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Manufacturing is our Passion and Key Strength: Rajesh Mehra, Director & Promoter, Jaquar Group
In our recent episode of BWDialogue, we had the pleasure of speaking with Rajesh Mehra, Director & Promoter, Jaquar Group, about the trajectory of the brand, what makes Jaquar a category captain and his vision of touching a billion dollars of revenue in the coming few years.
Photo Credit :
Rajesh Mehra, Jaquar Group
Built on the ethos of offering the highest quality standards, building strong consumer-relations, integrity, providing world-class products and taking care of the people, Jaquar Group is an illustrious and celebrated name in the bathroom fittings and lighting category.
Currently manufacturing 28 million bath fillings for nearly 2.4 million bathrooms each year, an undisputed market leader that it is, Jaquar has been proving its mettle from the past 60 young years, as Mehra fondly likes to call it.
Here are the excerpts from the latest episode of BWDialogue, chaired by Anurag Batra, Chairman & Editor-in-Chief, BW Businessworld, and Exchange4Media Group:
The Jaquar Journey
Mehra dearly remembers how his father was rather pushed into this business in 1960, after his partner backed out at the last moment. It was a fairly new industry when ‘Essco’, their value for money bath brand, was born. Today, with innovation, marketing potency and consumer need at the core, the second and third generation of the family is successfully augmenting the brand’s values and offerings in India and abroad.
Speaking on the incredible journey of the brand, Mehra adds, “My father’s only capital was his hardwork and determination. Ever since, we have been gradually progressing, building the business in a consistent manner. We have tried to bring a complete change in the designs, products, customer experience, etc., keeping the consumer requirements in mind.”
Findings from the Formative Years
As a natural consequence, the brand did face resistance and apprehension from dealers & other buyers in its initial years. They took the route of live functioning and buy-when-you-believe policy to convince everyone around. This approach helped them dispel the doubts and get a mammoth of buyers on board.
Mehra shares here, “Once you overcome this initial situation, then there is no looking back. We take pride in saying that we have never lost our customers. We are a relationship-based company. We believe in maintaining the best relations and dealings. It is simple- you take care of the customers and they will take care of you.”
The brand runs on a simple and straightforward approach. Everyone has their dedicated work spheres. That’s what makes Jaquar operate in an organised manner.
Mehra realised it quite early that it is important to look at the practicality and ground-reality of the business and chart out plans accordingly. “One must follow values and principles and never shy away from challenging himself. Do the basics right and that will give you the best of dividends”, he believes.
He also added, “With 3 diverse segments (Essco, Jaquar & Artize), the hard work tripled. Yet, we did everything keeping a long-term in mind and are reaping the fruits today.”
Ever since its inception, Jaquar has been a self-reliant brand. Today, it is not just a front-runner in India, but overseas too. Staying true to the fundamentals has been the key to Jaquar’s success.
Mehra explains here, “For any brand to make its mark, patience and efforts are required in abundance. For us, we made sure our fundamentals remained the same. Our strength rested in responding to the market challenges and the customer needs. We realised that the only way to win the global market was by catering to the needs of all segments and offer a vast portfolio.”
Today, the brand has 15 stores globally and operates in over 45 countries in Europe, Middle East, South East Asia, Africa, and SAARC region.
Triumphing the Pandemic
The outcomes of the pandemic were rather buoyant for the brand. However, the initial response did involve combatting the not-so-ordinary complex situation. Mehra shares, “With the restrictions that the pandemic elicited, it was quite daunting for us in the beginning. However, we took it in our stride, explored the opportunities and worked on the challenges. The whole company adapted to this testing time and we are happy with the results today. Nothing to complain!”
On being asked if any special consumer-connect initiatives were carried out during the pandemic, he says, “Our marketing & manufacturing did bear the brunt of the pandemic. But as an entrepreneur, one must find a way out. We adopted newer techniques & developed virtual tools (showroom tours, e-demo, walk-throughs, online presentations, etc.) to sail through this time. Interestingly, this multiplied our interaction with the customers, especially the builders. We believe to have drawn a big advantage of this situation and observed an increase in productivity.”
Just like any other brand, Jaquar too has its goals well in place. They have an ambitious target of doubling their revenues in the coming few years. The brand recorded a turnover of INR 3561 Crores in 2019-20, with a 60% market share in the organized bath fittings category.
Talking of their global expansion, Mehra describes, “We saw the opportunity of growing overseas well in advance. But with the influence of corona, the current problem is with the increasing exchange rates. We did feel the heat of the pandemic and had to push our plans for a few months. We need to do a lot in expanding our capacity, and hence, are investing cautiously and manufacturing carefully. The base is definitely set and we hope to attain our target soon.”
On being asked about their diversification plans, Mehra express, “With manufacturing being our passion and key strength, there’s still lot to do in the bathroom and lighting segment itself. We still have newer ideas that haven’t been served on the table. The horizon keeps expanding and we still need to go a long way.
While we are clear for next 3-4 years, we will not be exploring any new avenues. We see ourselves as a focussed company and wish to engage with just two verticals only, at least for the time being.”
It is no hidden fact that we are all grappling with the effects of the pandemic in our own ways. It sure is an unfavourable situation for the mankind. In his bidding words, Mehra assures, “My message to all the readers is to stay tough. India is known to have a strong economy and market. There sure are plenty of restrictions right now, but once we are out of this, India and its industrial activity will bounce back in a big way, hopefully in the next 6 months.”