Merchandise Licensing 

Merchandise startups see robust demand for quirky statement t-shirts in India. Here’s why

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T-shirt or Merchandises, reflecting quirky one-liners or pop-culture have become a style statement for thousands of millennials in India.

Whether any famous line from their favourite sitcom (FRIENDS or Big Bang Theory), or one liners such as Kaafi Liberal etc, merchandise startups such as the Souled Store, Campus Sutra and Fully Filmy, are witnessing about 60% of their total sales coming from their T-shirts segment, according to a TOI report.

Aditya Agarwal, co-founder, Campus Sutra told TOI that besides having an online presence, the company has also set up a store near MS Ramaiah medical college in Bengaluru to attract youngsters.

“The most popular form of expression is relating to the profession. T-shirts that saw ‘Lawsome’ or ‘doctor-to-be’ are the ones that find many takers”, Aditya was quoted as saying.  

Aditya further stated that the college students are the target customers and over 65-70% of the youngsters’ t-shirt segment is occupied by message t-shirts.

Industry professionals added that almost 60% of the sale is seasonal.

According to the report, the release of a film or the launch of a sporting event accounts for a 20% spurt in the number of orders for these e-commerce players. The merchandising segment witnessed a spurt of growth after the magnum opus “Baahubali: The Conclusion” opened in theatres in India.

Not only this, with the much-awaited ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ hit the theatres on April 27, and people went crazy for merchandises. Thanos’ journey to reclaim the Infinity Stones is almost upon the customers and cashing in on the hype were companies releasing exclusive Avengers-themed merchandises. From notebooks to mobile covers, the companies are entering into various partnerships to provide fans and followers with a memorable experience.

The Indian Premier League, which packed up recently, also add an element to the drama.

Campus Sutra, which entered into a collaboration with Kolkata Knight Riders, witnessed sales picking up for KKR t-shirts, with the team being qualified to enter the playoffs.

To cater the segment with limited disposable income (primarily students), these startups are keeping the pricing affordable as low as Rs 399-499 per piece.

“The age group of buyers is between 18-24 years or sometimes higher. We operate in the price segment of Rs 499 per T-shirt. People want quality, affordable t-shirts, as opposed to the fake ones doing rounds in the market,” Vedang Patel, co-founder, Souled Store told TOI.

The bootstrapped startup witnessed 100% y-o-y growth and has t-shirts citing cultural references see takers all year round, besides the seasonal sale.

Vedang added that Indians are more attracted to Sitcoms such as Friends and Game of Thrones, and the Souled Tore itself had witnessed 90% of the total sale taking place from their own website.

Organized retail stores such as Splash also sees 30-35% of their T-shirt sales from pop-culture, favourite team or superhero segment.

“We have entered into a licensing agreement with Disney to have t-shirts of Marvel fans. It reflects the style and belief of the consumer,” Abhinav Zutshi, chief operating officer, Splash was quoted as saying from TOI.

However, analysts feel that while the development of t-shirts representing cartoons during childhood to assigning a point for adults is seen, players need to move to retail stores to boost further.

Keeping in mind the merchandising game, India’s youngest and fastest growing media company, ScoopWhoop, launches exclusive womenswear collection for ‘Unsanskaari’ Indian Woman yesterday.

The collection features ScoopWhoop’s iconic ‘Kaafi Feminist’ and ‘Kaafi Liberal’ designs in a wider range of silhouettes. The designs also featured feminist icons such as Frida Kahlo and Kaali, making a bold statement.

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