As India gains prominence on the world stage, it is interesting to see when some brands, present a new chapter, a new take on design, rooted in culture yet contemporary and fresh!Founded in 2008 with their first store in Delhi, Play Clan, aims to combine Fashion Art & Design to create collections inspired by everyday observations, representing a modern interpretation of India, in a playful and storytelling style. Play Clan offers ‘Affordable Design’, across a range of products in Home, Fashion, Accessories, Stationery and Gifting. The interesting aspect of the brand is its anthropological take on life and its philosophy to have fun and break away from convention – as we say – ‘a parallel world an alternate reality’
Now a team of 100+, the operations are divided in three parts, i.e : Brand and Design Team - that looks after all the branding and product development stages; Production Team– A complete in-house facility in the NCR region that produces the items and warehouses them; and the Retail Team – They have 8 stores across India, in Saket- New Delhi, Lodhi Colony- New Delhi, Bandra – Mumbai, Goa, Pune, Chennai, Pondicherry & Fort Kochi, and each one of these are self-owned.
Their e-commerce portal has just taken off and is a small percentage of the business that they hope to grow this year with daily traffic of 200 to 300. They are launching their new online site for worldwide delivery soon and are also planning to open 3 more stores by the end of 2012.
Play Clan continuously collaborates with complimenting brands to reach out and also to explore their creative energies. These collaborations include ‘A Tale of Two Cities DEL-LON-DEL’, a collaboration collection by Play Clan for Paul Smith sold at the Paul Smith Stores, ‘Absolut Architecture by Play Clan’ for Absolut, Play Clan for Tokyo Fashion Week in India and a Global collaboration with Denizen, Levi's.Starting Up and Challenges:
Play Clan started without a business plan and more like a project, without any major expectations. It was an experimental platform and the high was to design and retail their designs without external pressures or control. That is how, they went about to call it ‘PLAY.’
It was a self-funded project and with the fairly good response, they were encouraged to reach out to more cities. It now supports itself and is hoping to grow without compromising the core idea. They are certainly looking at a strategic investor, but one, that in not just for funding but helps build the brand.
However, Founder Himanshu Dogra, an NIFT Delhi alumnus, did have his share of challenges while starting Play Clan. “Retail in India is a tough zone with big names and high rentals. Innovation and experimentation are resource intensive, and we are hoping that we grow well enough to fuel them” he tells YourStory. “For a startup to get the balance between product innovation, production and finances, is a tough one. Not compromising on your core thoughts and working towards your goals tirelessly is the only way, and one should be ready for it.”
He believes the USP of Play Clan is its story telling and playfulness that is the foundation of all the products, collections & collaborations. “We give a lot of emphasis to the experience right from the packaging to the retail space. To stand out, one must have a signature style, beyond the logo, recallable and distinct” he concludes.Himanshu Dogra was the finalist of British Council’s Young Design Entrepreneur Awards, 2011. To know more about the Young Design Entrepreneur Awards, click here. Follow the Young Creative Entrepreneur Awards (YCE) on Facebook