Fatima Mahimwala, Head of Business, Yoku Moku India (Liberty Luxuries) talks about bringing Japan-based confectionery manufacturer, Yoku Moku to India, and the lessons she learnt from Japan.
BY FATIMA MAHIMWALA
Head of Business, Yoku Moku India (Liberty Luxuries)
Brought up in a family that runs a hundredyear- old furniture store, I was barely exposed to the nuances of the corporateworld. I grew up with dance and baking in my heart. I knew I wanted to make a career in food or travel, in order to retain my passion. Even today, two things that are dearest to me in this world are food and my three-year-old. And when I’m travelling abroad, I look forward to trying out the local cuisine and hope to bring that experience back with me to India.
Earlier, while pursuingmy degree in Hospitality from Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne, Switzerland, I was intrigued by the growing luxury market overseas. It was then that I found my calling to work towards bringing luxury brands to India, and to up the ante of spending and buying amongst Indians. The entire nexus of the luxury brands is pretty riveting. This interest only kept growing during my first job in the luxury hospitality industry, when just a few international brands had entered the Indian market. The whiff of enthusiasm and passion it brought along saw a different side of Indian buyers.
India is becoming a hotbed for international brand. However, as an industry, luxury is only about a decade old in India. With an increase in spending habits, there is now an evident market for luxury brands in our metros. On the other hand, India’s demographic diversity, rich heritage and long haul of beliefs, make it a paradox.
Luxury is about appreciating fine craftsmanship and an affirmation of one’s accomplishments to oneself. Indian buyers have now started looking at luxury brands not just as an indulgence, but an acknowledgement of quality products. Having said this, the Indian customer, at heart, still loves a good bargain and expects to see good discounts even when they are buying luxury brands. They are not only quality conscious but very value conscious as well.
Bringing down Yoku Moku was a learning experience, to say the least. We went to one of their manufacturing units in Japan, and learnt all about the cookie-making process, what makes it a most revered cookie brand globally and above all, we learnt about Japanese culture.
The Japanese attention to detail, given to even the smallest step, was what made such a product globally loved. From having to remove our shoes before entering the factory, to the quality of ingredients that went in, it was truly a learning experience. We also learnt the Japanese art of wrapping, done in just a matter of seconds. The time given to the wrapping in no way compromised the quality of the end product, for when we saw it, I couldn’t believe how neatly it was done. These are the nuances that differentiate a luxury brand from any other brand.
The Japanese believe in giving a feel-good experience to their customers throughout the year by doing small things for them. One such example could be the Christmas Collectible Boxes, for which Yoku Moku had tied up with a renowned designer called CLYV, who designs Christmas Boxes which are then collected by patrons each year.
Luxury isn’t just about the product, but also the hospitality that comes with it. Yoku Moku gave us a holistic luxury experience, which is what made us believe it would work in a country like ours which also shows a similar mindset.
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