Did you know you could buy coffee grown by Indian tribal farmers in Paris? “I helped them make the world’s best coffee, and it sold by itself,” says Manoj Kumar, the director of Araku, which has several stores in the City of Light, famed for its luxury boutiques.
Yes, luxury — that was the theme of a riveting panel discussion at Robb Report Limited Edition 2018, featuring Kumar and heads of other exciting Indian brands. And if you’ve ever wondered how to sell Made In India products to a global clientele, these panelists can give you some clues.
“Your product needs to speak to a larger audience,” said ace designer Raghavendra Rathore. “The idea is to be able to understand how to mix the aesthetics of our culture and our rich heritage while keeping the product sophisticated.”
Tarang Arora, the creative director of the Jaipur jewellery house Amrapali, says the Indian touch needs to be taken with “minimalism”. That’s where Indian brands “go overboard, make things a lot more complicated,” he said.
“You can do that [be minimalistic] with Indian looks, Indian motifs, Indian craftsmanship.”
What’s it like for Amrapali to go up against big foreign brands like Harry Winston? “We are the point of difference,” Arora said. “Taking that Indian essence to the world — making a client think, when they think about jewellery from India, [that] it should be Amrapali — that has been the goal which we’ve been working towards.”
‘AN ESSENCE OF INDIA, NOT INDIA IN YOUR FACE’
“You can’t just put on elephants and camels and then hope that everyone takes it.”
That’s how Gautam Sinha, the founder of Nappa Dori, which makes luxury luggage and accesories, explained the importance of adapting to an international palette.
“A basic example is food. In restaurants, we…adjust the recipe for the international palette. We don’t make it super spicy.”
“We [Nappa Dori] show an essence of India,” said Sinha, who is a graduate of the National Institute of Fashion Technology. “We don’t show India in your face. And that’s something that’s worked for us.”
Try Calicut and Madurai Talkies for an essence of India. No, it’s not what you think — these are the names of perfumes designed by Manan Gandhi’s Bombay Perfumery. “The whole idea was to distill Indian fragrance ingredients and Indian olfactory experiences with a modern spotlight,” he said.
“We try to make fragrances which are distinctive, [in] which Indian ingredients are the champions of the fragrance, and I think we have an interesting enough product where people want to check it out.”
We’ve heard from experts in fashion and food. What about real estate? What do homebuyers want?
“Customers are not looking at buying homes anymore,” said Cherryn Dogra, Head – Marketing, DLF Ltd. “They’re buying an experience. They’re world travellers. They’re not looking at a place where they would just come and relax…They’re looking at a place where every single time of their life is an experience.”
Curious to know more? A video of this Robb Report Limited Edition 2018 session will soon be added to this story. Stay tuned.