The complex kidswear segment in India has been witnessing a boom as parents and children becoming more conscious about kids fashion and trends.
The market – which was worth Rs 59,520 crore in 2015 – accounted for 20 per cent of the total apparel market of the country. It is expected that kidswear will significantly surpass the growth of menswear and womenswear by growing at a CAGR of 10.8 per cent to reach Rs 1,65,120 crore in 2025. This is one of the major reasons why the segment has attracted retailers’ attention in recent times.
Manu Indrayan, the first-generation entrepreneur, conceived and created 612 League – an ‘Imagined in India, International in Outlook’ brand focussing on pre-teen (tween) children. He realized a gap in Indian kids and tween apparel segment while on a family trip to the US and the entrepreneur in him decided to grab the opportunity.
Together with his wife Mohita, an accomplished apparel merchandising and marketing professional, he founded 612 League, a brand that caters specifically to children in the age group of six months to twelve years with unique and differentiated wardrobe solutions.
Indrayan looks after the overall strategic and operational parts of the business.
Talking about what he enjoys the most of working in the retail sector, Indrayan says, “The retail industry offers an opportunity to be the closest to the end consumer. It is exciting to be able see the end consumer actually use the products. It also offers a huge opportunity to understand and mould consumer perception through effective marketing and communication strategies.”
On the challenges that he has faced, so far, he states: “Any new venture comes with a set of challenges. Other than the challenges of creating a complete set up with the backend (manufacturing) and front end (retailing), the highly fragmented nature of the Indian retail industry presents a big challenge to reach out to the end consumer in a commercially viable manner. However, by tying up with large format retail stores and creating Exclusive Branded Outlets we have managed to take the brand to all parts of the country.”
“The kidswear industry in India was not very well categorized a decade ago. The industry even today is majorly dominated by either by school uniforms or occasion (wedding and/or party wear) wear. Also, children are still not considered as individual buyers/customers. Not to forget, the market largely is not brand driven,” he adds.
Talking about shopping patterns, Indrayan says that parents in India are used to purchasing a size larger for their kids to extract the maximum worth out of their purchase as possible as children tend to outgrow their size very quickly.
“Breaking these patterns for any kidswear manufacturer or retailer is a huge task. Changing the mindset of people is the main challenge as parents still are the decision maker for kids shopping. However, in the recent years we have seen a positive growth in the industry. People are now more brand and fashion conscious and kids love to participate in the shopping experience alongwith their parents,” he says.
A firm believer in the fact that technology today has a vital role to play in the retail industry, Indrayan says, “Being a kidswear brand we look for marketing strategies that are both innovative and interactive for kids making the best use of technology. Adapting to the evolving shopping patterns in India, where even kids are more fashionably aware than one would imagine, we try to connect with the sensibilities of little fashionistas as much as we try to appeal to their parents. So, to cater to our customers who love to be trendy, we look for marketing opportunities that can involve both parents and kids to make their shopping experience fun and wholesome.”
“We had recently launched ‘Wonder Store’ concept through our EBOs in India. First time ever in India and launched by 612 League, ‘Wonder Store is a Virtual Reality shopping platform based on the Augmented Reality Technology that provides a fun filled retailing experience to the customers,” Indrayan reveals.
612 Wonder Store is a gesture controlled, kid friendly kiosk which enables trials of over 300+ products with just a flip of a hand and the option for placing an order. The platform is designed to engage both parents and kids and is intended to give them an option of directly communicating with the brand.
“Our little consumers can mix and match different top and bottom wear to see the best combination for them without actually having to try them,” he concludes.