For Gautam Dalal, licensing was a swift calling, given his experience with Reliance Broadcasting. Entirety bootstrapped, Yellow Sparks International is now a 100 per cent licensing oriented brand operating in back to school segment. In a candid conversation with License India, Dalal talks about the advantage one can garner while becoming a licensee.
Talk to us about the journey and inception of Yellow Sparks International.
By the time I decided to start my own venture, I had worked with a couple of reputed brands including Reliance and TI cycles. We had a family business of Plastic Molding since 1999 that helped put all pieces together thus forming the ground for Yellow Sparks International.
How has the consumer behavior changed over the years?
Brands are still popular and hence Kids animation brands rule the kids mindspace. Choice is now influenced by the many brands seen on the Mobile app, even though impact is marginal. The TV Still rules the market. Buying choices have opened on the Net making distribution sweat harder. Personalisation is sought by kids, to have his face or name next to their favourite characters.
What made you think about licensing as an effective retail strategy?
Having been a Brand manager and marketing head who built brands, it was only natural to value brands thus. Moreover, a license gives you a well developed brand from day one and enables you to takeoff on sales, lest you can build your distribution. We had the distribution knowledge, will to work hard, focused and frugally yet, hence the license happened!
What were the challenges that you faced while coming up with licensed product range for various brands? How did you address those challenges?
Buyers need a range from a starter from day one, while a product range takes at least 3 Years to develop fully. We overcame this challenge through active collaboration. We did the moulds, colours all by ourselves. Another challenge was designing. Design in a style guide is very different from a design on the product. Designers and studios often don’t understand this. Again had it not been for the marketing role of the past, one would never have known the process of translating the character core positioning into compelling designs… for e.g. Chhota Bheem is always about a good deed with friends, hence a always show the team, but show 3 member teams for smaller lunch Boxes and full teams for larger ones! Piracy was another challenge – we circumvented this using new designs, colours and price points that squeezed their margins
What are the point of sale and price points?
Points of sales are Large Formats Stores: Namely Hypermarkets, Super Markets, Apparel and Specialty retail, General Trade (Multi Tiered per city and channel), Online through various marketplace. We operate in Lunch Boxes, Water Bottles, Pencil Boxes, Pouches, Mugs & Combo Packs. The price points span Rs.49 to Rs.599 for a Single Unit. India has such a varied consumer base that the same Hyper market Store has the highest Value selling SKU in Rs.399/- and the highest volume SKU being a Rs.99/-
According to you why should a retailer or manufacturer step into licensing?
Licensing gives a head start to teh retailers and/or manufacturers in the world full of brands and enables them to jump start their manufacturing unit as a brand. Besides lending an IP, the licensors, through their support systems and worldwide expertise, train the licensees about designing, product appeal and pointers in distribution.