GordonMax has emerged as a distributor of finest and widest range of diamond & gemstone stimulants in India. In an interview Saraswathi Arjunan, Managing Director, Zuna International (Master Franchise of GordonMax India & Subcontinent) discusses about the brands Indian presence.
Neha Prashar (NP): Share with us the inception, growth and success of GordonMax? Also elaborate on your brand's international presence.
Saraswathi Arjunan (SA): GordonMax & Co has been around since 2001 with the vision to be the leader in retailing and distribution of fine diamond and gemstones stimulants in the Asia Pacific arena. Since then, we have established ourselves as a credible alternative not even a substitute, differentiating ourselves from the ‘pack’.
Up to date, we have more than 24 boutiques and counters in six countries (India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Singapore and Philippines) with representative offices in London, Japan and Australia. We are well-received in all the countries and expanding swiftly.
At GordonMax, we believe in giving our customers the best valued products and this is reflected in our excellent quality and affordable elegance. It’s no surprise that today; we are recognised as a reputable brand offering consumers the quintessential look of glamour, vogue and seduction.
NP: When did GordonMax enter India? When and what inspired the company to take up franchise route for expansion?
SA: We entered Indian market in 2008. The first years have been a learning experience for the brand. We had to adapt our policies according to the local customs and practices. For example, for purchases made in GordonMax boutiques in India, there’s buy-back and exchange policy, where as the rest of the boutiques out of India does not carry such policy.
Although we have not gone 100 per cent into franchising route, we do note that franchising is the ideal route for expansion for us as our policies, products and operations are all standardised.
NP: What kind of investment is required to take up GordonMax franchise in terms of money, area and time?
SA: Start-up investment cost varies between 50 - 70 lakh depending on the store size. Minimum requirement for area is 300sq. ft (carpet), preferably in a good mall that caters to mid-luxury customers. Once agreement is signed, it’s expected that the boutique to be operational in 90-120 days.
NP: What is the eligibility criterion for selecting the right franchise partners? Is it necessary for the franchisee to have a similar background?
SA: Our utmost important criteria are partners that are committed and understand what it takes to run this business to grow the brand name together with the Master Franchisor. While it will be of some advantage of having similar background, it’s not entirely necessary. We believe, with passion for the business, anything will become possible.
NP: What is the USP, expected ROI and the break even period of your brand?
SA: Based on our current boutiques, break even period is between 8-12 months.
NP: The Company has recently come up with its new 'Royal Princess Collection’. What are various other collections the brand has at present and is expected to launch in the coming years? How do you think it will help the brand to grow?
SA: GordonMax is a dynamic lifestyle brand. We are always keeping abreast with the latest trends and designs worldwide. The ‘Royal Princess Collection’ is in line with the Prince William’s and Kate Middleton’s royal wedding which was watched all over the world. Every detail of this wedding, from jewellery to dresses and hats, has become the ‘must-haves’ for the year. Hence, 'Royal Princess Collection’ was launched to our clientele to be part of this fashion trend too.
At GordonMax, we have regular product launches to keep our customers up-to-date with international trends. At present, we have also launched ‘i-Rock’ collection, where we have introduced ‘I’ coloured SMART* diamonds. This line is very successful in India as ‘I’ colour is the most commonly worn in natural diamond here.
We will be launching ‘Poire’ collections which features vivid yellow Pear shaped SMART* diamonds for the festival season in OCT.
By offering variety and quality products, we are able to keep our customers needs satisfied and GordonMax has been widely recognised, as the brand name synonymous with a lifestyle of versatility, elegance, glamour and prestige.
NP: How do you see competition from unorganised and organised players in the Indian market?
SA: At the moment, GordonMax has unique product and has no direct competition in the same product category. Having said that, we believe in healthy competition as it brings the best out of the products/brand and the consumers will benefit from it.
NP: Elaborate on company's expansion plans? What is your vision for GordonMax?
SA: As a start, we target to have presence in all Metro cities in India. We have targeted Mumbai boutique to be operational in October 2011 and it’s on schedule. We have also finalised Bangalore boutique and targeted opening is in Q1 of 2012. We target to have 10 boutiques and several counters by 2015.
Our vision for GordonMax is to be a leading brand in India that offers best valued products; a One-stop brand for the finest and widest range of diamond and gemstone stimulants in the coming years.