Vikram Shivadas is the Vice President and Director, International Markets – MFL, Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd where he manages the international business of the company and oversees the organisation’s foray into new and emerging international markets via a robust country entry strategy. In his current role, he is responsible for international business of Louis Philippe, Allen Solly, Van Heusen and Peter England. He is a senior business leader with over 20 years of experience across FMCG, telecom, technology, apparel and fashion retail. He has been associated with Madura Fashion and Lifestyle for 15 years.
Shivadas’s academic background covers two post graduate degrees from UK’s Strathclyde University and India’s University of Pune.
He was in Nepal to announce the launch of Louis Philippe store in Lalitpur. To know about the recent launch of the store and future plans of the company, B360˚ talked with him. Excerpts:
What is the purpose of your visit to Nepal?
As a company we have been in Nepal for many years, but for us this event is particularly important because we are launching Louis Philippe brand in Nepal. It is the most premium, largest and successful brand from Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail. We are present not only in India, but also in Gulf countries United Arab emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and now in Nepal.
Can you tell something about the brand and product?
Louis Philippe is a brand that has a European lineage, it has wide spectrum of products ranging from shirts, trousers, denim t-shirts, blazers, accessories. It covers the entire spectrum. We have the main brand as Louis Philippe and we have Louis Philippe Youth as well where we have denims, t-shirts and casual wear.
Do you have any other fashion brands under Aditya Birla group?
We have many. We have Allen Solly which is a casual brand. There is an increasing number of people who nowadays go to work not wearing formal clothes but wearing casuals like checkered shirts or chinos. Under Allen Solly, we also have kids and women’s section. We have Van Heusen, which is also a formal brand, and Peter England which is a mass brand. These are the largest and market dominating brands.
How is Louis Philippe different from other brands?
It is the most premium brand from Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail focusing on craftsmanship and high quality products. As a brand, Louis Philippe has a very strong following both in India as well in other countries. That’s why we are bringing it here. We have been studying Nepal’s market and seeing an increasing trend among consumers to spend more on fashionable products which are well crafted and high quality.
What research did you do prior to coming to Nepal?
We don’t work simply on market research. We often visit markets, speak to consumers, get feedback, spend time in the market, spend our resources understanding the market. As a company also we are on a journey of continual improvement. What we want from the Nepali market is the feedback to our products and we will continually improve on it, that’s how we operate in India as well.
What is your pricing strategy for Nepal and what can customers expect from this brand?
We have made very marginal difference with the pricing in India. Duty structure has brought the slight difference. We have considered the same principles we have applied in other brands. We don’t want to out price here. Customers can expect high quality, fashionable, well crafted and contemporary products from Louis Philippe.
What are your marketing strategies?
As for now we are focusing on print media, and soon we will also be focusing on online media. When we use marketing tools, we look at our targeted audience, how and where do we reach them. When we are choosing our media plans, it is strategically thought of for every market. Even in the Middle East we are selective about the publication, just diluting our spend on multiplicity of publication without getting the desired result is not good for any company. We would like to get maximum result with the optimal investment. That’s what we will do here.
What are the future plans for the brand in Nepal?
This is our first store but not the end of the road. We will be looking at new outlets in the near future. We don’t have specific number in mind. As a large brand the location is of critical importance for us. We want the right audience, we will be careful in selecting the right locations.