MAR­WARIS AND LUX­URY

Marwar - - Contents -

With chang­ing times and evo­lu­tion of the Mar­wari mind­set, the mean­ing of lux­ury has changed for Mar­waris, who now are more open to lux­ury con­sump­tion. Dr Shee­tal Jain, an en­trepreneur and an in­ter­na­tion­ally pub­lished and quoted lux­ury pro­fes­sional, ex­plores this chang­ing facet of Mar­waris.

The highly suc­cess­ful Mar­wari com­mu­nity has a long tryst with roy­alty, grandeur and lux­ury. The val­ues of thrift have not been lost on them ei­ther, which have pre­vented them from be­ing overly in­dul­gent, un­like some other more os­ten­ta­tious com­mu­ni­ties. With chang­ing times and evo­lu­tion of the Mar­wari mind­set, the mean­ing of lux­ury has changed, how­ever, giving way to more lib­eral think­ing when it comes to lux­ury con­sump­tion. Dr Shee­tal Jain, a Mar­wari en­trepreneur and an in­ter­na­tion­ally pub­lished and quoted lux­ury pro­fes­sional, ex­plores this chang­ing facet of lux­ury among Mar­waris.

The In­dian lux­ury mar­ket is mush­room­ing and counts among the fastest grow­ing in the world. Ac­cord­ing to an ASSOCHAM study, it is es­ti­mated to grow at the rate of 25 per­cent per an­num and reach the $50 bil­lion mark by 2020. This sud­den growth can be at­trib­uted to the chang­ing In­dian mind­set and value sys­tems, grow­ing brand aware­ness among young­sters, mul­ti­ply­ing dis­pos­able in­comes, ur­ban­i­sa­tion and In­dia’s bur­geon­ing mid­dle­class. Given that Mar­waris are con­sid­ered In­dia’s most op­u­lent com­mu­nity, they could very well be­come the flag­bear­ers of the growth of lux­ury brands in In­dia.

The chang­ing face of lux­ury

The younger lot is tak­ing lux­ury to greater heights with var­ied in­dul­gences, thanks to the in­creased avail­abil­ity of global lux­ury brands,

their ex­po­sure to them be­cause of higher in­stances of over­seas travel, so­cial me­dia plat­forms and chang­ing

per­cep­tions about lux­ury among In­dian con­sumers.

The traders, word or ‘Mar­wari’, the baniya in com­mu­nity its truest sense, of Ra­jasthan. refers to The the word ‘Ra­jasthan’, on the other hand, is et­y­mo­log­i­cally de­rived from the words ‘raja’ (king) and ‘sthan’ (land), mean­ing ‘the land of kings’. True enough, Ra­jasthan is still a land of roy­als, con­sid­er­ing that the royal fam­i­lies of Jaipur, Me­war, Jodh­pur, Bikaner, Udaipur and Jaisalmer are still among the pop­u­lar royal fam­i­lies of Ra­jasthan. Fur­ther, the com­mu­nity’s en­tre­pre­neur­ial suc­cess has spawned a pen­chant for jew­ellery, lux­ury cars and other high-end prod­ucts, with which for decades af­flu­ence and lux­ury have been em­bed­ded in the lives of suc­cess­ful Mar­wari fam­i­lies. There­fore, lux­ury is not new to Mar­waris. new mi­grat­ing Mar­war dis­tant Early forms places (a Mar­waris from What re­gion of lux­ury. like their is in Kolkata, new pros­pered Ra­jasthan), home­land, is the Chen­nai, shift af­ter to to Mumbai the they country, flour­ished and where other in these they trad­ing places, set hubs up suc­cess­ful they of be­came busi­nesses. Mar­wari As busi­ness moved to strongholds. these places, Ini­tially, but by and it was by, only their the fam­i­lies men who joined them too. To­day, these bustling Mar­wari hubs are wit­ness­ing a rad­i­cal shift from tra­di­tional Mar­wari cul­ture, be it in terms of life­style, ed­u­ca­tion or pur­chase patterns. Con­ser­vatism, a key char­ac­ter­is­tic of Mar­waris, has thus paved way to dy­namism, in­no­va­tion and open­ness, and this in turn has led to a sig­nif­i­cant trans­for­ma­tion in their lux­ury con­sump­tion be­hav­iour. Lux­ury pur­chases for older gen­er­a­tions of Mar­waris were more value-ori­ented and were re­stricted to items like jew­ellery and cloth­ing; but lux­ury has been tak­ing newer di­men­sions with chang­ing times and emer­gence of new gen­er­a­tions of Mar­waris, es­pe­cially mil­len­ni­als. The younger lot is tak­ing lux­ury to greater heights with var­ied in­dul­gences, thanks to the in­creased avail­abil­ity of global lux­ury brands, their ex­po­sure to them be­cause of higher in­stances of over­seas travel, so­cial me­dia plat­forms and chang­ing per­cep­tions about lux­ury among In­dian con­sumers.

