DON’T MISS THE FRUITY SCENTS when Archie Comics’ co-chief executive Nancy Silberkleit hands out her business card. (Betty and Veronica on either side. Cute!) It’s a whiff of the next big plan that “Archie’s Accidental Boss” (see Fortune India, January 2011) has for the franchise: signature perfumes. Perfume manufacturer York Transnational, headed by Jodhpur (Rajasthan) boy Sandeep Kapoor, has brought the line to India.
The perfumes—choose from Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead—have already been launched in India, where the industry is estimated to be $700 million (Rs 3,798.2 crore) and growing at 40% annually. A bottle is priced at Rs 600 and available at York’s Perfume Station stores across the country.
York is also in talks to create another line for the U.S. “The perfumes are not available in the U.S., though a lot of them may be reaching the country through online sales,”
York manufactures the line with exclusive marketing rights in the SAARC region. Kapoor, managing director of York, says “it doesn’t make international sales through our stores”.
Silberkleit says there is an opportunity for the freckled American icon to make his presence felt here through the comics. One store in New Delhi alone sells about 1.5 million Archie comics annually. “I will go back to the Archie empire of editors and graphic artists to tell them how India can figure in the comic books.” Spoiler: It won’t be the first Indian link—Archie’s buddy Raj Patel debuted in 2007.
Silberkleit is taking the “direct marketing” approach to grow the brand. “We need creative thinkers today to solve problems. All CEOs come with a different slant.” Hers is highlighting the brand as the comic book of choice in the classroom. Plans are to further capture the global culture in the U.S. schools and colleges. And having been an arts teacher for 25 years, Silberkleit is comfortable with keeping her teaching hat on as she goes about her CEO duties. Being part of a graphics company where school is centrestage works for her. “I align myself as a teacher in Riverdale High with Mr Weatherbee as my principal,” she says, smiling.