Jitendra Chauhan, Jade Blue
A tailor’s shop set the foundation stone to what has envisaged as Jade Blue today. The brand has made its mark and laid down its territory. But it has had to climb quite a few steps to reach this height. When you see success like that, you just know that
How many stores does Jade Blue have today?
Jade Blue has 18 stores today with 13 of them in Gujarat and 5 of them outside Gujarat including Hyderabad, Raipur, Nagpur, Indore and Udaipur. The Hyderabad store which is 17000 sq. ft is our largest store and the Nagpur store which is 1800 sq. ft is the smallest. We have a value for money brand as well which is called Greenfibre and it has 27 stores; 24 out of those are in Gujarat, 2 in Hyderabad and 1 in Indore.
What is your target customer base?
We cater to the upper middle class and the classes above that. We are a focused men’s wear brand. The age group that usually visits our stores is 30+. But in the past few years we have started stocking brands which would attract the younger crowd as well. We are marketing on the same lines as well. For our ethnic collection, we have always had younger crowd too.
Jade Blue is a successful brand today. How did your journey start?
I was born into a tailoring family. Fabric and stitching are in my genes and i have grown up with that. By the time I finished my SSc., I could very well make shirts. I graduated in Arts and started my own tailoring studio in 1981. There was no looking back from that point onward. Word of mouth publicity made me a good name in my business. My ambitions made me start my own brand “The
Peak Point.” Since the beginning, i have been a staunch believer in the idea of a brand. It was in 1995 that i acquired a 2800 sq. ft space on C.G road, the retail hub of Ahmedabad, and Jade Blue was born. I was very clear on the positioning of Jade Blue as a premium retail shop-stop. But we did have customers who demanded lower budget merchandise. That is when Greenfibre was launched in 1997 to cater to those customers. In 1999, Jade Blue became an MBO in its true sense.
How did you come up with the name Jade Blue?
When i wanted to launch a brand, an architect friend of mine, Nilendu Shah advised me to approach Subhroto Bhaumik, Creative Head at Mudra Communications then. Mr. Bhaumik came up with the name Jade Blue. I had briefed him that it should address a premium nature and have the initials ‘J’ and ‘B’, for me and my brother Bipin. Jade is a precious stone and blue is a man’s colour. That was his logic behind creating the name.
How did the transition from unorganized to organized retail happen for you?
The retail scenario expanded and we had to keep more and more brands. Also, our inhouse brand Jade Blue was not a very big brand. To keep the customer in-flow coming we increased the number of brands. Customer satisfaction is of prime importance. In 1999, Jade Blue became an MBO in its true sense. We housed brands like Pepe Jeans, Levi’s, ColorPlus, Provogue etc. We acquired a 5500 sq. ft. of space above the existing store for the MBO to function. Over the years, with market progression, Jade Blue also extends its reach.
How did you market Jade Blue?
Since inception, the target segmet for Jade Blue was defined. The brand has refined itself with the customers. My outdoor advertising campaigns functioned on the idea of premium wear. Our service ensured customer loyalty. So, there was lot of word of mouth publicity as well. Advertising did give us a position in the market, but word of mouth publicity made our name what it is today.
What is your customer research like?
More than customer research we require market research. We keep a tab on brands and current fashion trends. When entering new cities, we require a detailed market research. Our in-house teams go the concerned city for a few days for a survey and understand the market demands there.
How important do you think store design is? How much do you spend on it?
It is one of the most important selling points of the store. All my stores are designed by Amit Aurora, DCA, Delhi. The grand feel of the store is communicated through the design. It leaves an impression on the customer’s mind as to how the brand is positioned. It has a great contribution towards ensuring customer loyalty. We might be spending 20% more for store design, but it is definitely worth it. We spend about Rs. 3300-3500 per sq. ft.
How about your VM strategies?
We are associated with an agency called FSL advertising. They advise us on marketing and merchandising. They do the VM for us as well. We give them the brief as per our campaign and they come up with the concept. For instore VM, the brands we house themselves advise us on the VM based on their current VM concepts.
With your expansion rate, do you calculate returns on your investments?
In the retail world today, expansion is the only way to survive. It is vital for growth as there is lot of competition. Profits are reducing due to that. So expansion has to happen to increase turnover and balance the income.
What are your expansion plans now?
We have a new store coming up in Hyderabad. We are also focusing on expanding our brand JB Studio which is an evening wear brand for men and caters to exclusive customers. JB Studio has a store coming up in Mumbai now.
Any other thoughts on your story?
Hard work is the only secret. Thoughtful decisions have to be taken before expanding. My knowledge of cloth and stitching quality has brought me a long way. I am lucky to have a very good team and a lot of credit goes to them as well