It was the craze amongst the consumers for Hollywood movie posters that lured Jimmy Mistry into the business of licensed posters thus launch Posterboy.in.
One of the many milestones for Posterboy was when Mistry eventually managed to convince the eCommerce marketplace Flipkart to add posters as a category at its portal. First day of the launch, and the numbers were enough to bamboozle everyone, thus kick starting the poster business online.
What was the idea behind Posterboy.in?
We started in 2012, though I conceived the idea in 2011. Before this I was running a film society where we used to screen a plethora of films across theatres, and distribute DVDs through offline stores like Landmark, Crossword etc.
There we noticed few sports related or licensed posters of superior quality coming from UK. That was when I was introduced to the business of posters or calendars and the numbers were good enough to convince me way back in 2010 to look at this space which was really untapped at that point in time.
Initially we started importing the posters from UK and distributing them across India. This was the time when Flipkart was coming up and was dealing with DVDs and books. We pitched them the idea of posters and though they were reluctant, but eventually they took the call. This was the first time that posters were launched as a category at any online space.
What made you think of becoming a licensee?
It was very natural progression. When we were doing all the licensed posters of GBI and pyramid, both UK based companies, people were buying them even at a price point of 400 rupees and it was flying off the shelf on Flipkart.
On the day of launch we sold around 200 posters within first 5 to 6 hours.
So if right product with right quality is given to the people, they will buy it. And posters, being just and aspiration best commodity rather than a necessity driven, were very unique category to venture into.
When we researched about the Global market for posters and I was bamboozled by the numbers like Harry Potter doing 8 billion dollars through merchandise across the globe and Star Wars doing around 12 million dollars which is equivalent to their box office revenue.
You started off with posters. How many categories do you have as of now?
We do around 10 to 12 product categories including mugs, key chains, coasters, fridge magnets, posters, cushion covers, t-shirts, track pants. Also we’re doing mobile covers wallets laptop skins.
We are focusing up on home and kitchen category which is the posters and cushion covers. They still generate volume for us. It has been almost an year that we started with T-shirts and apparel and they are doing big for us.
What all retail points are you present at?
Online we are available on all that portals like Jabong, Myntra, Amazon, Flipkart. We are also available at offline stores like Landmark, Hamleys, Crossword etc. Also we retail through a couple of standalone stores like the entertainment Store.
We have plans to come up with our own Store by 2019. Initially we will set up store at Bangalore, Delhi or Mumbai and then gradually we will look to move into the Tier 2 cities. We have taken that organised we approach and it’s only the organised channels that we are looking at as of now.
Initially what were the challenges that you face because posters are more about aspiration rather than being a necessity?
The first was to convince all the e-retailers to add posters as a category on the website. Even Flipkart took good 2 months to understand but after that 6 to 8 months were free good for us as we were the sole players.
But then we went to the market place thing and the competition stiffened with everyone selling the posters at the bare minimum cost of a 99 rupees does making it really tough for the genuine players to survive. Then they Begin the race for survival let alone the competition and the margins.