The Niche Clientele
In spite of the economic state of affairs, the Indian consumer is discerning, but also a generous spender
Photo Credit : Ritesh Sharma
My first luxury buy was a Lady Dior black velvet bag with gold charms in Paris, in the late 80s. Being the hugest Galliano fan, it was an unaffordable indulgence but guilt was not an emotion I felt, only elation and the kind of excitement that is almost weird. So to find my way into the ateliers of Dior one day with the president of Dior as he proudly displayed the intricate embroideries and the construction that makes their collection what it is, it was almost surreal. And as uncertain as I was taking up the job while being a fairly successful exporter of fashion accessories, seeing John Galliano through a glass door pretty much settled it for me.
Being part of this amazing house has been truly the best education in luxury and all it entails.
Having said that, my first job in marketing was with the Oberoi Hotels, and that probably taught me about attention to detail, understanding luxury consumers and their demands and expectations.
Today, when I am designing and manufacturing my line of silverware with a certain target audience in mind, I can relate to what my buyer would expect to buy.
Luxury today has so many connotations. Labels, brands, recognition. But the real luxury buyer is the one who doesn’t flaunt logos. The diamond below the ring that can’t be seen but is only for you to know and which has taken the jeweller two years to match the one on top, that for me is true luxury. It’s a feeling, an emotion. It’s for me to know …
There is so much out there. Everyone hustling you for a sale. Advertising budgets on a scale that sometimes even exceeds the sales. But the true consumer, especially in India, is really varied. The unapologetic nouveau rich, who are truly the regulars in this indecisive bipolar economic diktats that are being implemented.
Old money brings sophistication and elegance. They are the consumers of the exclusive and the couture that nobody knows about and which is fiercely protected private information of the house.
In spite of the economic state of affairs, the Indian consumer is discerning, but also a generous spender. Indian consumers are not waiting to travel to buy that bag or that dress, it’s a need more than a want. And thank the Lord for this niche clientele that luxury brands are surviving on.
Silver being an auspicious metal, one of celebration, makes for good business to get into, only if you can manage to sustain a massive overhead to function and also have a collection that is evolved, mixing traditional craftsmanship with modern contemporary India.
Though still a ‘factory girl’, which I call myself now, without a store yet, I have managed to generate enough interest only because of the quality, and of course, the design. I learn from my clients everyday, feedback and appreciation. With a two-hundred piece collection. I know now what will work, and maybe some won’t. It’s a learning that comes also from being a consumer for years, from which I gained the exposure and the knowledge. I don’t see much of a slump in the market, and honestly, throw caution to the wind and indulge in whatever that catches your fancy.
Feed The Need Not The Want.
The author is founder of Koi Communications, a brand strategy consultant, and founder and proprietor of Rezon: Luxury Silverware
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