Contrary to the global markets, Indian licensing and merchandising industry has fashion as its marquee category. And this category is gradually witnessing merchandise inspired by home-grown content that is able to resonate with masses more effectively as compared to global content. Betting big on the same, Indian media company ScoopWhoop has entered the apparel and merchandise market with the introduction of its new womenswear collection Unsanskaari’. Founded in 2013, the media brand has always stood up for the bold, free-spirited Indian woman by way of content, and this collection is more of an extension in the same direction, said Sriparna Tikekar, the co-founder of the brand, in a candid interaction with License India. Excerpts: What intrigued you to foray into apparel business? We were always intrigued with the idea of how would it be to get into apparel business, but we were testing waters with content. If you see, our apparel collection itself is very content heavy. We started seeing a lot of interest amongst women, with the kind of messaging we were carrying as a portal. The kind of articles and videos we were doing were garnering great response from women. We thought of taking these messages to next level because a lot of conversations are going global, for instance feminism, equality, women demanding themselves to be seen and treated as equal as men and thus being “Bad Bitches” for they are forthcoming and kickass in their lives. Those global conversations are what we decided to start the apparel business with and see the response. Needless to say that the response was phenomenal! People started sharing the product links with their peers and thus began a whole lot of socio-conversation around the range of merchandise. A lot of times we ran short of the products and had to re-stock everything. How have you planned the marketing strategy around this range? We have chalked out marketing plan for taking this collection in a big way. But so far what has worked wonders for us is the word-of-mouth. We have received positive responses from the consumers and before we even started with marketing this line, it was already a fad. Be it our content or merchandise, our whole focus has been on the ‘un-sanskari’ women because for the longest time, women were not given their due in a lot of ways. But now they are opening up about their demands, likes, dislikes and that is the un-sanskari girl for me, who is demanding what is her due. How did you manage with the licenses of IPs such as Frieda Kahlo? We have Frieda Kahlo mug and a tunic top. Wherever there are copyrights involved, we have seek proper permissions and contracts. There were a lot of things we wanted to do, but didn’t proceed due to copyright issues. We have copyrighted our original content. What all retail touch-points are you available at? We are retailing the range through our shop website: http://shop.scoopwhoop.com. Talk to us about this "transition" from a media brand to brand into lifestyle space. I am still not calling us a clothing brand. I’d still call it a social content platform. We also say that we are a mix between advertising and publication. We just go out in whatever way we can reflect it. We thought that the though-process of our content can work great with clothing, so we went ahead with that. What is next in pipeline from the merchandise perspective? We are in a nascent stage as of now. Hence we want to take baby steps and scale up slowly. We want to start more conversations with out target group and scale up from there. We work according to proof of concept. There are a lot of conversations that we are pioneers of. And then there is a proof of concept that this conversation is a global one and audiences relate to that. We take that conversation and re-create that into form of merchandise. For instance, Chai is a global phenomenon but is bae for people in India. We created content on this topic and gradually realizing that chai has such a pull-factor for people, we decided to come out with a tea set range, which was our top seller.
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