afaqs!

Brand Owner's Summit: Tailored dream

By Rashmi Menon , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Marketing | February 14, 2013
Jitendra Chauhan belonged to a family of tailors. That didn't stop him from thinking big and creating the Jade Blue Lifestyle retail chain.

Sometimes, ambition and the hunger to grow are enough. That has certainly been true in the case of Jitendra Chauhan.

Born in a village to a family of tailors (his father and grandfather were tailors), Chauhan set up a premium menswear clothing store, which after 18 years of its inception boasts of 17 stores in 13 cities. Chauhan narrated the story of his rise to a rapt audience during the Brand Owner's Summit hosted in Ahmedabad on February 8-9.

Jitendra Chauhan

"As my family was into tailoring, I joined the family trade at a young age. Everyone had to contribute. I learnt how to cut, stitch and make 10-12 shirts a day," Chauhan said. At the time when he made a dozen shirts, Chauhan was working in his brother's small shop. He then decided to start his own store, where he would don many caps. Besides acting as the salesman, he would take measurements and cut the cloth pieces himself to ensure that quality was not compromised.

Slowly, his shop received a few steady customers, some of whom had connections in garment the garment business. It was through their insistence that Chauhan launched shirts under the D'Peak Point label in Mumbai. Unfortunately, the response was cold.

With many unsold shirts returned to him in Ahmedabad, an idea to start his own retail store began to germinate in Chauhan's mind. This led him to buy the space above his store in 1986. "At that time, no one in the city used to make or wear readymade shirts," he recalled. The store received most of its customers through word of mouth.

Then in 1995, Chauhan branded the store Jade Blue. Recounting the story behind the name, he said, "I wanted a name that had the first letter of my brother Bipin as well as my own. Also, I wanted a name that would stand in the international market. So, while jade, a precious gem, finds correlation to our premium shirt pieces, blue is the preferred male colour," he said.

Initially, the store only stocked in-house brands. However, by 1999, Chauhan began keeping branded clothes, as there was a demand for them and he didn't want to lose customers.

From 2004, Jade Blue began to expand to other cities. Apparently, Hyderabad is the largest of all its stores. Most of the cities where Jade Blue has made its presence are small cities. "We consciously focused on smaller cities as they don't have access to the variety and fashion in men's wear," he pointed out.

Interestingly, to create brand recall and awareness, Jade Blue has constantly done humorous and witty hoardings. "We also constantly upgraded our clothesline. If we didn't innovate, we wouldn't have gotten to the top. People care for a brand that cares for people," he said.

The event was powered by monster.com, supported by associate sponsor Bestow and dinner sponsor Khushi Advertising.

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