Started off around six decades ago, Duke has been a name to reckon with in Indian retail landscape. A lifestyle brand with pan Indian presence, Duke is available at 4000 multi brand outlets and over 360 exclusive stores. Taking a leap, the brand has set the roadmap to foray into the consumer products business, revealed Kuntal Raj Jain, Director Duke Fashions (India) Limited, during a candid interaction with License India. Talk to us about the journey of Duke so far. DUKE was incepted in 1966 when Komal Kumar Jain started making t-shirts in a small setup in Ludhiana, INDIA. He turned his passion for quality and design into the business of casual wear. In 2003 I joined the company and retained my father’s dedication to garment craftsmanship and attention to detail. A home-grown fashion brand with presence across India as well as overseas, DUKE offers full ranges of clothing for men, women and kids. Duke has been conferred Indian Power Brand and ET Business Knights Award. Now as the new promoter of the DUKE brand, I am taking on the challenge and opportunity to turn DUKE into a global brand. What is your retail presence as of now? Duke has marketing network comprising of over 4000 multi brand outlets and over 360 exclusive stores across major cities in India along with presence at big chain stores like Central, Reliance Trends, Reliance Market, Metro, Best price, Aditya Birla Retail, Hyper city, etc. Also we are present online on Myntra, Snapdeal, Jabong, Flipkart, Amazon, Ajio etc along with our portal www.dukeindia.com. What made you think of brand licensing as an effective retail strategy for Duke? In India, we’ve emerged as style icon with extensive retail muscle and multiple brand outlets in all cities. Being a renowned fashion brand, we want to give a 360 degree shopping experience to our consumers for all age groups. To penetrate into new areas, we believe brand licensing becomes a significant model to expand further. It would increase our market share and would prove to be a great revenue generation proposition, increasing brand visibility. DUKE has come a long way and earned trust of millions of consumers in India and abroad. Therefore, brand licensing seems the right route to take for expansion, where Bradford’s network and expertise would definitely be the right way to channelize our expansion strategy. How will you zero upon the ideal licensee for your brand? We look forward to associate with licensees who have stable and skilled manufacturing capabilities, creative designing sense along with widespread retail distribution. Someone who has a passion and understanding of our brand and the target audience we cater to; would be an ideal partner for us. DUKE’s brand awareness and retail strategy along with the licensee’s manufacturing abilities can form a sustainable business model. What all categories are you looking for DUKE? Currently, DUKE is present in apparel and footwear. We’d like to bring in a wider range of products that caters to our consumers from fashion and lifestyle domain. For that, we are open for associations in footwear, innerwear, fashion accessories, travel gear, sport accessories, swim wear, personal care, stationary and collectibles. How will DUKE be different from other licensors operating in the same segment? DUKE is into business from last six decades and we’re not only present in metropolitans but in Tier-III and Tier-IV cities as well. Since it’s a homegrown brand, we’ve established a trustworthy relationship and a personal connect with the masses. Apart from this, we make sure that the product range reflects DUKE’s DNA and also, we focus on innovation, style, and quality which are our USP. And like I said, through brand licensing, we can affiliate with consumers and ensure the longevity and sustainability in the market. What kind of positioning are you looking for Duke through licensing? DUKE stands as a high-end lifestyle brand and company’s values are based on its authentic fashion heritage, dating back to its venture in 1966. We look forward to yield into new spaces and categories through brand licensing.
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