With the vision to make high-end global brands accessible to the fashion conscious Indian consumers, Wadhawan Lifestyle Retail Private Limited (WLRPL) came into existence. In an interview, Abhinav Zutshi, Business Head - International Brands, Wadhawan Lifestyle Retail Private Limited shares the success story of the company.
Ramanjit Kaur (RK): Brief us the inception, growth and success of Wadhawan Lifestyle?
Abhinav Zutshi (AZ): Wadhawan Lifestyle Retail Private Limited (WLRPL), the lifestyle retail arm of the Wadhawan Group was established with a thought to provide lifestyle choices to the Indian consumer by introducing global high-end fashion in the premium to super premium category, luxury and mass premium brands.
The company has introduced bold street wear fashion brands like Ed Hardy and Christian Audigier through exclusive outlets across major metros to cater to a large fashion conscious audience who do not have access to these brands in India. The tie-up between WLRPL and Ed Hardy has turned out to be very successful, which has resulted in making Ed Hardy and Christian Audigier apparel, footwear and accessories the most famous brands in the fashion industry.
RK: In which year the company signed its first Master Franchise Agreement and with which company?
AZ: WLRPL entered into a Master Franchise Agreement with Ed Hardy in 2007; to introduce cult brands like Ed Hardy and Christian Audigier in India.
RK: What made the company to take the Master Franchise of Ed Hardy?
AZ: Ed Hardy is a leading brand in the fashion industry, a favourite among the celebrities. This brand has gained great popularity due to its unconventional and unique designs. Most Indian and international film celebrities are frequently spotted donning this brand. With the vision to make high-end global brands accessible to the fashion conscious Indian consumers, WLRPL introduced the cult brands - Ed Hardy and Christian Audigier in India. Also the fact that tattoo art is making its presence felt in a big way in India and Ed hardy is the best way to sport tattoos.
RK: Master Franchisees usually sub franchise further. Then, why your company does not sub franchise the brand in India?
AZ: WLRPL is committed to provide world class shopping experience to the elite Indian consumers. The company exclusively operates the brand Ed Hardy in India to provide its customers a uniform brand experience across its stores. We believe that this is essential to maintain the brand identity. However, we are open to sub franchising subject to availability of good spaces and committed partners.
RK: Could you please share the nature of your Master Franchise Agreement?
AZ: WLRPL has an exclusive tie-up with Ed Hardy, as a Master Franchise to open and operate exclusive stores and shop-in-shops in India for the two brands - Ed Hardy & Christian Audigier.
RK: What are the various locations the company is targeting to expand its brand’s presence?
AZ: Ed Hardy currently has a total number of nine stores across India, out of which three are EBOs / stand alone stores and six are shop-in-shops. These stores are located across various cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Amritsar, Jalandhar, and Kolkata. Recently, the company (WLRPL) has opened its first outlet in the Ambience Mall, Gurgaon and also launched another trendy outlet in Vasant Kunj in south Delhi, which is the company’s second outlet in Delhi.
As far as expansion plan is concerned, we plan to open 12 stores (i.e. standalone stores and shop-in-shops) by next year. Out of these 12, five will be opened in Pune, Mumbai, Delhi, Chandigarh and Ludhiana in this financial year.
RK: What are the various brands the company deals with?
AZ: WLRPL currently has introduced Ed Hardy and Christian Audigier brands under its portfolio. We will actively continue to deliver the best brands and international fashion in the coming years. We are in the process of evaluating about six to seven global brands which have a strong connection with the Indian consumers and have differentiated products offerings. Very soon we will be launching some of these and hope to continue giving Indian consumers differentiated and high level service and experience.