This year, the Indian kidswear market received its first premium multi-brand store with the launch of Kids Around at Ambience Mall, in Delhi’s Vasant Kunj area.
A France-based kids store with outlets in 21 countries including India, Paris and Malaysia, Kids Around is a luxury kidswear brand. Its stores house designer collections – both clothes and accessories – for children by Billieblush, Billybandit, BOSS, Downright Beautiful, DKNY, Karl Lagerfeld Kids, Little Marc Jacobs and Timberland to name just a few.
The store caters to the fashion needs of tots between the age group of 0 to 16 years and specializes in skin-friendly, 100 per cent cotton clothing.
In an exclusive telephonic conversation with Indiaretailing Bureau, International Operational Head Kids Around Worldwide, Fabien Thevenot, talks about the brand’s unique selling point and its India plans…
How do you perceive India as a kidswear market?
Volume-wise India is a huge market obviously because of the population, the number of kids and the fertility rate. We specialize in everything high-end for kids – international brands, designer clothes – something which is almost non-existent in India currently. We believe that there is a huge opportunity because Indian consumers are more and more brand conscious.
Why did you choose Delhi as a platform to introduce the brand in India?
As a foreigner when you want to enter India, the best places to do so are either Delhi or Mumbai. We feel there are more opportunities in terms of malls in Delhi. We had a chance to walk in a mall which we believe is really in line with our standards and that is why we went for it. We are planning one more store in Delhi and then one in Mumbai. We will target other cities after that.
Currently, we are focused on malls because we are getting quite a lot of traffic but probably in the future, we may want to explore high streets.
Throw some light on the category mix? Which is the fastest moving category?
We have very good sales in the boy’s category, especially with the brand Boss. We also have a very strong success rate in the girl’s category, but here people go in for a variety of brands. The success is really due to the strength of our balanced concept.
Which new kids wear brand can we expect to foray in India through Kids Around?
We are introducing DKNY for Kids soon.
Can we expect any Indian kidswear brand to be featured at Kids Around?
Not for the moment. At the moment we are concentrating on French, Italian and American brands.
Is your pricing strategy different in India as compared to other Kids Around outlets globally?
We try not to maintain a too high difference between Indian and European retail prices, but it is quite difficult because of the import duties and flight costs. We are discussing and addressing these issues. In fact, we have very big constraints because of this, but we try to keep the difference as low as we possibly can.
Are all stores on rental or revenue sharing basis?
Our outlets presently are a mix of rental and revenue sharing basis and that will probably continue in the future.
What is your location strategy?
We usually look for a proper environment before setting up a store. We want to be someplace which is already replete with high-end brands since that tends to drive up our footfalls.
What are your sales target for the current fiscal for India?
That is quite confidential. India is a very competitive market so can’t disclose this as of now.
How is your marketing strategy in India is different from your global marketing strategy?
The strategies are very comparable because, in the end, we are addressing the wealthy section of the population, then be it in India or Europe or anywhere else in the world. Our TG is people who have enough money and also people who love fashion. We target parents who want their children to be dressed fashionably and who are brand conscious and ready to invest in clothes.
The ways in which we do that – good location (malls usually), and social media targeting. In some countries, celebrity kids feature our clothes by wearing them. That works really well for us.
How is the business plan for India vis-a-vis rest of the world?
The difference is that I would say, first India is a huge country and one has to really pay attention to where your market is. We can’t just up and sell in any country in India. We need to target the right cities, the right malls, the right occasions and then price our clothes just right – factoring in the high import duties and logistics cost. We are working with our partners to minimise costs and make the brand as successful as possible to be able to target the biggest share of the population.
What are your future plans?
We will four stores in the next three years which is ambitious and realistic. I think it is good to be careful because the location is so key that sometimes it is better to wait before you find the right location.
In India, for us, there is a learning curve and in future, we believe we can offer many more stores because for different reasons, such as we will be experiencing newer challenges here, the growing Indian economy and everything is moving forward here. So, I am sure the potential is great in India.