Giving India's luxury market a new direction, Les Petits gives children something more to clap about with their kidswear collection and furniture. Bringing Young Versace into their store, we took the opportunity to ask the President, Ms Swati Saraf, about their journey till now and future plans
By: Soumya Jain
Posted on: March 26, 2013
Kids today are born with a silver spoon – we have pretty much established that. And while parents pamper and indulge themselves, how can they leave their precious children behind? This global trend of giving kids the best of fashion has hit the Indian consciousness too.
And it was this that led Ms Swati Saraf to scout for a gift for her sister’s new born baby. “When we surveyed the market, there was hardly anything there. There was only Burberry at that time. And even if you go to GK or other places, you do find clothes for kids, but there is nothing special. It is regular stuff – clothes that you wear at home,” she said.
And thus Les Petits was born. India’s only multi-brand store retailing outfits and accessories for children from brands like Dior, Fendi, Blumarine and now Versace, Les Petits has made it its mission to dress children stylishly. It is a part of the burgeoning INR 30,000 crore kidswear industry, which is growing at a rate of 20-25 per cent in the words of Ms Saraf, and is estimated to reach INR 80,000 crore by 2015.
Sorting the jigsaw puzzle
But as is true largely with the luxury scene in India, opening Les Petits was no cakewalk. “Me and my husband did not have a background of retail when we were launching Les Petits. And the main question we had was what brands do we get into India? So deciding on the correct brands was the first priority,” Ms Saraf said. The kind of brands they chose was perfect. After all, moms wearing Dior and Fendi would obviously like to see their kids decked in the same!
Taking the luxury image seriously, as they should, they booked a space at DLF Emporio, which is the prime retail option for luxury brands. The interiors have been done by PLS Design who, as per their website, have also done work for brands like Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo, Tom Ford and Vacheron Constantin among others. “There was great pressure because it was the first multi-brand boutique for luxury kidswear in India. And when you talk about luxury, the store also has to be like that. So those were the pressures, otherwise it has all been fine,” said Ms Saraf as she smiled.
The concept of international luxury brands has picked up in the past five years in India. Though we know and understand luxury, many people are probably not aware about international brands. So as we adults update our style quotient and wardrobe, is too soon to bring in the aspect of childrenswear in India? Ms Saraf begs to differ quite enthusiastically. “I don’t think it’s too soon. These brands have been there for quite a while in DLF Emporio and DLF Emporio has been there for almost five years now. And you know people travel so much these days. Awareness is already there. So I don’t think it’s the wrong time to enter. It is the perfect time because luxury in India is booming at a phenomenal rate, and kids’ luxury is also growing at the same time,” she says confidently.
The Les Petits team personally goes to select the collection that is stocked at the store subsequently. With 12 brands in their kitty, we are sure that’s not easy. And being India, they create their assortment carefully. “We do a lot of whites for summer and winter. But Indians are not very comfortable with whites all the time. They look for more colours definitely. They want a lot of accessories - accessories sell really well for us. And also we get a lot of feedback from customers on whatever we have sold in the past. We analyse what is doing well and what is not, and then select our collection. We keep improving as per the feedback,” said Ms Saraf.
One baby step at a time
Though the demand is there, she also admits that at times parents don’t understand the high pricing these clothes have. They have to explain it to them patiently, which is not easy at times. “But that’s how the market will grow,” she says as she shrugs her shoulders.
The multi-brand store is obviously a win-win situation for all, more so for the customers. A variety of choices helps in doing a mix-and-match to get the perfect look. As for Les Petits, it expands their scope of brands and the collections they bring in to satisfy the well-pampered, price-conscious Indian customer.
So as fairy-like princesses and little dapper gentlemen emerge confidently on the fashion scene, the luxury childrenswear market is set to grow in India, as fuelled by the sustainable expansion plans by Les Petits.