Woodland woos younger consumers
Excerpts from an interview with the managing director of woodland India, Harikirat Singh
You have introduced a new kids’ footwear and apparel range. Any particular reason?
Woodland was always an outdoor, adventure-related brand that appealed to consumers 17-25 years of age. However, lately, we’ve begun to realise that children of 12-15 are also getting attracted to our brand, perhaps because they are also involved in several outdoor activities. That inspired us to expand our brand offering and give this age group an experience of Woodland through interactive sessions with our brand ambassadors who are professional trekkers and into adventure sports. Our aim is to penetrate deeper into this category, focus on green branding and support mountain biking, trekking, mountaineering and other sports through our brand endorsements.
How big is this category in India?
The industry estimate is `22,000 crore. It’s growing not just due to increasing brand-consciousness in children, which is definitely a factor, but also because, unlike adults, kids outgrow their clothes faster and on a single day change their outfits more often, especially after rigorous outdoor activity.
Have you spotted a recent spurt in the demand for teen apparel and sportsgear?
Absolutely. Today’s kids are heavily into weekend camps, bungee jumping, water surfing, sky diving etc. We feel that this category is going to grow phenomenally over the coming years.
Are you also planning to use social media as a part of your promotional campaign?
We are already very active on social media, on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. When we talk to the youth, we try and make sure we use a medium they are active on.
When it comes to kids’ apparel, who makes the final purchase decision?
Undoubtedly the youth. They may seek advice from their parents, but they will eventually do their own thing. The most important factors for them are to look hip and cool to their peers.
You haven’t roped in any brand ambassador?
We use real heroes and heroines as our brand ambassadors. We invite them to share their experiences with the youth. Today’s kids are very smart. They don’t get taken in by cine stars and celebrities, but they do get moved and influenced by real substance. We take our brand, our adventure and outdoor image very seriously. We don’t sell our products with the help of pretty faces. We know who were are and where we want to go. We dilute our equity on pretty faces.
What kind of investment are you making into this sector?
Not too big, just about `50 crore initially, but, if we see results, we will scale up gradually.
What is the sales turnover expected?
Last year our total company sale in India was about RS 700 crore. This year, we are targeting Rs 1,000 crore. The new kids’ segment may contribute about Rs 50-100 crore, and we are looking at a compound annual growth rate (cagr) of 10-15 percent overall.
How is the kids’ sector different from menswear and womenswear?
It is different, and we have to tailor our marketing, accordingly. Print and tv don’t really work with children. Ground activation and event endorsement does. We have higher budgets earmarked for social media for this demographic. On tv, we have tied-up with MTV, Channel V and VH1. Music, we realise, is extremely important to children of all age-groups. Therefore, we will be cutting our own music album with a rock band soon.
Are you also planning exclusive kids’ outlets?
Not at this moment. Let’s first see how the category grows. Initially, we will earmark a section in our big format stores (5,000-10,000 sq ft) in Tier I cities only. Later, when the demand trickles down to smaller towns, we may decide to go there.
Is there a peak and off-season in this category?
Exam time is when sales dips, but it begins to pick up momentum during vacation time. May and June are mainly our peak seasons for sale, following by a few months of lean activity and then when the season changes, demand again begins to build up around October-November for the winter collection.