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Feb, 03 2011

In high gear

Prateek Maheshwari, Founder Director of Brand Concepts Pvt. Ltd, a premier resource for licensed fashion, sports and entertainment accessories, is a man of acute business acumen. Having signed an exclusive licence agreement with Tommy Hilfiger, his busine

Prateek Maheshwari, Founder Director of Brand Concepts Pvt. Ltd, a premier resource for licensed fashion, sports and entertainment accessories, is a man of acute business acumen. Having signed an exclusive licence agreement with Tommy Hilfiger, his business is on a roll. He tells Beny Sachdeva about the opportunity in travel gear and accessories segment.

What kind of deal have you signed with Tommy Hilfiger?

We have signed an exclusive licence agreement with Tommy Hilfiger for two categories, travel gear/luggage and small leather goods to design, manufacture and sell travel gear and small leather goods under the Tommy Hilfiger brand in India.

What inspired you to take up the franchise of niche segment like travel gear?

Our competency lies in travel bags, luggage and accessories. With the increase in domestic and international travelling, the travel gear segment has seen a tremendous rise. However, the availability of designer brand in travel gear was still not up to the mark and consumers had no options beyond the mundane looking luggage that is currently available in the market. So, we decided to tap this market.

What kind of opportunity do you see in the travel gear industry in India?

If you analyse the watch market in India, earlier watches were a mere neccesity but today, they have become more of a style statement. I see similar opportunity in the travel gear market in India.

How are you gearing up to beat the competition in this market?

Honestly speaking, I do not see any competition to Tommy Hilfiger in the travel gear as of now because all other players are operating in traditional luggage brands, which do not offer designer/premium products in the category.

How many stores are you operating presently and what are your future plans?

We have 10 stores for TH travel gear out of which seven are franchised. We are opening three to four stores every month with a target of 50 stores by the end of next financial year. Over 80 per cent of these stores will be franchised. We are currently looking at both tier I and II cities.

What kind of training and support will you offer to your franchisees? What are your franchise requisites in terms of area and investment?

All operations at the store front are handled by our in-house team, right from staffing to selling to replenishments. The staff at the stores is carefully selected, trained and managed by us. The area required to open a Tommy Hilfiger travel gear store is approximately 600-800 sq.ft carpet. The investment may vary from place to place.

Which locations are you targeting for expansion and in which formats do you operate?

We operate through two different formats i.e shop-in-shop and standalone stores at malls or high street store at a premium locality. If a franchisee is interested in operating via shop-in-shop, we first have to analyse the interiors/positioning of the store/ other brands currently selling, etc as Tommy Hilfiger is a premium designer brand.

What qualities will you look for in your potential franchisees?

A franchisee is much more than just an investor at the store level and we strongly believe in this theory. We simply look for partners who share the same passion for the brand as we do. Everything rest is secondary.

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