Mar­wari women, then and now

A rich part of Ra­jasthan’s cul­tural her­itage is its al­lur­ing jew­ellery. For years, Mar­wari women have adorned them­selves head to toe with beau­ti­ful pieces of jew­ellery such as borla, nath, rani haar, ba­jubandh, ban­gadi, haath­phool, tagdi, payal and bichuwa, to name a few. Their world was con­fined to the house­hold and they had few as­pi­ra­tions in life. With their lim­ited ed­u­ca­tion, ex­po­sure and knowl­edge, lux­ury for them re­volved around pos­ses­sion of ex­pen­sive jew­ellery, which not only was seen as the best way to splurge money, but also con­sid­ered a valu­able in­vest­ment. How­ever, the new-age Mar­wari woman has trans­formed rad­i­cally: she is more in­de­pen­dent and con­fi­dent; she is no more re­stricted to the house­hold; and she is mak­ing her own mark in so­ci­ety. There has been a change

With time, this mind­set has changed. Young Mar­waris are no more con­fined to spend­ing on just jew­ellery or wed­dings. Rather, they are go­ing be­yond to at­tain in­di­vid­u­al­ity and for self- grat­i­fi­ca­tion.

in her life­style too. Gha­gra-odhani, the tra­di­tional cloth­ing of Mar­wari women, has be­come a rar­ity and can be seen only dur­ing fam­ily wed­dings, and the borla and ghon­gat are con­sid­ered passe. The new Mar­wari woman also is well-ed­u­cated, well-trav­elled and well-versed with global trends. She has tran­si­tioned from saris to shrugs, from pa­jab to an­klets, and from cus­tom­ary cloth­ing to de­signer la­bels. Her wardrobe is no more packed with saris, lehen­gas and kun­dan jew­ellery, but with the per­fect mix of west­ern and tra­di­tional out­fits. Her closet has branded ap­parel, bags, shoes, sun­glasses, per­fumes, and a wide gamut of beauty prod­ucts as well. She wisely chooses the best ac­cou­tre for a given oc­ca­sion and she is no longer hes­i­tant to pur­chase a Louis Vuit­ton bag that is worth a lakh of ru­pees, as she be­lieves in liv­ing for the mo­ment and not sav­ing for the rainy day. She lives for the ex­pe­ri­en­tial value; she loves to spend money on spas; and she prefers to drive a lux­ury sedan, rather than buy loads of jew­ellery. You will be sur­prised to know that the first In­dian woman owner of a Lam­borgh­ini (one of the world’s most lux­u­ri­ous sports cars), is a Mar­wari woman!

