AstorMueller, one of the Europe’s leading shoemaking companies, entered the Indian market with bugatti. Today, it has a strong retail footprint in India. The shoemaker, which also holds the exclusive license for Daniel Hechter shoes, has recently launched another brand, BAGATT with eye on women. Images Business of Fashion’s N Bobo Meitei interacted with Sandip Kanti Baksi, AstorMuller India’s COO – Retail, to understand what this means for the shoemaker, and many more.
AstorMueller already has a well established brand, Bugatti and it’s doing well. What prompted the company to launch a new brand?
AstorMueller operate with multiple brands including Bugatti and Daniel Hechter which have redefined the fashion footwear space on the continent over the past couple of decades. BAGATT, however, is special. With BAGATT, we, for the first-time, are foraying into building a brand of our own that will ‘Set the Trend’ in the premium footwear category. We have converged our generations of shoemaking expertise, deep production know-how, design and tech development into crafting every detail of a BAGATT shoe, stitch by stitch, and layer by layer.
How would you describe Bagatt, in terms of designs, materials, and how do you differentiate it from those AstorMueller-owned brands?
Designed as an expression of modern Italian Ȅ air, each pair of BAGATT is a fusion of hi-fashion, exceptional materials, and the ȃ ne art of shoemaking. BAGATT helps us stand out through our design ethos and the result is a collection which is both an expression and extension of our customer’s personality. BAGATT is not just a shoe, but a statement!
Who are your target audience? Give us a profile of your ideal customer.
Today’s women are increasingly independent, whether financially or emotionally. They want to be leaders and pioneers, not just followers. They know what they want and are skilled and con ȃ dent enough not to settle for anything less. They want to express themselves freely and make a statement and this is where BAGATT comes in. A BAGATT customer is a strong woman, who is bold, smart, and sophisticated. She doesn’t chase trends but carries herself with timeless grace and elegance.
Walk us through the product collection you have launched in India. What are your best performing products?
As a lifestyle brand, we made sure there’s a BAGATT to complement every occasion and style. From knee-high leather boots and colorful sneakers to glossy slip-ons and rock stud flats our collection has it all. In our Fall Winter-22 collection, we have one of the best and possibly the largest collection of boots by any brand in the country. These are matched by our equally stylish sneakers, flats, sandals, pumps, heels and slip-ons so that a BAGATT woman would ȃ nd a shoe for each of her desires in our collection.
What retail strategy have you adopted for the brand in India?
Our retail strategy in India is predominantly brand store-driven. This is very different from Europe, where the retail environment is primarily department store-centric. Hence, in the very first season (AW22), we have launched the brand with a great success at over 3,100 shop-in-shops.
In India, we are introducing the brand across top retail destinations as a combination of Bugatti and BAGATT. This would give the customer an access to our classic shoe making heritage as well as the latest fashion under one roof.
What challenges do you experience as a new brand? Share some.
There are several challenges faced by a new brand: first and foremost being building brand salience. Fortunately for us, our century old heritage, existing success with Bugatti helped moving around this rather fast. The biggest challenge, however, came to us in the form of funding appropriate retail space in the top malls across the country to reach out to our target consumers. This is still a work in progress and as we speak, we have been able to sign up with several key locations over the past few months.
Where do you see the brand in the next few years?
In the next 18 months, we wish to expand our reach across the Indian Subcontinent and establish a strong retail presence in the top 10 cities. The primary idea is to take BAGATT to every fashionable and discerning customer and make it a leading fashion brand over the next 5 years.