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

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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

Ji­ten­dra Chauhan

Jade Blue

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