Wildcraft plans to spin off Wiki range for teenagers into separate brand

Wildcraft expects to earn Rs550-600 crore in revenue in 2017-18, up from around Rs400 crore in the current financial year


Wildcraft has two manufacturing plants – one in Bengaluru and one in Himachal Pradesh – and employs around 2,500 people.
Wildcraft has two manufacturing plants – one in Bengaluru and one in Himachal Pradesh – and employs around 2,500 people.

Bengaluru: Wildcraft India Pvt. Ltd, a Bengaluru-based outdoor gear and apparel firm which counts Sequoia Capital as one of its investors, plans to spin off its ‘Wiki’ range of backpacks and rucksacks for teenagers into a separate brand with its own standalone stores in a couple of years.

The company, which raised around Rs70 crore from Sequoia Capital in 2013, expects to earn Rs550-600 crore in revenue in 2017-18, up from around Rs400 crore in the current financial year.

When Wildcraft started, in a garage in southern Bengaluru’s Jayanagar with a bootstrapped investment of just a few lakhs, the first lines of products were backpacks and rucksacks. Those remain the firm’s mainstay even today.

When the company decided to design and sell products specially catering to teenagers in 2014, it was no surprise that the products of choice were backpacks and rucksacks, sold under the label ‘Wiki’ or Wildcraft for Kids.

“A lot of youngsters started coming to us asking for solutions for their outdoor needs. The problem is that their body structures are different so the way you design and construct is different than what you do for youngsters. And of course, their choices are very different,” said Gaurav Dublish, who co-founded the firm along with Dinesh K.S. and Siddharth Sood.

In two years, sales from the ‘Wiki’ range already accounts for about 20% of overall business, Dublish and Sood said. In two or three years, Wildcraft plans to open separate standalone stores retailing products only for teenagers and pre-teenagers.

Backpacks and rucksacks, which once accounted for a majority of the firm’s business, now make up less than 50%, mainly because newer categories it has entered over the last few years – apparel and footwear – are much bigger markets and growing rapidly, the founders said.

Roughly 70% of Wildcraft’s product portfolio today is made up of outdoor gear products, which includes backpacks and rucksacks among other products like sleeping bags and tents, 20% is clothing and 10% is footwear.

“Accessories for the young is a fast-growing category with both educational institutions as well as children being the customers. Today we see more than one bag being used per year by young adults and children for school, sports, tuition etc. This is clearly an untapped market with large potential,” said Sreedhar Prasad, partner, KPMG India.

“Clothing and footwear this year will be what the size of Wildcraft was three years back. It’s already become that large,” Dublish said. “They are definitely the fastest growing. The base is small but for us they’ve been successful. We’re seeing triple digit growth. We have a four-year target now of being at about Rs1,000 crore and the mix would be in the range of 50-50 or 60-40 between gear and apparel-footwear,” co-founder Sood added.

The company is launching outdoor sandals next month in footwear for both men and women, and under its outdoor gear category, it has recently launched a backpack that has an external frame that provides support to the back.

Wildcraft has two manufacturing plants – one in Bengaluru and one in Himachal Pradesh – and employs around 2,500 people. It has over 160 stores in 65 cities, including tier II and tier III towns, and also supplies its wares to other countries.

“The company has been able to carve out a clear presence among the vast retail categories in India. With more and more consumers adopting outdoor fashion and accessories as well as increasing their usage of active wear, they have a large market to capture in India as well as the developing markets,” said KPMG’s Prasad.

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