Home grown outdoor and adventure brand Wildcraft is known to feel the pulse of the Indian audience. In conversation with Mr Vipul Sirohi, Head- Brand & Category Manager, we understand the brands journey through the years, dealing with the pandemic and the way forward.
- What is Wildcraft’s story? How unique is it as compared to the global brands?
The brand was started by 3 outdoor and adventure enthusiasts, who found a gap in the Indian market for a home grown brand which would focus on the Indian client while providing global standards.
We are clear it is a 20-30 year old millennial consumer of ours, anything and everything which they consume needs to be kept in order. We keep up with products they use and offer it to them at our store. We have excellence in quality of the product and understand our tropical clients which are what makes us unique.
We started with Gear which includes bags, tents, sleeping bags and eventually moved onto Clothing, Footwear and Travelcase which have a global appeal and that makes it difficult for people to believe we are an Indian brand.
- What is the plan for the brand now? Are you looking to add new products?
Every brand has a journey which it takes. The initial years were focused mainly on the product R&D. Now the brand needs to focus on creating right partnerships and liaisons, to make optimum use of the IP that has been created. As of now our focus is on personal protective gear, which is already live on our portal.
We are launching innerwear soon. Apart from that fragrance, watches & sunglasses, action cameras and personal care are some categories we plan to get into.
- What were your thoughts before getting into licensing? What role did the pandemic play in repurposing the merchandise?
It started with the need that wildcraft needs to protect what it has created. Wildcraft is the only Indian manufacturer which caters to the Army in the CSD with gears and apparel, footwear.
The Ministry of Defence and Ministry of health wanted to repurpose our capabilities and understanding of the brand to gear the country for the pandemic. That led to the design team working well in advance to create something which was accessible and affordable. In a matter of 7-10 days they were ready with a respirator and 125-130 reusable hazmat suits. Apart from this we came up with PPE kits at affordable prices available for all.
- How can a brand maintain its essence while licensing?
It starts with a SOP or process driven approach with multiple checks and measures. Another important factor is the credibility of who the partner is. We need to create the right process so as not to dilute the product for the end consumer. A Safe system and organised process is necessary to stay relevant to end consumer. Being true to our story takes the partnership longer.
The brand needs to be ready to license it and once the plunge is taken, the initial journey needs to explain what the brand is all about and how the consumer associates with the brand.
Wildcraft already has a strong reach and network; we have our own understanding and capability. We need a partner who will join us for the long term and bring something to the table which complements the brand. Each product category carries its own journey and the partner should be ready to undertake the same with them for a longer time.