By\u00a0Sonam Saini Denmark-based sportswear company Hummel recently signed on Bollywood actor Kartik Aaryan to be its representative in India. Soumava Naskar of Hummel India tells Sonam Saini that the company is looking to expand its online and offline footprint, while also investing in marking its official arrival in the Indian market. Edited excerpts: What makes Hummel stand out from other international sportswear brands which have a head start in India? In terms of quality and product offering, most international brands follow genuine standards. But the interesting fact about Hummel is that a lot of our sourcing happens in India. We are looking at other Asian countries as well. We want to develop India as a regional hub, catering to all the neighbouring countries from the perspective of exports and growth. Another differentiator is that our products are not priced exorbitantly high. Since your online launch in India in April 2018, what has been the response? The response has been terrific, which is why we decided to enter India with our own subsidiary. As per data from Jabong and Myntra, we enjoy 91% repeat purchase in our segment. Sneakers, running shoes, tracksuits and t-shirts are some of our popular categories. We will be launching a bigger range, while also launching our own website in March. Hummel products will be available across e-commerce platforms by March 31. ALSO READ: Air India cuts J&K airfares, caps ticket prices at Rs 5,000, waives cancellation fees How do you define your target audience? From which markets do you see growth coming in? The Hummel range in India targets 16-45 year-olds, primarily a young crowd. Our global range, however, has products for infants as well. Therefore, once we launch our kids range in the country, we will target that audience as well. We talk to a very large and diverse audience. The whole spirit of Hummel is to move much beyond one\u2019s potential. While tier I and II cities contribute the most, we also see demand from North India and the North East, in addition to Mumbai and Bengaluru. Our offline store expansion has been mapped around these hotspots. How many offline stores are in the pipeline? We are targetting 15 exclusive brand stores (EBOs) in FY 2019, and a similar number in the year after. Multi-brand outlets (MBOs) will also be a part of our strategy, but we will stick to large-format stores like Lifestyle or Shoppers Stop. We will launch a couple of flagship stores in India, in Mumbai or New Delhi. These will have the entire range of Hummel products, while the other stores will have products catering to the market need. We also plan to bring our kids\u2019 range to India. This segment is quite strong in Europe. What is your pricing strategy? We have products starting at Rs 999 (flip-flops) going upto Rs 15,000 (high-end jackets or sneakers). At a Hummel store, there will be products available at various price points. Also, there will be no difference between online and offline pricing. How is the Indian market different from the other countries that Hummel is present in? In terms of physical retail, it\u2019s much easier to do business outside India, due to the high rentals here. The rent to revenue ratio in India versus other countries is much higher. But when it comes to our online penetration, India is much ahead of other countries. We are going to have a nice balance between our offline and online stores, as both have to go hand in hand. What is your strategy on the marketing front? Are you looking at sports sponsorships? We have already signed up our first brand ambassador, Bollywood actor Kartik Aaryan, a few weeks back. We will be spending close to $2.5-3 million in the next fiscal, initially for brand building and marketing, including stores launches. We will be disbursing 10% of our revenue towards marketing spends. Starting with digital initially, we will go across major online platforms to reach out to consumers, along with outdoor, activation and sponsorship support. Once we have enough number of stores, we will start rolling out television ads. Sponsorship, for us, comes with a cause. We will try to find a partner who is genuinely trying to change the world of sports, because that's our vision.