Started in 2015, Epic Brands has grown by leaps and bounds in a short span of time, and a major credit goes to Marie Claire apparel range, that Epic Brands has licensing rights for. For Amiteshwar Grover, the Managing Director of the company, Brand Licensing was the way forward to scale up. An IMT Ghaziabad alumnus Grover is of opinion that brand licensing gives an opportunity to leverage from the brand equity and get a faster foothold than setting up a newer brand. In a candid conversation with License India, Grover spoke about the benefits of brand licensing while mentioning that licensing has helped his company grow by 40 per cent.
Talk to us about Epic Brands
Epic Brands started in 2015 and we launched with our own private label RARE online, where we saw great USP with tying up with international designers in launching their collections in India. At the same time we signed up with Marie Claire for launching the fashion label in India. We officially launched Marie Claire in June 2016 that is exclusive to online.
What is the need of business that can be addressed through brand licensing?
Licensing helps in getting an international property that is known globally. Through licensing, the benefit for the brand is that it can easily penetrate into newer markets and for a company like us, it gives an opportunity to collaborate easily with a brand and then leverage from the brand equity and get a faster foothold than setting up a newer brand. The whole idea is that if a brand is recognized globally, if you launch a category in that, the growth is much faster and average selling price is slightly higher than other private brands.
What made you opt for Marie Claire?
Marie Claire is more than 100 years old brand and the Marie Claire magazine was quite prominent in India as well. Plus the recall for Marie Claire as a brand is very strong among female audiences. In our research, we found that between 25 to 35 years, at least 55 per cent women knew about Marie Claire brand. Parallely we were in discussions with several other brands, but the recall value of Marie Claire was quite prominent and that’s what prompted us to get the licensing rights for the brand. Secondly, the core competency of Epic Brands was into western wear that was in line with the area of interest of Marie Claire.
How did you manage to tweak the style guide of Marie Claire according to Indian sensibilities?
We were already working with a couple of global designers for RARE. So we had built-in design capabilities within the company to understand and work up to the repute of Marie Claire. That’s why it was not that big a task for us to create the whole product line according to Indian synergies.
Getting the brand and developing it comes with a set of challenges. What were the roadblocks?
Marie Claire was very particular in the way their collection looks. It took time to understand the whole look and feel, the color palate, the theme, the design essence and match that with our DNA. The whole collection took almost 10 months to get designed right from the step of conceptualization. Now Marie Claire does ‘look of the season’ and share the same with us that helps us design the looks for India. Currently there are 720 SKUs for Marie Claire. For first six months of launch, the collection was exclusive to Myntra. Later on we started launching on other portals as well. The reason was that we are getting very good full price sale on Myntra. Our philosophy is to create Marie Claire as a brand which is not discounted brand.
Elaborate about your future plans.
For Marie Claire from 2018 perspective, the agenda is to set up the e-commerce store for Marie Claire in India as well as setting up EBOs in India. We are already in talks with quite a few large format stores to place the Marie Claire products. Apart from hat Epic Brands is also in touch with a couple of more brands, mainly global, to expand across categories through licensing. Plus we are also launching another private label RARE ROOTS that is going to be in the ethnic and fusion line, because that is one segment that is growing by leaps and bounds in India. We will be launching it in a month’s time.