Exclusive Interview: Mukul Kashyap, Subcontinent India Manager, Lino Manfrotto

 
Mukul Kashyap

Mukul Kashyap, Subcontinent India Manager – Liaison Office, Lino Manfrotto + Co. spa India

Mukul Kashyap talks about the photography industry today and the direction Manfrotto will be taking in the coming  years.

This year will be highlighted by lots of bags with more vibrancy and utilities. There are either bags that are great from a utility point of view and some that are great to look at. We are combining both together in the collection to be released this year. India will witness lots of exciting products from Manfrotto like Twistgrip msclamp, LED lights, Fluid monopods, new heads. They will be launched in India by mid-July.

The technology landscape is changing rapidly. There is a lot of focus in integrating hardware and software, especially in the tablet sector. Photographers want things that work seamlessly. This is evident from the rise of compact DSLRs which have found a sweet spot between compacts and DLSRs. This means we have to design products with different payloads in mind. Hobbyists want something light and flexible, amateurs want something that can work with their smartphones and professionals want hybrid products that work with both photo and video. This has made us to back to the drawing board and come up with product designs that go with the changing trend. In short, us or any other player, if they do not innovate, they will cease to exist.

Indian market is one of the strongest zone of trade. As of now we face three main challenges in this market:

1. Dealers are still box sellers. They are traders who happen to be in the photography industry. Very few actually know the width and breadth of the product they are selling

2. The onset of e-commerce- On one hand it is great to buy online with a click but India has a complex taxation environment. Till GST comes into play, it is not a level playing field because some take advantages of tax loopholes

3. Weakening Rupee. Since we started the Indian rupee has keep losing against the euro. This increases our landing costs and these are factors that are beyond our control but then the consumer chooses cheaper alternatives, especially from cheaper Asian countries where they are usually under invoiced.

The only solution to this is evolution. If the economy picks up and if the Government brings in GST quickly, it will improve things dramatically and we have to continue training and educating the dealers at grass root level to improve their knowledge so that they can make an effective sale.

We do not need steps for a shiner future. Our company thinks of  it as a culture. The company’s core philosophy is constant innovation. The culture at Manfrotto and the VITEC group as a whole is to innovate. This innovation does not happen at just the R&D level, it happens across the chain, right from the marketing team, product to the guy on the shop floor. This has helped the brand reach this far….so the future seems bright at Manfrotto.

As told to Sakshi Parikh

 

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