Since Heatwave has arrived just a year ago in India, it’s currently focusing its efforts towards spreading awareness about the brand and its unique offerings for the modern-day women who multi-task. Hailing from Singapore, Heatwave has its global footprint in countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Qatar and Philippines.

Hitesh Vaswani

S&A’s N Bobo Meitei caught up with Hitesh Vaswani, MD, Saffron Tradex Pvt Ltd to discuss the brand’s retail and product strategies, and many more. The company is the Indian licensee of Heatwave.

What motivated you to launch Heatwave in India? Give us an overview of how the brand is positioned globally?
We noticed a gap in the market wherein fashionable yet comfortable footwear with best-in-class material, functional superiority and technical innovation which would complement the unique lifestyles of the women who multi-task, wasn’t available at the price-range which we are currently offering. This motivated us to set foot in the Indian market. Hailing from Singapore, Heatwave has its global footprint in countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Qatar and Philippines over and above its presence in India and of course, Singapore.

What elements define the brand, and how distinct are its products in comparison with those in the same segment?
Listing out the major USPs of our products.
Flexible sole: Each pair of Heatwave footwear comes with a unique pliable anti-slip rubber sole which is a carefully crafted blend of elastic rubber materials for providing ample flexibility to the sole along with cushioning and comfort to the wearer.
Well-contoured arch: Our shoes come fitted with a specially modelled, steel fitted shank which bears the weight and supports the feet of the wearer effectively.
Unique grooves: The signature Heatwave wavy grooves provide the wearer with a safe and anti-slip grip.
Soft and supple inner sole: Specially created to be pliable to the touch, our inner soles snugly yield to every arch and curve of the wearer’s feet for them to experience well-contoured comfort with every pair.
Handmade with love: All our shoes are handmade in small scale factories in Malaysia, with Heatwave staff overseeing quality control at each stage.
Unmatched prices, great quality: Heatwave recognizes that effective sourcing is an important way of keeping costs low and quality high. Our design team travels widely and sources quality fabrics and embellishments at the best possible rates.

Give us an overview of the brand’s product portfolio, and does the brand have any plan for diversification?
The dynamic Heatwave range is thoughtfully made to be the perfect companion on the daily journeys of women, as the collection includes dainty yet sturdy sandals coupled with chic pumps, block heels, ballerinas, flats, and wedges in the colours that encompass the essentials like nudes and black, along with a few shades that break the clutter like maroon, blue, etc. Similarly, for bags, a variety of sling bags, tote bags, clutches, backpacks, and handbags are up for grabs. In order to bring in more diversification, we’ll soon be launching our sneaker range and a few more categories in handbags.

Who is your ideal customer? Where in the country is your consumer base mainly concentrated?
The character sketch of our target customer would be a woman in the age-group of 25-45, who is fashionable yet looking for comfortable options for her footwear and bags. She can’t choose fashion over comfort or comfort over fashion. She wants a combination of fashion and comfort. She has an active day as she juggles between work and running errands. She wants something that’s trendy and would be the perfect companion for her daily journeys, giving her the comfort and classiness that she desires. Heatwave has got her covered for various occasions, right from a high-tea or a formal business luncheon, to running errands or for casual outings.
As far as the consumer base location in India is concerned, it’s been 1 year since Heatwave has set foot in the Indian market. Heatwave has successfully launched 5 stores at cities such as Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Surat and Baroda. But with the desire to cater to the ladies across India, Heatwave is also selling pan India through e-commerce platforms such as Myntra, Amazon and Tata Cliq.

What retail and promotional strategy have you adopted to consolidate the brand’s presence in India?
Heatwave is reaching out through various media such as newspapers, fashion magazines, radio, OOH, SOH, and digital media. We also participate in pan India events such as IRF, IFF, etc. and organize on-ground customer engagement and activation events. Along with this, we also plan to expand our retail footprint in India by opening doors at 5 more cities by the end of this year.

What are some of the major challenges that you often face in the segment?
Since Heatwave has arrived just a year ago in India, we’re currently focusing our efforts towards spreading awareness about the brand and its unique offerings for the modern-day women who multi-task. Further, we’re endeavouring at handpicking the right locations to cater to our specific target audience.

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