Many retailers sell sports-inspired, fashion apparel, but very few can pull them all together into a retail opportunity that feels – excuse the buzzword – authentic. From being an equestrian manufacturer based out of Pennsylvania (Penn), USA to evolving into an equestrian product wholesaler, to hitting the Indian retail scene with the premium casual and curated product line under JUMP USA brand – on the still-heritage pre-Independence property in Central Delhi’s CP – ex-Wall Street banker Timmie Sharma and his show jumping athlete wife, Laurie Sharma do not plan to fly home anytime soon.
Laurie joined forces with Sharma 14 years after the equestrian manufacturing business was established – a successful designer herself, her designs were the inspiration for what would become JPC Group, Sharma’s fast-growing empire of equestrian apparels. It exports to 30 countries today and has 800 live wholesale accounts. She travelled to India with her business partner Sharma, in September of 2006, and that was it! In a candid chat with Varun (Timmie’s India name) and Laurie Sharma, Retailer Magazine discusses the hurdles of setting up in India, the A-ha! moment and future goals.
How is your brand different from other lifestyle brands?
People here welcome a good, technical fabric and an International design. The technical performance properties of the apparel are what make our fabrics different from the rest. We blend our secret recipe and make something that nobody else ever can, not even the larger retailers.
Jump USA is an equestrian-sport-inspired everyday-wear brand. We don’t want to portray it in the market to just athletes, but to style- and comfort-conscious customers. You could wear it to work, to a party in the evening; it is for the Indian who is willing to buy a premium casual brand.
What are your future plans in terms of opening stores?
We will have three more stores by the end of this year. We are keenly looking at malls in NCR. In the hot summers of June, the traffic lost from stores in open places and high-streets should be picked up in malls.
Would you like to share the sales figures clocked on Day 1 of your India launch?
At least 600 people walked into our store on January 19 when we opened doors to public. Just seeing everybody coming in and cash registers ringing was the final test for us. We started crying and they were such happy tears. It was indeed a beautiful moment. That was the real validation! We clocked over 2.5 lakhs on the first day!
How do you plan to scale up?
We are already talking to better known eCommerce players here. The history data points we will have from this store will be used to know various things, therefore making our factories better equipped to produce more and work out the logistics in a better way. Once we have another store, it’ll make our factory go with what they’re comfortable with – mass producing larger quantities. So it is actually better for us to open more stores and scale up using both the channels.