Despite of being niche of the niche, wall coverings industry gained limelight enough to be on favourites list of consumer product arms of brands who have already explored the million growth prospects in here. Marshalls Wallcoverings has so far added some of the moolah raking properties to its portfolio. Karan Sharma – Director, Marshalls Enterprise India Private Limited talks about the growth potential of Wall coverings as a category for brand licensing.
How has been the market acceptance for wall coverings?
We are a 40 year old company into this business. Wall covering is a nice line to be in, in the sense that it helps one beautify ones home and is part of the fashion segment of interiors. In western countries, nearly 75 per cent of the walls are wallpaper covered while the proportion is very low in India.
Even today, wallpapers are just 2 per cent of the interior industry, but in times to come, this segment would grow up to 40 – 50 per cent of the interior industry. Consumer in metro in Tier I cities that are more influenced by western culture are giving a though to the concept of wall coverings, but the smaller towns are yet to explore it.
How has been your stint with brand licensing?
We got on board well known designer Krsna Mehta on board who also owns India Circus did a fantastic collection for us, which was customized as per size of walls. The collection was a single piece design collection. That’s where we got into licensing.
After that we got Chhota Bheem on board last September and just now we have launched wall coverings of Football Club Barcelona which is the biggest football club in the world. All the designs are made in India and customized in accordance with the size of wall. This is one of the biggest innovations that has happened for us in last 4 years.
Why Brand Licensing for wallpapers?
We were already selling designs which were conceptualized and produced with international sensibility and wanted to customize designs as per Indian consumers. Even in case of Chhota Bheem, we got that property to cater to the sensibilities of an Indian child who may not relate as much to a Walt Disney character as to a home grown characters. This is where the Indian-ization of wall coverings has happened.
What are your expansion plans and are you planning to add any more properties?
Digital wall covering is what we have started of late and we have already done 3 products with it. So, now we are willing to take some time off to develop and market those products rather than merely adding properties. When you add a character, the theme and colouration of the design has to be thought of very deeply and whole process takes minimum 4-5 months. Also, we are planning to increase our store count from existing 45 to 100 by end of 2016.
Has licensing been fruitful to your brand?
Chhota Bheem has picked up in the wall covering segment despite of the fact that we care catering to the niche out of the niche segment. The range is into premium pricing reason being the digital technology used to produce the range. After great success of Krsna Mehta, now we are coming up with second collection as well.
We are getting good tractions online as well through our website as well as Pepperfry and Amazon. We have also launched our mobile application based for android and iOS.
What kind of challenges do you face in this industry?
Wallpaper market is a small industry so the primary challenge is niche within a niche. Awareness is prime concern, but since nobody has done it before so we have leverage. For instance FCB has been licensed globally, but we are the first ones to actually come up with wallpapers. It was again a challenge to design wallpapers for FCB especially when there was no example or past things as such to take a clue from and hence improving. Moreover the industry is very unorganized and control in here is sometimes an issue.
Interviewed by Gargi Bhardwaj