Mumbai-based lifestyle brand Omved plans aggressive expansion in the next fiscal. Talking exclusively to Indiaretailing, Priti Mehta, Director and Founder, Omved Lifestyle, said: “We plan to open around 10 stores and also get into a shop-in-shop model at department stores and open shops at international airports next fiscal. Omved will establish its presence in Delhi, Chandigarh, Bangalore, and Hyderabad."
Mehta added: "The year 2011 being a consolidation year for the brand, we will not be opening any new stores this fiscal. At present, the company has five stores in Mumbai and Pune. Recently, we experimented opening a store at Tree House Resort, Jaipur, which has been a huge success. As part of our expansion strategy, we will be looking at opening more stores at airport and spa resorts. However, we will continue opening stores in malls which cater to the premium class.”
Omved’s board of directors have approved a 3-year ‘brand-feasibility’ period and so the company does not have a targeted turnover planned as yet. Being in its trial phase, it aims to break even at store level after all expenses, interest, and depreciation by March 2012.
The lifestyle brand allocates a significant amount of its resources in terms of finance, manpower, and time for online marketing. Its objective is to have a well-synergized brick-and-click business model. “We have a dedicated team who looks after the social media networking. Realizing the power of the Internet, we will also get into e-commerce very soon. Part of our customer base is situated outside India and through our e-commerce site we will be able to cater to our overseas audience and get the brand at their doorsteps,” Mehta added.
Rasa (aromatherapy) and Naturals (skincare) are the two top-selling categories of the brand. Omved’s Panchabhuta Ayurvedic Dhoops (incense blend) record highest sales in terms of numbers.
Mehta stated that Omved products are 100 percent natural, safe, pure, and made in India. Inspired by the Vedic philosophy, the products are ethical, fair-trade, against animal cruelty, and environment friendly. Its products do not have any toxic ingredient. The brand does not use mineral oils, synthetic chemical perfumes, or artificial coloring. All the ingredients have a vegetable origin.
The brand works with over 280 suppliers, the majority of which fall under khadi NGOs or small scale units. “We spend a lot of time training them to understand our design and quality benchmarks and also have independent ‘trainers’ that we collaborate with, who in turn translate the design to grass root level,” she added.
Omved’s future strategy includes establishing its own recycle unit. At present, it ensures every single product or packaging is either made from post-consumer waste (such as its labels, bags, boxes, and fliers) or an eco-friendly material like aluminum, bamboo, or jute.
Speaking about the recycling strategy, Mehta said: “We strongly encourage our patrons to recycle our containers by offering rewards (we have a recycle n reward bin in all our stores) and in turn collect the same and send them back to our manufacturers to recycle.”
According to the company officials, it is very important to go back to the old Indian traditions and opt for a natural living. Things such as global warming, stress, and intolerance make it necessary to follow the Indian ancestral way of living. The search for leading a completely natural way of life and spiritual healing were the main reasons for the venture. Omved is a combination of two words, Om (the absolute) and Ved (knowledge) making living in harmony with nature a fundamental value of the company.
The ancient Indian Vedic civilization is believed to have all the answers for a healthy living. The abundance of natural herbs, healing remedies, and the philosophy of life as described in the Vedas inspired the company officials to make the age-old Indian scriptures the very basis of their business.
Omved also has stores in Dubai. It is the newest venture of the J.E. Hammer Group, a privately held multi-national, multi-business German company. Omved offers over 1,000 organic, non-toxic handmade products made by local artisans and tribal craftsmen.