Young successful womenpreneur Anjana Reddy, who founded cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar-backed celebrity fashion and memorabilia company Universal Sportsbiz Pvt Ltd (USPL), has aggressive expansion plans for her brands. In a conversation with us, Reddy shared why she is exploring franchise options and what are her plans ahead.
Tell us about brands you run under your company USPL.
USPL runs two fashion lines Wrogn, inspired by Virat Kohli, and Imara, inspired by Shraddha Kapoor, apart from Collectabillia, which is a celebrity-commerce company.
Launched in October 2014, Wrogn is one of the highest selling fashion brands on fashion portal Myntra and is also available in prominent Shoppers Stop locations. Imara, launched in February 2015, is meant for young woman of today and is presently retailed at select stores of Central, Ethnicity, Shoppers Stop and available online on Amazon, Flipkart, Jabong, Myntra and Snapdeal.
While through Collectabillia, which was incorporated in 2011, we offer opportunities to fans to own memorabilia personally autographed by their icons, and assist celebrities with extending their brand connects beyond endorsements.
What are your expansion plans? What business model do you follow for expansion of these bands?
USPL will deploy the funds raised through the just concluded Series-B funding to expand the distribution network for Wrogn and Imara across the country as also scaling up the branding efforts for the company’s offerings. It plans to enhance the network presence from 30 stores to over 75 stores for Imara and from 38 stores to 70 stores for Wrogn. Riding on the success of Imara, we also plan to introduce Imara Fusion. For Collectabillia, we look forward to extend its range of fashion accessories forging alliances with 10 leading iconic and celebrated personalities. Also, we are currently exploring franchising options for Wrogn.
A word on franchising industry?
The franchising industry in India is maturing and we expect it to grow exponentially in the next five to ten years. The investment and reforms process by the Modi Government will usher in rapid growth and provide a level playing field to the franchising industry. We envisage multiple opportunities in the fashion, celebrity and lifestyle space. As middle India prospers, we will see the franchises proliferate in tier-II and III metros. A phenomena that is similar to what happened to the USA in the late 1980’s. We are at the tip of the franchising iceberg.
More and more celebrities are turning entrepreneurs, what is your say on celebrity fashion line industry?
Celebrity fashion line is a multi-billion dollar industry globally. For e.g. Jessica Simpson’s eponymous label – owned by a licensee – has grown from a small accessories line to an extensive collection, becoming one of America’s most powerful brands and hit $1bn in sales. Jay-Z’s Rocawear line averages £700m in annual sales and P Diddy’s label Sean John, rakes in an extra £75m for the hip hop star. Celebrities in sports, films and fashion industry are integral part of our sub-culture but under leveraged commercially. USPL is at the core of building this opportunity. We are confident that celebrity fashion lines will create a lot of value for the end-user and play an important role in the fashion industry.
Being a womenpreneur, how do you see your entrepreneurial journey so far?
I have always wanted to be in charge of my own destiny. Having my own business gives me the freedom to do the things I love. It is a lot of hard work, but the sense of fulfillment and the learnings are unparalleled. I could never have learnt so much in such a short period of time in a native corporate career. The journey so far has been tough, but very rewarding.
Were there any major challenges when you started off with your venture?
In a start-up, every day is a challenge. Each challenge, no matter the scale, is unique and you have to be positive, fast and action-oriented to ride over it. We have had umpteen challenges in product roll out, design specs, supply chain, distribution, but we have found paths to navigate through all of these. Focus on the consumer, the brand, and on leveraging our collective skill sets, helps us drive and execute plans.