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VIP Industries focuses on its handbag brand Caprese for growth

Positioned as a mass premium brand, Caprese has become one of the top players in the ladies handbags market within five years of its launch. The brand is expected to contribute over Rs 100 crore in revenue to the company's total sales for FY18

VIP Industries, which holds a 52% market share in the luggage industry, wants its female handbag brand Caprese to be the growth driver for the company.

To multiply its consumer base, the company has expanded its focus from the male-dominated luggage category to tap the large female consumer base through the handbag brand.

Sudip Ghose

“Entering the handbag category was probably the way to engage women to be a part of our family. 2012 was the right time when a lot of branded players were coming in,” said Sudip Ghose, Senior VP, Sales, Marketing and Services, VIP Industries.

VIP industries, which is also present in the international market, has a total annual sales of more than Rs 1,300 crore. Brands from the company include VIP, Carlton, Skybags, Caprese, Alfa and Aristocrat.

Positioned as a mass premium brand, Caprese has been contributing towards the growth of the company and has become one of the top players in the ladies handbags market within five years of its launch.

With Bollywood star Alia Bhatt as its ambassador, the brand has been launching peppy advertising campaigns to get young women to buy its products in the price band of Rs 1500-Rs 4000.

Caprese is likely to clock more than Rs 100 crore in sales in the current fiscal as VIP industries has deployed its distribution might to push the brand, thus contributing around eight per cent to the total revenue of the company.

The brand has strong presence in the top eight metros. Ghose said, “Tier II towns like Chandigarh and Indore are slowly picking up. Bombay being more fashion conscious is a little ahead of Delhi. We are also strong in the South where we compete with local players."

The ladies handbag brand is available at more than 800 points of sale across the country, including select company-run stores, franchisee stores, multi-brand dealers and leading department store chains like Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle, Central and Pantaloons. It is also seeing a huge growth in the online market as the brand receives 10 per cent of orders from the e-commerce websites such as Myntra, Flipkart, Amazon, Jabong, ABOF and TataCliq.

The estimated size of the handbag market in India is pegged at Rs 7,000 crore, out of which the branded ones contribute about 8-10 per cent, i.e. Rs 700 crore.

Ghose said, “The branded market is very small and among the branded market, we are the No. 1. We are a European fashion brand and follow the European trend. The products that you see are not very jazzy. There are many jazzy and synthetic products available with the competition. We are very subtle in terms of colour and design. Our advertising also differentiates us from the others. Therefore, we have been able to get the market share.”

Caprese is a relatively new player in its space in comparison to Hidesign, Baggit, Lavie and DaMilano. Caprese also competes with a plethora of brands that constitute the un-organised handbag segment in India.

When the brand entered the market, it positioned itself as a mid-luxury brand later positioned itself as ‘mass premium’ brand, which means affordable fashion, explained Ghose.

The brand’s target audience comprises 50 per cent housewives and the remaining working-class women. The core age group on which the brand is focusing ranges from 20-45 years of age.

Talking about the challenges associated with the category, Ghose said, “Women in India are not too brand conscious. We need to educate the Indian consumers about branded handbags and therefore the markets that are a little more fashion conscious have started shifting to branded handbags versus the markets that are less fashion conscious. Traditionally, the South market is less fashion conscious.”

Not many handbag brands actually take to the television sets to advertise. The company spends between Rs 15-20 crore in marketing, which also includes digital marketing. Recently, the brand launched its Autumn-Winter collection campaign. The campaign will witness a 360-degree marketing approach across all mediums of print, radio, television and social media.

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