The face of India is changing and how! With a variety of new concepts making their advent towards the country, luxury consumers have a lot to look forward to
By: Karishma Parkash
Posted on: July 10, 2011
The face of India is changing, and how! With a variety of new concepts making their advent towards the country, luxury consumers have a lot to look forward to.
Diamonds have always been a girl’s best friend and have always managed to escalate her moods no matter what. Throw in a wedding haven and a luxurious shopping destination in a city like Mumbai and the smile that you will see on her face will be priceless. With wedding planning and luxurious shopping growing leaps and bounds in India, two unique concepts have made their mark in Mumbai in a very limited span of time. Let’s delve a little deeper into the face of luxury in Mumbai today.
A new birth
The Wedding Café & Lounge is a wedding concept based fine dine restaurant which celebrates the institution of marriage and epitomizes romance. The managing director, Mr Zuzer Lucknowala, during one of his visits to Europe came across many wedding cafés in the region, and that’s when the idea of introducing the concept in India struck him - to build a restaurant that serves as a one stop shop for all things wedding.
The Wedding Café & Lounge strives to connect the best of wedding industry related vendors to the concerned customers. Under one roof you have a gamut of wedding related services ranging from destination wedding planning to wedding trousseau designer to wedding filmography. Elaborate and scrumptious Global Fusion Cuisine along with a wide range of wines and signature cocktails takes the whole experience to a whole new level of sophistication.
Women work very hard for shopping. Strutting across the various streets and malls, selecting the best out of a multitude choices and paining your feet excessively to get the crowd stunner is not easy. Enter Le Mill. “We wanted to open a store that offered a different retail experience, outside of a shopping mall. We felt that what was missing in Mumbai was a cleaner, more organic, aesthetic experience - whether in clothing, jewellery, homeware or furniture. So we set about trying to create that aesthetic through pieces manufactured in India, or a selection sourced from abroad,” said Ms Cecilia Morelli Parikh, Co-Founder, Le Mill. The concept started when they decided to gather goods that were made in India, but primarily exported. Frustrated at always paying for excess luggage after trips to Europe, only to come home and realize the goods carried a Made in India tag, the four women owners of Le Mill set out to find, make and source products in all categories that were made locally, but displayed a distinctly European aesthetic.
The Golden Touch
There is always an ‘x’ factor in every facet in life which we as individuals would fail to put into words but is distinctly there. Wonder what these concepts have that are attracting everyone’s attention these days? “We help the customers connect to vendors right under one roof, where they have a wide range of services to chose from - starting from finding the right match to deciding the honeymoon destination. We provide a platform to wedding related industries to showcase their products to the right audience and hence, our brand position is that of being India’s largest wedding management service provider,” says Mr Lucknowala of The Wedding Cafe & Lounge. The experience in India is unique for consumers as well as the floaters of the brand. “It has been both challenging and rewarding. Like any other start-up business, there were some roadblocks that we faced, but the sailing so far has been smooth and the concept has been very well received by one and all,” Mr Lucknowala shared.
According to Ms Parekh, a perfect balance is what sets them apart from other multi-brand houses. “We have an eclectic mix of clothes, furniture, homeware, jewellery as well as a cafe and a flower shop. We like to think that we have a large range of products and price points. It is the first time that India is seeing something of this sort,” she said. The experience seems to have been really thrilling for the women who have all lived in India for over three years with all the excitement of a place where one can hang out with friends or make new acquaintances. “It’s also really exciting to get such great feedback from our customers. We also learn about
what the modern Indians wants. And its not just bling! There are always logistical issues, but once you have tore your hair out a couple of times un-puzzling these, the next time is much easier,” she fondly remembers.
Change, is constant
Looking at the altering social setting of India, one cannot help but observe the changing face of the country. With specifics towards weddings, without breaking into a sweat, one will notice how the wedding budgets have increased exponentially and opulence today is synonymous to any wedding ceremony. “It is time that wedding industry was given a structure and this is an effort from our side to help bring the wedding retail concept to India where all wedding related services are provided under one roof to give customers/guests a more genuine touch and feel of wedding services,” said Mr Lucknowala. Looking for an innovative wedding? Many new services have been introduced with this concept. For example, on their elite vendor of panels, is an associate who provides wedding filmography where wedding movies are Hollywood stylized and not shot in the traditional way, but like a movie where the bride and groom are the protagonists. “We have another who makes innovative personalized coffee table books and another who specializes only in bridal shoes. So we are trying to bring innovation and style to weddings to make the next wedding even better and larger than the previous..We can plan your wedding to suit your budget and personality and individuality.” he said.
Ask Ms Parikh and she will be quick to tell you that in the four years that she has been in India, the retail scene has completely transformed. “Competition has been great for Mumbai. There is much more choice and retailers are ready to take risks. I am sad that so much
retail is happening in malls. I wish it were different. But I think a standalone store like Hermes’ at Horniman Circle will hopefully create a great new trend - so that shopping is not just about the goods you buy, but also the experience you take away,” she said. The perfect target audience for their store? “Our customer is either a young working girl or man. They could either be starting out and sourcing for their first apartment, or a mother
adding to her existing apartment. We like to think of our customer as someone who is always looking for something unique and special. But he or she is also a busy individual, therefore, great customer support and at home services are very important to them,” she shared.
So whether it is a wedding that you have to plan or just those few hours of retail therapy that you are looking for, the Indian market has a lot to offer you these days and it does not seem like it is ending there!