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Hidesign allies with Qwiky's Coffee Pub

Premium leather brand Hidesign is aggressively looking at expansion - domestic as well as international



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CHENNAI

Pondicherry-based Hidesign, makers of premium leather bags, has forged a strategic alliance with Chennai-based Qwiky's Coffee Pub. Through this alliance Qwiky's will sell Hidesign merchandise at its coffee pubs across the country. In turn, Qwiky's will set up coffee islands or kiosks at select Hidesign stores throughout India.

For both Hidesign and Qwiky's, the idea behind this pact is tap into the aspirations of the growing youth segment. "When we started off in 1978 in the international markets, we were the only non-Italian leather brand available. Having entered the domestic market in 1998 we wish to convey our premium image to the youth. What better way to do that than to align with Qwiky's which attracts the right consumer," said Dilip Kapur, president, Hidesign. "Though Hidesign is a premium leather brand, we thought it should be made more accessible and the best way to draw in the youth is through affordably priced merchandise such as wallets, belts and toilet bags that would be retailed at Qwiky's."

Hidesign's latest initiative comes against the backdrop of some serious efforts by the company to underscore is retail presence in India. The brand is currently available in 12 exclusive Hidesign showrooms in Mumbai, Bangalore, New Delhi, Chennai. Pune, Mahabalipuram, Cochin, Pondicherry and Goa. It made its aggressive growth plans known when it signed on
Contract last year to handle its advertising. The Hidesign campaign won the agency the AAAI award this year. "We have set aside an ad budget of Rs 80 lakh this year and we hope to extend our exclusive retail presence to Calcutta, Hyderabad and eventually Chandigarh," said Kapur.

The latest tie-up will ensure Hidesign's immediate presence at Qwiky's existing four coffee pubs (two at Chennai, one at Hyderabad and one at Delhi) and four coffee islands. And more of them as Qwiky's moves ahead with its expansion plans. It is in the process of setting up coffee kiosks at 35 BPCL petrol stations across the country. Apart from its alliance with Hidesign, Qwiky's has entered into similar pacts with MTV and Lifestyle department store. These strategic alliances are an integral part of its growth plans as it helps drive consumers towards a complete lifestyle experience.

To signify its success in the international markets, Hidesign also unveiled, what it claimed, the world's largest leather bag in Chennai on Friday (June 1). The leather bag stood 2.77 meters tall and used up 1,218 sq ft of vegetable tanned leather, 4.96 km thread, 6.10 m long zipper. This gigantic bag took up 198 man-days, and, if sold, would retail at a mind-boggling Rs 2.45 lakh. The company shot off an application to enter its 'big bag' in the Guiness Book of Records.

"Of course, we do not intend to sell our record-creator. But, for the record, we do aim to be one of the top three leather briefcase and luggage brands worldwide and intend to be one of the leading leather brands in the premium leather market," said Kapur.

Hidesign is a Rs 58-crore company and is aiming for a 20 per cent growth this year. It has presence in markets like the UK, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the USA, besides Sri Lanka and India. The Hidesign label occupies shelf space at prestigious retail outlets such as Selfridges and John Lewis in the U.K., David Jones and Kyers in Australia, Stuttaford's and Edgars in South Africa and Magasin Du Nord in Denmark.

Speaking about the international expansion plans, Manav Futnani, vice-president, Hidesign, said, "Over the next three years we will aggressively develop distributorships in middle-level economies in South East Asia, Eastern Europe, Middle East as well as Latin America." The company plans to spend $1 million on its international expansion initiatives over the next 12 months.

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