Photo: Nina Amaho / Flickr
“Delhi’s a dynamic city,” said Joshua Schulman, CEO of celebrities’ favourite shoe label, Jimmy Choo, who was in the capital recently for the CII-ET Dialogue on Luxury. “It’s so exciting to see growth in the context of a company that has such a heritage in luxury,” added Schulman, who was in India to talk about the business of luxury. We caught up with him for a quick chat.Chelna Khatau: How important is India as a market to a global brand like Jimmy Choo?
Joshua Schulman: India is a very important market to Jimmy Choo. It’s important not only in the terms of sales that we make here in the market, but also in terms of the travelling Indian customer. We see more and more in our hometown – in London – and various other European capitals. The importance of the Indian customer who travels to us and who shops in many of our flagships is big. The aesthetic of the Indian customer, as well as the taste, is very aligned with Jimmy Choo. You know we have a lot of products… a lot of shoes and bags that are appropriate for special occasions and India has a great culture of special occasions. For ready-to-wear brands, India may be challenging because there are a lot of women who wear tradition dresses. But for a shoe and accessory brand like us, this is not a problem since everyone needs beautiful shoes. Indian consumers have a real appreciation for decoration, beauty and glamour.
CK: You’ll have adopted a very aggressive expansion plan in China – 50 stores in 5 years. What’s stopping Jimmy Choo from expanding similarly in India?
JS: In India, there is less of an opportunity for growth because the retail infrastructure isn’t growing as fast. It’s a mix of different factors that have precluded this infrastructure growth. And by infrastructure, I mean the combination between retail environments and transportation and different elements like that. If you look at (rest of) Asia, a lot of the hubs have many uses whether it’s just retail or residential. In India the usage is bit more segregated.
CK: Do you support 100 per cent FDI for luxury brands in India?
JS: I believe in FDI and I think that’s important for the Indian economy and for multinational companies like big global luxury brands to invest in the market. That being said, as far as Jimmy Choo is concerned, at this stage in our life cycle, it’s actually quite helpful to work through a partner. Our collaboration with the Genesis Group gives us access to the local market and a partner to really rely on in terms of local expertise and know-how.
CK: Jimmy Choo has launched an India-inspired collection of Chandra bags. Do you have any other projects in the works to woo Indian consumers?
JS: We want to be very selective in terms of types of programmes… it’s important that anything designed for the market should really come out of an organic design process, and shouldn’t seem like we’ve just slapped on the name for the Indian market.
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