Jaquar Group is a rapidly growing multi-diversified bathroom solutions brand. It is one of the fastest growing bath brands in the world with a presence in over 40+ Countries across Europe, the Middle East, Asia- Pacific, Africa and the SAARC regions.
Currently, the Group delivers over two million bathrooms every year and produces over 80,000 bath fittings per day. It also has 8,014 employees across the globe.
Last week, the company opened its first showroom in Africa in Addis Ababa. Romina PLC is the sole agent and distributor of the product in Ethiopia. It also plans on expanding the number of show rooms in the city as well as looking into other markets to set up manufacturing plants in the future. Capital spoke to Rajesh Mehra, Marketing Director, about the future plans of the company.
Capital: Tell us a bit about your company.
Rajesh Mehra: Jaquar started its journey back in 1960; it is a 57 year old company from India. Now we are in the global market, we are expanding our global footprint in a big way and as of now we are in more than 40 countries. Our core business is providing complete bathroom solutions; everything a customer or user wants and needs; it is a complete end to end solution.
Capital: You said you are in over 40 countries and expansion is one way of determining success. What would you say makes you successful?
Mehra: I believe it is our commitment, first and foremost, to bring the best of quality in our products and along with the products, bring the best of services for our customers. We are a customer-centric company we believe in creating relations with our customers, whether they are the builders or end consumers, and we feel it is not just the program but the service together that makes a real difference for the customer.
That is what we have been doing for more than 30 years and I strongly believe that this has been the strongest and major reason for the acceptance of our brand and products by the customers.
Capital: Where are your manufacturing plants located?
Mehra: We are a company from India and our manufacturing plants are located in India; we have five plants there and another one in South Korea. We are a good manufacturing company; manufacturing is our key strength and through that we can ensure the destiny of our products and ensure the right products are in the market and ensure the customer’s experience is good.
Capital: Is there at all any plan to expand your manufacturing plants to other countries, in Africa?
Mehra: For the last few years, we started expanding our footprint into the overseas markets. Initially the idea was to set up in these markets; understand the markets and their needs, then you respond to the needs and expectations of the customers. So it is very important, before you step into manufacturing, you have to have a thorough understanding and knowledge of the markets.
For almost 50 years, we concentrated on the Indian market, after establishing the brand name there, we moved on to looking into overseas markets. So definitely there is a plan, why not? Business is about opportunities.
We will go step by step, our aim is to understand the markets, set up the business and, yes if the response is really encouraging, and we feel we give a better service to our customers by producing it we will be happy to do that.
Capital: So you have opened your first store in Africa, here in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. What was the deciding factor?
Mehra: This is again the core philosophy of the group. We believe in providing not just the products but the best services to our customers. We make sure we put in place comprehensive after purchase customer services; I believe that is one of our unique points in Ethiopia. Where ever we go, which ever market we go to, we make sure that the product is presented well in the market so that the customers can come and see that it is not just a display center, it is an education center; it is an orientation center for the customers.
We completely train our sales people, so they can provide all the information and help the customer to make the right selection.
Capital: If you look around the city, you will see that there are a lot of buildings that are going up and a lot of construction, there is a lot of investment in hotels for example. But on the other hand looking at the household customer, there is usually a conflict between quality and price. Your products seem to be on the high-end side of the market, how will you try to balance that and reach customers who have less purchasing power?
Mehra: All the markets we see are similar; everywhere, customers do focus on price but what we believe is that customers need to look at the values they are getting from the product. It is not just the price, if we are giving them the best value for money, they are happy.
Of course there are different market segments, there are value customers who can afford to a certain level, so we feel we have to give solutions to every level of customer; we have products for the bottom to top level of the market. We will be launching a value segment in 6 months.
Capital: This is the first store in the country; will we see other branches opening?
Mehra: Yes, why not. I am very happy with the response the store is getting. The market is full of positive reactions, the potential is there. We will be setting up more showrooms.
Capital: Your products are said to be of high quality, Now that you have entered the Ethiopian market and plan to expand, do you think this will push other producers and importers to supply higher quality products as well?
Mehra: We strongly believe quality is a fundamental reason for success. We need to give quality in our products and dealings. So yes, you will see other manufacturers understanding that if you come up with a quality product everyone will benefit and the market will improve. Jaquar has definitely set the standard with the launch of this state of the art one stop bathing solution store.