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Celebrity brands that failed to deliver a blockbuster performance

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While the association with a celebrity can bring initial buzz and attention to a brand, sustaining and growing in the retail space demands much more

Mumbai: Kylie Jenner, rapper Kanye West, singer Rihanna, and basketball legend Michael Jordan among others have capitalized big time on their brand values to start their own celebrity brands and some of them are worth a billion dollars or more. However, celebrity brands have had a rather poor run in India. Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar’s shot at eatery businesses ended in failure and both Sachin’s and Tendulkar’s branded restaurant folded. So did his once-opening partner Virender Sehwag’s restaurant venture.

Similarly, various Bollywood stars also tried their hands at celebrity brands. Barring a few, most of the celebrity brands by Indian actors have failed to make any dent and most of them fizzled out unceremoniously.

Many of these ventures are even inactive on their social media accounts, which, otherwise, are considered an excellent platform for promoting their brands.

Experts say while the association with a celebrity can bring the initial buzz and attention to a brand, sustaining and growing in the competitive retailing space demands much more than the initial push.

“Celebrities are definitely ones who have not been away from the startup wave too. Many of them have taken to creating their own start-ups like Deepika began All About You, Shahid Kapoor began Skult while Anushka Sharma established Nush. While these started out with loads of enthusiasm, what’s really happened is that these celebs don’t have the time to put dedicatedly to make this work,” said marketing consultant, Dr Kushal Sanghvi.

IndiaRetailing has collated some examples of Indian celebrity ventures that have either failed to take off or are reportedly struggling to sustain themselves in the market.

All About You by Deepika Padukone

Deepika Padukone, the Bollywood actress who has given some super duper hits including Pathaan, Bajirao Mastani and Padmavat. In 2015, Padukone launched her label All About You in collaboration with Myntra. Despite initial enthusiasm, the brand faced tough competition and struggled to differentiate itself in the highly saturated women’s fashion market. According to media reports, the actor sold her brand to Myntra in 2020 and later unfollowed the brand’s account on social media. Its products are currently available on Myntra.

Rheson by Sonam Kapoor and Rhea Kapoor

The fashion brand Rheson was launched by Neerja actress Sonam Kapoor and her sister Rhea Kapoor in 2017. The brand aimed to offer affordable, trendy fashion wear. However, despite initial popularity, the brand faced challenges in establishing a strong market presence and failed to generate profits.

Nush by Anushka Sharma

Sultan actress Anushka Sharma launched her clothing brand Nush in 2017 in partnership with Suditi Industries Ltd, focusing on chic and affordable fashion collections for women. The brand primarily operated as an online retail venture. Nush’s clothing line was later made available in Shoppers Stop stores, on Myntra, and in various shop-in-shop outlets across India. While the brand gained attention initially, it faced stiff competition from established fashion labels and failed to gain a significant market share. The brand’s products are currently available on various e-commerce platforms such as Ajio, Amazon, etc.

Stating one of the possible reasons behind the downfall of such brands, Dr Sanghvi asserted, “Just a few hours is not enough, sometimes it’s the choice of the professionals they hired to run their startups that were not good.”

Skult by Shahid Kapoor

In 2016, Vaah! Life Ho To Aisi actor Shahid Kapoor launched Skult, a fashion label providing athleisure and casual wear for men. It operated as a mix of both offline and online channels. Despite the actor’s massive fan following, Skult faced stiff competition from established sportswear brands. The brand struggled to gain significant market share, reportedly leading to a dip in revenue. Its products are available on Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, etc.

YouWeCan by Yuvraj Singh

Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh introduced YWC (YouWeCan) in 2016, a lifestyle and activewear brand. The brand aimed to inspire cancer survivors and promote health awareness. Despite Yuvraj’s inspirational story, YWC faced difficulties in establishing a strong consumer base. The brand struggled to sustain itself in the highly competitive athleisure market, leading to financial losses. It operated as both an online and offline brand. in collaboration with designers Shantanu and Nikhil and apparel maker Suditi Industries.

“What we need to realise is that it takes a lot to hold a business and create one and just strategic thinking and retail operations is not the celebs skill set, which is why these startups don’t land up seeing much success. It’s a full-fledged business and not only a way to start with putting in money,” Dr Sanghvi concluded.

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