Registering a consistent growth rate of 25-30 per cent, Woodland from the Aero Group thrives to chart further growth by bringing in innovations in its product range. “Technology remains the core area at Woodland and we have tied up with a German company Desma to ensure high quality products. Footwear manufacturing has always been labor-intensive, involving cutting of leather, stitching, sewing and so on; more manpower means more mistakes. To avoid these mistakes, Woodland, in collaboration with Desma would now introduce robots in the manufacturing process. The new technology will reduce manpower by one-third,” explains Harkirat Singh, Managing Director, Aero Club. That’s not all, the brand is also planning to change over its entire range of shoes and apparel to quality eco-friendly products in the future.
Woodland currently has over 350 company owned exclusive stores across various Indian cities and the brand also has a presence in 4,000 plus multi-brand outlets in a number of countries. “We plan to add another 60 stores in this fiscal,” Singh adds. Elaborating on the product offering, Singh says, “As Woodland is a global adventure brand we focus on the youth. Our brand’s philosophy perfectly matches our target audience and we constantly work towards delivering them the best of products. Apart from being a youth focused brand Woodland offers formal footwear through its sub-brand Woods. This collection pays attention to detail and fine craftsmanship. Woods is available at all Woodland exclusive stores though it also has its stand-alone stores.”
Owned by ‘Aero Group’, the brand, ‘Woodland’ originated in Quebec, Canada. Initially it started off by making winter boots and later ventured into India in 1992. “When we entered India, the footwear market was largely unorganized. Woodland created a new category of specialized ‘outdoor adventure sports’ shoes. Our positioning was different and we were known as a rugged, outdoor leather shoe brand, the kind usually preferred by adventurists. The youth took a fancy to our shoes. That was in the beginning and we gradually developed a product line especially for India,” Singh explains.
Woodland is already present in the international markets and currently has operations across the globe including countries like Mauritius, Nepal, Bangladesh, Singapore, Middle East and Far East. It recently launched an E-store and online sales have surged by over 20 per cent on a month-on-month basis in the last four months. For the online portal, Woodland plans to stock up limited edition products exclusively for online buyers, the ones that are commercially not viable for mass production, on sale.
Talking about the eco-friendly approach adopted by the company, Singh says, “We have always been an outdoor brand and very much in tune with nature. Whatever we do, it will never be against the environment but rather in consonance with it. It’s this connect that has been the soul of the brand. We not only build this association through our promotions, but also through our processes and practices. Woodland plans to leverage this association more strongly to further strengthen the brand by changing over its entire range of shoes and apparel to quality eco-friendly products — made with materials and chemicals that don’t harm the nature.”