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Sanjay Vakharia

Director-Marketing | 10 Sep 2007

“The entire offering is fashion-oriented and can be termed radical at times. The single line to sum it up is ‘Spykar: 18 till I die’. Spykar aims to sustain itself as a premium fashion wear brand, providing total casual dressing for the individual’s complete fashion needs.”

Sanjay Vakharia has been associated with Spykar Lifestyle since its inception in 1992. Quick to spot marketing opportunities, he has been primarily responsible for the brand image that Spykar enjoys today.

Prior to joining Spykar Lifestyle, he worked with Magna Publications as Export Manager (Garments) wherein he was responsible for setting up the marketing network in the US and UK markets. Additionally, he was Marketing Manager for the company’s toys and games division. By 1992, was heading the manufacturing and marketing of the denim company Ragz.

Under the direction of Vakharia, Spykar Lifestyle has followed a distribution strategy of retailing at over 500 multi-brand outlets across India and large format stores like Shoppers’ Stop, Lifestyle, Pyramid, Globus, Pantaloons, etc. Vakharia is currently spearheading Spykar Jeans’ foray into retail business, having already set up 75 exclusive Spykar outlets, and plans are afoot to have a total of 150 exclusive stores by 2008. The Spykar brand has also been taken to the Middle East. Vakharia has a keen eye on everything about the stores -- the theme, décor, aesthetics, music, range of garments and accessories displayed.

In a conversation with exchange4media’s Tasneem Limbdiwala, Vakharia talks about the company’s marketing strategies and growth plans. Excerpts:

Q. How is Spykar performing in the Indian market? What is your market share?

Spykar operates in a niche fashion denim market and is the market leader in that segment. Spykar is the only brand in India that focuses on the youth and fashion. The youth is the most promising growth area for many categories, so by default we are going through a very good period with great growth and visibility. Our retail expansions and additions to product categories are fueling the growth for us. Also, we are constantly bettering our supply to demand percentages, which is giving us sure growth. And to top it all, the demand is constantly outpacing the growth.

Though we are not in the number game, as we are a niche product, we still find ourselves as the third largest denim wear brand in the country, having close to 12 per cent market share of premium jeans wear market.

Q. What kind of growth are you seeing year-on-year?

We are growing well and have witnessed a 60 per cent CAG year-on-year since the last four years. This is fuelled by our retail expansion. We are adding an average of six stores every month.

Q. What are the new launches from Spykar in recent times?

We would be launching two new brands in the near future, whose names have not yet been finalized. The first will cater to a kids segment, while the other will cater to a mature but fashion-oriented informal clothing segment for a 25 + audience.

Besides, we recently soft-launched our eyewear to a great market acceptance. The formal launch is slated in the end of this year.

This summer, we launched our line of trendy junk jewellery made of ally and leather. The summer also saw the launch of Spykar deodorant that has been received very well by the market.

Q. What has been the marketing strategy of Spykar?

Spykar’s core audience is the age group of 16-28, which is extremely youthful and vivacious, and is in tune with the latest international fashion trends. Our product line and marketing communications have evolved with the changing tastes of this discerning group.

Spykar has built the brand by engaging in activities that enable optimal one-to-one communications than one-to-many, in the form of events and promotions, where it can connect with the youth at their level and gauge their responses and preferences faster than anybody else.

The other vehicles used to advertise the brand are a mix of conventional and contemporary media along with the most important, innovative in-store POS.

Q. How has your advertising and communication complemented the brand Spykar Jeans?

The entire offering is fashion-oriented and can be termed radical at times. The single line to sum it up is ‘Spykar: 18 till I die’. Spykar aims to sustain itself as a premium fashion wear brand, providing total casual dressing for the individual’s complete fashion needs.

The communication that the brand undertakes makes sure that values ‘bold, brash and irreverent’ are always carried forward.

Q. What is the total size of the Indian jeans-wear market?

The total size of the fashion denim market is estimated to be Rs 400 crore. The industry has shown a constant growth of 15-20 per cent since the last three years.

Q. What kind of below-the-line activities have you undertaken?

Apart of all the in-store activities like designing of innovative PoPs like danglers, tent-cards, banner-stands, wobblers, etc., the brand engages it TG by hosting or sponsoring a various events. We also have apt in-film placements, like we had in the recent movie ‘Namastey London’, and in the past with movies like ‘Kya Kool Hain Hum’ and ‘Fareb’.

The Spykar Style Lab is Spykar’s biggest branded property. This is positioned as an event where Spykar educates its customers on the various aspects of style and fashion. The formats for the Spykar Style Lab are changed every year. The first Spykar Style Lab included a complete fashion makeover for the individual in keeping with the latest international trends that season. The objective was to help create an expression for the individual by a complete metamorphosis of his personality through the attire, hairdo, cosmetics, accessories, etc.

Last year, the Spykar Style Lab revolved around the fashion denim universe through the ‘Do Your Jeans’ contest. We invited the youth from all over India to pick up a pair of denim and fashion them the way they want to. The idea was to give back to the Spykar customer what he always wanted to wear. We received over 7,000 entries. An elite jury from the fashion and glamour world judged the designs. The best designs were put on the ramp at a grand event. The most commercial of these designs were also mass-produced as a signature line with due credit to the creator.

The Spykar Style Lab has always been an eagerly awaited event in the denim industry.

Q. What are your projections for the industry and for yourself in the next few years?

The industry is estimated to continue its growth at 15-20 per cent; we expect to grow more than 60 per cent over the next three years. On the retail front, we have 80 exclusive stores today and would like to take that number to 300 by 2010.

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