Mumbai-based lingerie and nightwear maker Ashapura Apparels is all set to launch Valentine Pink, a new line of lingerie in April this year. Valentine Pink is a product extension of Valentine loungewear also from the company. The new line will have three segments of its own, targeting specific age and users. For example, the line ‘My Basics’ will have basic bras and other day-to-day wear priced between Rs 199 and Rs 400 catering to a mass market. ‘Sweet Sixteen’ the other line with its T-shirt bras will be priced around Rs 299 and Rs 700 targets it will be aimed at first time bra wearers. ‘To Be Bride’ has coordinated sets meant for the trousseau. Valentine Pink has chosen lingerie stores as its main retail strategy.
The brand Valentine already has an all India presence, though it is a more established in the south and west markets while gaining popularity in the north. As Harshad Thakkar, MD, Ashapura Apparels says, “We have a strong lingerie background. The reason we launched lingerie is that as long as you don’t have women’s undergarments you can’t open exclusive stores. You won’t generate enough revenue or repeat customers. So next year, we will have exclusive stores and shop-in-shops. We will begin with exclusive stores in Mumbai. For 2012, we plan about 20 exclusive stores and about 100 shop-in-shops.”
For a brand that is well in to its 12th year, Valentine has about 42 distributors and is retailed through about 1,300 hosiery outlets. Out of these about 700 are high end exclusive lingerie stores. It is also retailed through more than 3,000 MBOs across India. Currently, there are only three Valentine EBOs located within Mumbai. Exports contribute around 10 per cent of their revenue. The three main markets are: the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
The brand targets young upwardly mobile urban consumers. And to keep the buzz around the brand they sponsor college festivals in colleges, have radio campaigns and distribute 100 different catalogues every year. Thakkar believes five years down the line, brand wars will be over the net. They already have an e-commerce site and have tie-ups with online retailers. “Lingerie in India is best marketed in a personalized way,” he avers.
Valentine is currently focused on its existing loungewear, maternity loungewear and feeding lingerie in the women’s segment and is hoping to establish Valentine Pink as the brand leader. The other categories manufactured by Ashapura Apparels are men’s loungewear and children’s loungewear. The company is looking into the vast segment of boys’ innerwear and plans to launch a line in the future.
According to Thakkar, the loungewear market in India is estimated at around Rs. 10,000 crores and every year about 10 percent of the unbranded sector upgrades to the branded sector in an attempt to command price premium.