About Planet Superheroes:
Planet Superheroes is a premier omni-channel brand selling licensed merchandise in India. Along with an online channel delivering products all over the country, we also have 25+ retail stores across metro as well as non-metro locations in India. Before our launch in 2014, the comic fan community in India was hungry for a brand that provided officially licensed character merchandise. Fans would either have to get official products from international markets at a higher price or go to the local market which was widely polluted with counterfeit products. This led us to take the leap of faith and provide the Indian customers what they wanted – value for money and consistent quality over the counterfeit products.
We have partnered with almost every major licensor like Disney, Warner Brothers, EONE, Viacom, Spin Master, Hasbro and many others to bring joy to our end customers across age categories from Pre-Schoolers to hardcore Action Figure Collectors who have no age limit! We host a collection of 50+ categories from Apparel, Toys, Collectibles, Electronics to Accessories and more. We have also established a pan India distribution in the toys category to cater to the Mom and Pop Stores of India that still rely on traditional distribution channels.
As one of the earliest licensed merchandise brands, we started focusing on creating ‘character merchandise’ as a category in itself. It helped us become a forerunner in bringing this concept to end consumers. Brands like Hamleys, Reliance, Lifestyle etc. also sell character merchandise in silos under Apparel, Electronics and Toys, but we’ve taken a contrarian “curated category” approach on the lines of other global players in the world that have succeeded in this space.
In just under five years, we’ve been able to establish ourselves as a market leader in terms of retail footprint and in the breadth of characters and categories we sell. We successfully executed our first 5 stores and proved our value addition. This led to many malls approaching us to become a part of their new launches owing to the uniqueness and customer engagement value that we’d bring. We currently work with almost all the marquee mall developers in India like Phoenix Malls, Viviana, Nexus, Infiniti, VR Mall and Forum to id a few. We have also been actively participating in Comic Con India and have been winners of the Comic-Con Gold Awards for two years in succession.
Some awards and recognition we’ve received over the years:
Challenges faced due to Covid-19 and steps taken:
Covid-19 has impacted every business, big or small but for us at Planet Superheroes, people matter more than the business. We’ve always put the safety of our team above the monetary benefits. We started work-from-home for our team a week before the official lockdown was announced and our entire warehouse team had been on paid leave for 2 months. After the Phase 1 lifting of lockdown, we started our warehouse operations partially. But all the other team members continue to work-from-home even when private offices have been allowed to open.
From the business perspective, we have been able to use this time to focus our energies into developing a new, revamped website that is set to provide an easy and hassle-free experience to our customers. We are a brand with a technology DNA and have been investing in leveraging automation, data-warehousing and intelligent algorithms even before the lockdown and its impacts started showing. While most brands with retail presence 5x our size have now started thinking about these avenues, we have already been taking efforts to crack the complex world of omni-channel inventory management and building a robust tech infrastructure in order to cater to the evolving needs of our customers.
Outlook on the future:
After ensuring the safety of all our stakeholders and managing efficient cash flow, we are planning to scale up our omni-channel operations. We are also looking forward to developing alternate distribution channels to equip ourselves for the forthcoming challenges of the post-Covid world.
We opened our newest store in Jalandhar after the COVID-19 lockdown was lifted and we plan to continue the expansion of our retail footprint into territories that are underserved. Our growth has been a result of a process driven approach which has also helped us raise ~USD 3 Mn/ INR 21 Cr. in our Series A round. We are now open to conversations for our Series B investment.
Jaineel is the co-founder and CEO at Planet Superheroes. He is experienced in Strategy Consulting and Private Equity from his work at The Parthenon Group and Baring Private Equity Asia in the past. He is a passionate entrepreneur and a team leader with an inexhaustible drive for growth & success with a pinch of humor.
Originally published on Explorebit.io ; Written by yours truly 🙂