Ed­u­ca­tion, then and now

Mar­waris have been known for their en­tre­pre­neur­ial acu­men and adapt­abil­ity. They have been risk-tak­ers, great bar­gain­ers and ven­ture­some, and as such en­trepreneur­ship has been re­lent­lessly en­cour­aged by the Mar­wari com­mu­nity. Ed­u­ca­tion, in the bar­gain, of­ten took a back­seat. It has been a long es­tab­lished tra­di­tion among Mar­waris for sons to join their fam­ily busi­nesses as soon as they pass out from school. There pre­vails a strong be­lief that start­ing a busi­ness will get you more rev­er­ence than a col­lege de­gree. How­ever, in the last few decades this mind­set has changed rad­i­cally. The younger gen­er­a­tion is tak­ing up var­ied ca­reers like ar­chi­tec­ture, ho­tel man­age­ment, fash­ion de­sign­ing, jour­nal­ism and teach­ing. They are trans­form­ing tra­di­tional ap­proaches to busi­ness and em­brac­ing new-age tech­nolo­gies. Mil­len­nial Mar­waris are seen to be more re­cep­tive, dis­cern­ing, ex­per­i­men­tal and are will­ing to ex­plore the world. They are un­re­strained when it comes to in­dulging in new forms of lux­ury and see value in spend­ing on lav­ish cars, va­ca­tions, food and watches.

Ex­trav­a­gance, then and now

Think Mar­waris, think money! Mar­waris are well-known for af­flu­ence, tra­di­tional life­styles, con­ser­vatism and seek "value for money" when it comes to lux­ury in­dul­gences. They be­lieve firmly in fru­gal liv­ing and sav­ing and are con­sid­ered to be among the shrewdest busi­ness­men in the world. A typ­i­cal Mar­wari is known for cal­cu­lat­ing interest be­fore in­vest­ing. For decades, he has spent gen­er­ously on gold jew­ellery, as he sees it as an al­ter­na­tive form of in­vest­ment; but when it comes to spend­ing the same amount on an art piece or de­signer hand­bag (which can also be passed down as legacy to future gen­er­a­tions), he will not even give it a thought—this for him is ut­ter waste of money. How­ever, he wouldn’t hes­i­tate to spend lav­ishly on wed­dings, as that sym­bol­ises his sta­tus in so­ci­ety. But with time, this mind­set has changed. Young Mar­waris are no more con­fined to spend­ing on just jew­ellery or wed­dings. Rather, they are go­ing be­yond to at­tain in­di­vid­u­al­ity and for self-grat­i­fi­ca­tion. They are mov­ing from ex­ter­nal to in­ter­nal­i­sa­tion of lux­ury; they are look­ing for ex­pe­ri­ences that help them ex­press who they are.

In con­clu­sion, one can say that Mar­waris have changed to il­lus­trate a new ma­tu­rity in their ori­en­ta­tion to­wards con­sump­tion of lux­ury goods and ser­vices. Mil­len­ni­als es­pe­cially have evolved in pace with global trends. To­day’s Mar­wari lux­ury buy­ers are driven by clas­sic char­ac­ter­is­tics of lux­ury such as rar­ity, qual­ity, crafts­man­ship, tech­nol­ogy and aes­thet­ics. Homes of af­flu­ent Mar­wais are lav­ish and are adorned with seam­less, ex­cep­tional decor. They also have be­come glo­be­trot­ters and flaunt lux­ury brands that range from Man­ish Mal­ho­tra to Michael Kors; from Sab­hyasachi to Jimmy Choo; from Mercedes to Porsche... They may still not be as flam­boy­ant as some other com­mu­ni­ties, but they in­deed present a wealth of op­por­tu­nity to In­dian and global lux­ury brands eye­ing growth in the In­dian sub-con­ti­nent.

Above: Dr Shee­tal Jain (Dr Jain is the founder of Luxe An­a­lyt­ics, a lux­ury mar­ket con­sult­ing firm and a lux­ury spe­cial­ist. She is also an in­ter­na­tion­ally pub­lished and quoted lux­ury pro­fes­sional and one of the pi­o­neers of In­dian lux­ury con­sumer re­search in In­dia.)

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.