Suditi industries started off as a garment manufacturer but their journey took a turn after acquiring the license for the FIFA World Cup 2016. Now they have a bouquet of licenses that they manufacture for- NBA, NFL, MotoGP, ISL teams likes Odisha FC, FC Goa, Bangalore FC, Chennai Fc, IPL teams like Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight Riders, FC clubs like Manchester city, FC Barcelona, Arsenal and many more.
- Can you take us through the whole journey of Suditi?
Harsh- Suditi industries is a family run garment manufacturer which has been functional since 1991. Sometime in 2010, my father took the call that we must get into retail and so we started looking for opportunities in the market. In 2014, we found the right opportunity to take the license for the FIFA world cup. It was an event-based license and was extremely relevant for us. We alraedy had clients and manufactured for sports brands and related events like the National Football League, Major League Baseball for over 10 years.
It was relatively new and people weren’t able to place what kind of product will be there in the market. Our risk paid off and it did really well, our products were placed everywhere. It was an event and suddenly when it got over the next question was “What now?”
Post that we started reaching out to more agencies to get licenses and it was agencies like Bradford License India which saw that and had the vision for sports licensing before the market was ready. A lot of opportunities came our way in 2015 and 2016, we signed FC Barcelona closely followed by Manchester City.
- How has the sports licensing space changed over the years?
Harsh- When one looks back we realise it was very new at that point when we started in 2014. But when you look at our journey now it’s a relevant space and with leagues coming up in India digitally through Hotstar and other portals it has become very interesting as the Indian market is recognising this space. After five years of only developing this space in whatever small way we were, we are finally at the right place at the right time.
- What were the challenges and learning when venturing into licensing?
Harsh- Bradford and Suditi have been associated for about half a decade now. When we started there was nothing known as sports licensing in the market. It was Bradford and other agencies that knew about it. When drawing a parallel between then and now, I would not say the industry is growing but it surely is being recognised. When it wasn’t a recognised industry, Suditi was going up to retailers and positioning the product.
The biggest challenge was when people would hear a club name they would directly think of only jerseys. So, even though we would try to place the product for them, they would not be able to visualise it. We had to make them understand that it is not sportswear but a sports brand which is extending its brand values into a lifestyle space.
Essentially that is what Sports Licensing is, how can you take values that are on the pitch and you convert them into value systems and aesthetics that can be even worn and be flaunted off the pitch.
- What do you have in store for Suditi in the coming years?
Harsh- The future for Suditi is to get aggressive in this space. We have the know-how of the product; we will leverage our manufacturing strength, we will look at product placement online as well as offline. Finally, we are very well geared to actually be part of the growth story in India. Something definitely on the cards is signing more brands over the coming years. With respect to licenses we are very aggressive and very long term, which is why we enjoy developing opportunities in ISL and Pro Kabaddi, along with other leagues. We are not just after the big names and players-our approach is very holistic to keep all the fans we retail to happy.
Our motto remains the same as “It is not the clients you acquire but the ones you retain.”