Gitanjali

Nakshtra, Asmi, D'dmas, Sangini


  Gianjali Group.. Leads in branding Jewellery marke in India.

Whether poor or rich, everybody dreams. Your dream can be small or big depending on your aspirations. But Mehul Choksi, Chairman & Managing Director, Gitanjali Group is the man who has added one more option to the types of dream size; a huge dream-he believes in grand and giant dream business plans. However, dreaming huge is not an achievement. Choksi's huge dreams are special because he has not only dared to dream huge but also translated those dreams into reality.

Mehul Choksi joined his father's business in 1981-the group was mainly into diamond cutting and polishing that time. He formed the flagship company of the group in 1985. He steered the forward integration of the company into the field of jewellery manufacturing particularly for exports, and in 1994 developed India's first line of branded jewellery, Gili making Gitanjali pioneer in the branded jewellery. The group has successfully launched and developed many jewellery brands later-specifically diamond jewellery brands such as Nakshtra, Asmi, D'dmas, Sangini, etc. Today the branded jewellery business is almost an equal contributor to the group's turnover as the five decade old diamond business.

Commenting on the journey from a traditional diamentaire family to multi-crore luxury retail giant, Choksi says, "It has been challenging as well as rewarding and it gives me great satisfaction to see plans materializing and my vision become a reality. My vision was of a modern jewellery industry catering to a modern India, and I am happy to see it bearing fruit." Choksi gives full credit for his success to his father's vision-his father taught him to think beyond the present.

LEADING TOWARDS LUXURY SPACE :: GITANJALI

After developing a fully integrated business model-starting from procuring diamonds, cutting and polishing diamonds, jewellery manufacturing, jewellery brands to jewellery retail, Choksi wants to create a new identity for Gitanjali. He wants Gitnajali to be recognised as a global luxury jewellery and fashion accessories retailer with strong Asian roots. According to Choksi, the luxury segment has great potential to grow in India. He says, "The jewellery and watches category occupies important place in the Indian luxury market space as per A T Kearney study. And the emergence of newly rich consumer class in India will work in favour of luxury market."

"But the luxury market remains underdeveloped due to lack of luxury retail space, and government restrictions, some of which are gradually being removed", adds Choksi

The group forayed into jewellery retailing in the late 1990s and introduced a number of modern retail formats-particularly lifestyle and department stores to the Indian jewellery industry. The group has successfully expanded into the jewellery retail space both in India and abroad. Now the group is further integrating jewellery products into the larger luxury-lifestyle retail space, and have set up a separate company Gitanjali Lifestyle Limited (GLL)-the lifestyle retail arm of group. Under GLL, the group has already launched luxury jewellery showrooms like Giantti, Maya Jewels, and Maya Weddings & Occasions.

CHALLENGES-CUM-OPPORTUNITIES FOR GITANJALI

When one look at the huge jewellery empire built up by Choksi, the obvious question comes to mind that how he did it. He must have faced many challenges, but how he dealt with them. Choksi thinks every challenge is one more opportunity to grow. The positive outlook towards problems helped him to transcend them into opportunities. He looked at the year of recession too as a year of opportunities. He says, "The recession period was good for business expansion and development due to favourable real estate prices"

The biggest challenge faced by Choksi while building jewellery conglomerate of India was to introduce professionalism into a very traditional industry, and to guide the forward integration of the diamond business, first into jewellery manufacturing and then into pioneering branded jewellery and retailing. In the latter phase, the challenge was to understand the changing consumer mindset, cater to the varied needs of a vast market like India, and also of the different international markets. "But these challenges have been successfully overcome and today Gitanjali has successfully developed a range of brands with appeal to different segments", says Choksi.

The credit for Gitanjali's success goes to aggressive marketing strategies of Choksi. He believes in power of media and understands importance of public relations. The Gitanjali Group is the most visible company in media among jewellery companies today. The launch of almost all Gitanjali's brands and initiatives are backed up by great vision of Choksi as well as advertising and media campaign. He also realizes the charisma of bollywood movies and stars-film personalities as brand ambassadors have greatly increased brands' visibility.

VISION AND AMBITION OF GITANJALI

Choksi's working area is not only limited to his business, but he also wants to take the Indian gems and jewellery industry to next level. He is the Convener of FICCI gems and jewellery committee and under his leadership the first international gems and jewellery conference held in Mumbai on January 15. He was chairman of the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council in the mid 1990s too.

He cherishes a very prosperous outlook towards Indian gem and jewellery industry. He feels that India can become important for the jewellery industry. India has history of centuries in jewellery-it has treasure of creative designers, state-of the-art jewellery manufacturing companies and skilled labourers available at the economical rate. According to him, the next move for the industry should be further integration of the businesses-moving up the value chain, achieving higher price for the product through branding and increase margins by widening the gap between cost of raw materials and realized price of finished product.

Though Choksi has earned incredible status in the business world, he still feels his dream remains unfulfilled yet. "I would like to build my company into an LVMH with an Asian identity. Also I would like to ensure that at least 10% of those employed by my company, if not the industry are from the category of people with disabilities", shares his dreamcum-ambition. The group was honoured with the national award for the year 2009 by government of India as a best employer for the empowerment of Persons with Disabilities. Hence, his role model is none other than Bernard Arnault, Chairman of LVMH. Looking at his unbelievable journey so far, it wouldn't come as a big surprise if he builds his company into Asian LVMH in few years. But it is sure that the man who enjoys sailing and yachting-that depicts movements will never stop. Then he will fix up another goal for himself and will move forward.