Deccan Chronicle

Stars & Co = Big bucks?

Deccan Chronicle.| Noor Anand Chawla

Published on: October 3, 2023 | Updated on: October 3, 2023
Alia took to her Instagram handle and announced her collaboration with the Ambanis

Alia took to her Instagram handle and announced her collaboration with the Ambanis

Alia Bhatt (30) is at the top of her game. She is the reigning queen of Bollywood, the nation’s sweetheart, a global ambassador for India, and the idealpicture of a modern woman who balances the demands of family and career with elan. She is also an astute businesswoman who seems to be on the path to assured success. The reason for this surety is the recent investment by business magnate Isha Ambani into her brand Ed-a-Mamma, which makes conscious clothing for children and expecting mothers.

Ambani has acquired 51 percent of Bhatt’s company through Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd. (RRVL).

Alia took to her Instagram handle and announced her collaboration with the Ambanis, "Delighted to share that Ed-a-Mamma and RRVL have entered into a joint venture. Ed-a-Mamma is a bootstrapped venture with a big heart. What we have in common is our dream to continue the work of building a homegrown, vocal-for-local brand of children’s products that are safe, parent-friendly and planet-friendly. On a more personal note, for Isha and me, this is also about two moms coming together. That just makes it so much more special."

Ambani too resonated with this thought. She said, "At Reliance, we have always admired brands that lead with a strong purpose and embody a unique design ethos exemplified perfectly by Ed-a-Mamma and its founder Alia Bhatt.

With sustainability as its core proposition, the brand has garnered acclaim for its meticulous attention to detail, using ethically sourced materials and eco-conscious production processes. This aligns seamlessly with Reliance Brands’ vision of fostering a more responsible future for the fashion industry."

While the results of this partnership remain to be seen, one wonders whetherthese partnerships are based on sound financial decisions, or are simply passing trends. According to investor, finance content creator, and co-founder of Goela School of Finance, Harsh Goela, investors feel that ventures supported by Bollywood stars are good platforms because of the spotlight shining on them. He says, "When a Bollywood star aligns with a startup, regardless of their ownership stake, it casts a spotlight on the venture and essentially anoints it with a celebrity brand ambassador. Such associations enhance credibility and visibility."

Finance content creator Chandralekha MR believes that business moguls findvalue in these kind of ventures because of the readily available customer base they get access to, which can run in the millions. "Fans aren’t just people who watch movies, they are also people who love these celebrities. Hence, they become the first target market to buy the products that are sold by the stars."

What about the stars? As most of them come from positions of privilege and power, often with deep pockets of their own, how does a partnership of this nature benefit them? Chrandralekha highlights that stars have money but may not have business development skills which is brought on through investors.

Business coach Rajiv Talreja refers to these collaborations as "perfect partnerships". He explains, "The Bollywood star can penetrate the market with their existing fans and followers, and the Ambani’s can bring in the organizational skills, the scale-up skills and take the brand to the next level. It’s the perfect marriage!"

However, Talreja doesn’t feel that this perfect marriage has a higher likelihood of succeeding in comparison to regular business ventures as, "Many Bollywood stars have started brands but it’s not like all of them have worked in the market.
At the end of the day, it is the function of the product quality, getting the product market fit right and other factors at play.
There isn’t a higher likelihood of success just because Bollywood marries business, but there is ahigher or easier penetration in the market. It’s a good jump start but no guarantee of long-term success."

Tejas Joshi, finance content creator agrees with this assessment, "While the endorsement of a Bollywood star can create initial buzz and visibility for a business, the success of a venture still primarily hinges on its core strengths, market conditions, and competition." He also highlights another interesting point: in some cases, the association with a celebrity could even overshadow the business’s value proposition, making it challenging to assess its true potential.

Ambani has displayed a penchant for partnering with businesses and products that are new and trendy (a recent example of which is her beauty e-commerceplatform Tira) and so this joint venture with Bhatt is in line with her business philosophy. It is still uncertain, however, if this trend will lead to more partnerships with other Bollywood celebrities in the future. The success of such collaborations will depend on their ability to deliver real value to consumers. For now, the ground is open, let’s see whether other business magnates and Bollywood stars join hands or if this trend remains just that – a passing trend.

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