Woodland is among a few major outdoor industry brands in the world to have its own integrated manufacturing facilities. With a network of over 600 stores and 4500 plus multi- brand outlets across the globe and a team of over 3500 professionals, the brand has pioneered the ‘Outdoor and Adventure’ segment. With the recent success of our products across various overseas markets around the globe like Russia, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Canada and the Middle East, the brand plans to make further inroads into other promising markets in Africa, Zimbabwe and other countries, shares Harkirat Singh, Managing Director, Woodland Worldwide, with S&A.
Aero group is reworking its business and sourcing strategies in response to the Make in India initiative. Kindly elaborate how this will be implemented.
The government has been very encouraging with the Make in India initiative. We are committed to it and steadily expanding our facilities in the country. The roadblocks are slowly getting streamlined, which were a concern earlier in terms of government clearances. The positive environment will further help in expanding our current facilities to make Woodland a complete in-house manufacturing brand – Made in India. The company plans to increase production in India by 25-30% every year and reduce sourcing of finished products and components from overseas.
How much of finished products and components sourced from China and Bangladesh will be reduced?
Our support on overseas markets for specialized products and raw components has been consistent, with low-priced labor and good quality of products being the reasons for us to source from these countries. But with the government planning many initiatives to strengthen domestic production capabilities, we can definitely hope to become more indigenous. Things are expected to get simplified now and a conducive atmosphere to be created for production and manufacturing within our country. This will assist us to reduce dependence on imports from other countries.
The brand currently has 600 company stores in India and plans to add another 50-60 stores every year. As a part of Woodland’s growth strategy, we will focus on internal accruals apart from having shop-in-shop formats.
How different is the product strategy you have adopted for the overseas markets?
Tech-based adventure gear and outdoor footwear business is the fastest growing arena among youth abroad and in India. With the recent success of our products across various overseas markets around the globe like Russia, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Canada and the Middle East, the brand plans to make further inroads into other promising markets in Africa, Zimbabwe and other countries. Every market is unique and our strategy is to first understand the geographical locations and consumer preferences and thereby make and sell products that are suitable for those markets.
In the domestic turf, you are targeting more of tier-II and III cities. Will this be in the form of EBO or through MBOs, and how many outlets will you open?
The brand currently has 600 company stores in India and plans to add another 50-60 stores every year. As a part of Woodland’s growth strategy, we will focus on internal accruals apart from having shop-in-shop formats. With brand awareness and growing disposable incomes in semi urban India, Woodland will expand its retail network in tier – II and tier – III cities, besides expanding its range of outdoor accessories. Within the next two to three years, we are contemplating increasing the number of our own stores along with MBOs.
Product diversification is what you have been actively doing lately, what does it mean for footwear category?
We understand consumer preferences and try to innovate by being relevant and in tune with consumer demands. We explore new ways to give the consumers a new experience every time. Aero Group explores innovative technology embedded in products and integrates it with all aspects of our brands. We have already launched GPS-embedded jackets, BOA shoes, Client T-shirts, and many more new technologies and innovations in products are inpipeline. We had collaborated with a former NASA scientist under a royalty agreement and developed shoes and shirts that keep cool and comfortable even in extreme temperatures through phase change material technology. To ensure that the products are precisely engineered, we also brought advanced robotics technology from the German company, Desma, to ensure high quality on the product side.
The outdoor watch range is a specialized line of products from Woodland and it comes with features like compass, barometer and altimeter. We currently have some 15 models that have multiple combinations touching different price points, broadly starting from `8,000 onwards. In outdoor sports gear category, some of Woodland’s upcoming products include lightweight carbon-made hands-free umbrella, camping lights, UV block T-shirt, super-charged cotton T-shirt, snake bite-resistant super shell shoes and anti-microbe shoes. The main purpose is to provide an adventure lover everything necessary to take on extreme weather and to cater to an all-terrain adventure sports market.