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Jimmy Choo to woo India

HT Correspondent
Mumbai, January 14, 2006

Jimmy Choo has tied up with the Murjanis to distribute their brand of luxury shoes in India.

Bonnie Takhar, chief advisor to Robert Bensoussan, Chief Executive, Jimmy Choo, announced this on the concluding day of the Hindustan Times Luxury Conference.

Jimmy Choo will begin retailing in India this year, she added.

The iconic shoe brand that finds representation in popular entertainment such as Sex and the City and the film currently running in theatres, In her Shoes, has identified India as a developing market that will be receptive to their brand.

"Accessory classification will be the best performing sector in the Indian market for luxury goods," said Thakar. She added that as India opens up to foreign luxury brands, "In the first two or three years of developing of the luxury brands businesses, sales are going to be focused on shoes and bags."

Jimmy Choo sees itself as a perfect fit for this market.

Further outlining its policy of growing into a global premium brand and extending itself to countries such as India, Takhar said that the Jimmy Choo strategy is to adapt itself to the local market it is entering.

"Often a culture of a country is not taken into account and this ends up in disaster," she said. Of India, she said that "Jimmy Choo's jewellery pieces will be very relevant, bridal wear shoes that can be worn to an Indian wedding - these will be exciting, sexy products that are full of vibrancy."

Takhar said that the key cities identified for retailing are Delhi and Mumbai. Other details will be announced when plans are further finalized, Thakar said.

Takhar's presentation at the session 'Transforming of a family business into a global luxury accessories company' also provided a peek into the world of Jimmy Choo and the process of how an iconic shoe brand established in 1996 has "broken through the ceiling" and firmly established itself as a "global accessories brand" everyone from Kate Blanchett to Oprah likes to advertise wearing it.

Jimmy Choo, which had only four stores in 2001, will boast 50 stores across the world by the year end and will open 30 new stores by 2009.

The challenge for Jimmy Choo in this transition has been for the show brand to diversify without losing its identity and develop the brand while keeping its prestige.

Jimmy Choo, born in Malaysia to a family of shoe-makers sold hand-made shoes to his exclusive clients in London, and formed his company with Tamara Mellon, an editor at Vogue UK. Mellon went on to buy out the company fully and Jimmy Choo himself is no longer involved with its running, with Sandra Choi, his niece being the creative director at Jimmy Choo.

The name Jimmy Choo, as Thakar says, is synonymous worldwide with 'sexy, trendy and edgy - but never vulgar - shoes'.

Thakar said that while the Asian market was being addressed, Jimmy Choo would also continue to expand simultaneously in other markets such as the United States.

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