John Jacobs’ eyeing US, Canada market
Here's the story of an eyewear entrepreneur
Sambuddha Bhattacharya, co-founder of John Jacobs Eyewear, is steering the journey of building India’s first real eyewear brand. His vision for the business and brand is crisp and clear - Luxury Eyewear at Honest Prices.
Sambuddha had worked across venture capital and entrepreneurship roles and most recently was engaged with the consumer internet venture fund, Rocket Internet AG. Earlier he was also doing impact investing at Technoserve, where he co-established country office of Malawi, East Africa. He has also setup an investing vehicle for Tibetan Entrepreneurship. Sambuddha has earned an MBA from Kellogg School of Management in the US and his undergrad degree is from St. Stephen's College, New Delhi.
Business talk aside, Sambuddha enjoys his weekend getaways to different parts of the world and is an avid craft beer enthusiast!
Bhattacharya talks about his brand, his unique approach to market his product and his vision in an exclusive interview with our correspondent.
My foray into entrepreneurship was as a Co-Founder of Skillhippo, an internet startup. It enabled professional and recreational skill sharing. What motivated me to take up the John Jacobs challenge was the opportunity to build a home-grown aspirational brand. A brand that resonated with the modern, smart and value conscious urban Indian Millennial!
My business strategy reckons that people’s outlook to eyewear has evolved significantly. Eyewear has transcended from a device used for visual impairment to a fashion accessory. Today it is one that matches with their outfit making a personal branding statement.
The brand value
John Jacobs’ is on an expedition to supplement this change by becoming India’s preferred choice of eyewear. Over past couple of years, the idea has gained ever-increasing acceptance with newer stores opening up in Delhi, Bangalore. Plans are in place for Mumbai expansion as well. In addition to that, my team at John Jacobs is currently building an app for the Play-Store and iOs markets. Going beyond the transactional aspect, this will contain engaging content that resonates with new age buyers.
Launched in 2015, John Jacobs is a trendy designer eyewear brand, home-grown in India. We are the first and only eyewear brand in India to own the manufacturing-to-retail model. It is a revolutionary and disruptive model that allows us to price sensibly. We are also pioneers of the exclusive brand store experience providing a unique, new-age, customer-engagement centric experience. John Jacobs currently retails at 4 exclusive outlets across Delhi and Bengaluru. Plans are to expand to 10 stores pan India by December 2017. We are backed by Lenskart along with private equity heavyweights in TPG Capital, IFC, IDG Ventures, Unilazer and PremJi Invest.
The unique model
It is fast creating a name for representing top international styles at surprisingly affordable prices. Transitioning from a nascent brand it has found its feet in the massive Indian eyewear industry. John Jacobs has grown into a brand that is getting known for revolutionizing the eyewear industry. A David amongst the Goliaths so to speak! Today, as the David who takes on the Goliath, John Jacobs stands for much more than just quality eyewear at affordable prices. It serves as a brand that resonates with the modern Indian consumer. It tells them the truth and helps them make a smart choice.
As more and more people realize that they don’t need to pay a premium to get the similar style and quality in eyewear – the John Jacobs brand plans to keep getting bigger – challenging the well-established International brands.
As a brand, we see ourselves as the pride of an Indian consumer and occupying top-of-mind recall. Overall, we see ourselves growing ten times to become a 1,000 Crore business by 2020. We’ll be at about 50 stores across Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities in India. A few marquee international destinations are also on the cards. We are seeing a growing market for our products in the UK, Australia and Philippines. The brand is preparing to enter new markets like the US and Canada to expand its presence globally.
Besides the retail foray, we will also be a sizeable online business. Our website, IOS App and Android App will have strong stickiness. It will not just be for the product being sold, but the story being told. As the industry moves towards personal branding space, consumers will love us for our realism and transparency.
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