Founded in France in 2005 by François Lipovetsky, Lipault’s products are designed to meet the needs of today’s savvy travelers, featuring ultra-lightweight, smart designs, chic and vibrant colours, and constructed using luxurious but durable nylon twill fabric. The brand’s product range includes business and laptop bags, handbags and totes, and softside and hardside suitcases. Luggage manufacturer and retailer Samsonite acquired the brand in a deal worth €20mn. Executive Director Marketing, Samsonite South Asia Pvt Ltd, Anushree Tainwala, discusses Lipault’s retail strategy, its positioning and the product lines it has been offering, to mention a few…
What motivated Lipault to enter the Indian market?
Indian women have evolved, and in the recent times they have demanded what is at the cutting edge of fashion. They have gradually come to the stage where it is not just about their families and children but also themselves. The Indian woman has also started travelling independently or with friends for both work and leisure. Herein lies the opportunity. Lipault is all about women and their travel needs – travel totes, business bags, handbags, luggage and accessories designed in its signature Parisian style keeping in mind a woman’s needs. This is a huge market and has mainly remained untapped.
How unique are Lipault’s products from others operating in the same segment? Also, share how unique are its products in term of deigns and quality.
There is no travel brand that only targets women in the market today. Lipault’s light-as-feather designs and vibrant, eye-catching colors have made it a favourite brand amongst women across the world. Originated in Paris, Lipault’s detailed designing and super- stylish semblance make an appealing impression amongst the ladies. Lipault breaks away from boring, vanilla travel products to offer a range of alluring hues such as bright blues, pastel pinks, chocolate mauves, royal purple, sunrise orange, to name a few. The bags are made using its signature nylon that makes each piece user friendly and extremely luxurious. Besides its charming good looks, Lipault bags evoke a sense of invisible smartness with its ultra-lightness, making it a woman’s perfect travel companion.
Share with us the product line you have been offering to the Indian market? What products have been doing well so far here?
The Indian market is promising and we pride in retailing products that are at par with global standards. The same merchandise sits across stores in New York, London, Hong Kong, Sydney and India. To reinstate, the entire global assortment of Lipault is available in India. We have seen a lot of traction in everyday use bags, purses, totes and also our collapsible luggage. We were pleasantly surprised to see that consumers prefer to buy the brighter oranges, purples and reds over the traditional navy and brown.
Discuss the retail strategy you have adopted here? What’s your sales target (in term of percentage) for the next three years?
We have managed to add 15 retail doors across India – this is a mix of exclusive doors and shopin-shop counters. By the end of 2016 we are targeting an ambitious count of 50 retail doors. By 2017 we are expecting to cross the 35 crore mark in topline.
How seriously do you take the online retail format, and how strong your reliance will be on this channel?
In the current market place, one cannot ignore the e-commerce space. While traditional retail will be an intrinsic part of our growth strategy, we will also start to retail online in 2016 through our own website and through a few top third party websites. This will to be an important channel for the brand. The Lipault woman lives and works everywhere, not just the larger cities. Online gives us a chance to reach our consumers in places where our offline stores cannot.
Space scarcity has been a challenge hindering brands from furthering their expansion in the metros of India. How serious a challenge is this for you and how are you handling it?
Retail space is definitely scarce in high traffic premium malls and high street locations. But a unique brand that is truly offering something different to the Indian customers will find support from malls. We have targeted a pan India expansion looking at not just the big metros, but also satellite cities and smaller towns, wherever we get the best retail spaces. We are also looking at creating corners in some Samsonite doors and premium department stores across the country.
Share with us some of the challenges you often encounter in India.
India is still a place where women are not spending enough on themselves when it comes to travel. The share of wallet remains occupied by men or other family members. The effort is to offer products that would connect with women and inspire them to get a share for themselves. Lipault bags are outrageously feminine and we are trying to woo the Indian women to buy a travel companion just for themselves, that reflects her personality and flair.