vast experience and knowledge, they came up with their own luggage brand ‘Lipault’ in 2005. With its first store opened in Paris, in Strasbourg, in Galeries Lafayette, Printemps, the brand swiftly expanded to over 100 stores all across France. Lipault’s success travelled fast and far, and the brand hit a major milestone when Samsonite Group acquired it in April 2014. The brand’s journey in India began in December 2015, and it is positioned as an accessible luxury international brand.
The brand‘s USP lies in its trademark “0 per cent” foldable designs, which means no excess baggage and easy storage. With its range of sturdy wheeled travel and business cases and super-stylish everyday bags, Lipault makes savvy travel effortless. The brand’s focus is on great designs as well. Its bags are lined with a protective fabric and feature thoughtfully executed straps, pockets and zipped pouches to keep things organised and safe. All these qualities are a big draw for women, the brand’s core target group.
States Executive Director – Marketing, Samsonite South Asia Pvt. Ltd, Anushree Tainwala, “Everyone is first drawn to Lipault’s great sense of style – vibrant and on-trend colours in simple and sophisticated shapes. Then they fall in love with smart designs that are unbelievably lightweight, efficient and durable. This combination of function and fashion makes Lipault unique in the world of travel.”
Offering a diverse collection of travel bags, Lipualt’s assorted range includes shoulder bags, totes, satchels, duffels, backpacks, business bags, collapsible wheeled luggage and carry-on baggage. The brand primarily caters to stylish and ambitious working professional women, who are mindful about their style sense, even while travelling. The Lipault lady changes bags and cases like dresses and coats to suit her day to day taste. Joyful and daring, she mixes and matches colours and models to coordinate with her outfit. The target age group is 25-45 years.
The Design Sense
Lipault is admired for its superior quality and tasteful products. Parisian touch adds character to brand as well as to its products. Natural styling combined with elegant manufacturing, a range of fresh colours and modern materials, top-quality vinyl and nylon, comfortably lightweight and easy to handle are key to its design and style. The brand successfully uses colour as a source of inspiration and fashion as a vast field of expression. This is what makes Lipault one of the most desired bag and luggage brands, quips Tainwala. “Lipault knows that an elegant suitcase is no longer just somewhere to put your clothes. It becomes a fashion accessory as much as a pair of shoes is. Subtly luxurious, its tone-on-tone sophistication perfectly matches its controlled bling,” she underlines.
Innovation is Key
Lipault is a fashion brand. With its design and development HQ in Paris, one of top fashion capitals of the world, the brand is constantly updating itself with global fashion trends. Moreover, it also ties up with artists, developing stylish prints for each of its seasonal collections. The brand’s strength lies in innovation, and it strives to bring in the products that enhance the comfort of the travellers. For instance, its travel bags are spacious with 50 cm capacity that satisfies cost-efficiency considerations, and their large soft handles are as pleasant to look at as to hold. Not to mention, the travel bag with a large convenient opening and the fully foldable model that slides easily under a bed.
The brand engages the ever changing needs of the consumer with the introduction of two seasonal collections, which not only bring in colours in vogue, but also different styles like bucket bags, satchels and moon bags. For its 2016 Autumn/ Winter collection, the brand has drawn inspiration from exotic escapes and created a range of Aztec-themed colours. Deep amaranth red, luminous saffron yellow and a stylish steel blue comprise the brand’s new palette for the winter season.
Tainwala avers, “This season, we will be the fore-runners in introducing the “bimaterial” range of women’s travel bags, setting a trend within the country.” Moreover, Lipault is also looking to make the most of the ongoing wedding season in India. Says Tainwala, “New age Indian brides constantly seek a part of their personality in the products they wish to own, and Lipault instantly connects with the sophisticated yet fun loving young ladies of India! We capitalise on the need of customers to not only own lightweight luggage but also fashionable travel bags making honeymoon fuss-free and chic.”
The brand spread in the Indian market has been instrumental with its launch within the retail space as well as in department stores. The existing Samsonite stores – Samsonite Black Label and Classic stores – have been a strong distribution channel for Lipault. Apart from its presence in 37 Samsonite showrooms across the country, Lipault also has opened four exclusive brand stores in the top metro cities of India.
With growing number of independent women and rising disposable income, the demand for travel products in India is on rise. However, in contrast to other countries, Lipault caters to a niche market in India, though it only enhances its aspiration value and exclusivity. Taking cue from the positive market response, the brand is now looking to scale up. Shares Tainwala, “We aim to open another 10 exclusive showrooms and be present in 20 departmental stores pan India. Tapping into the ever growing e-commerce business, Lipault will also be present in the top most e-commerce market players by the end of this year!”