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Five famous Indian brands with foreign-sounding names

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From Da Milano to Le Marche, these homegrown brands sport names that have an international air about them

Bengaluru: An intriguing retail trend that has emerged in India over time is the adoption of foreign language brand names. The fancy brand names evoke an air of sophistication and manage to grab eyeballs. Moreover, at times, consumers even tend to associate the quality level solely based on the brand names.

Here is a list of 5 Made in India brands spanning across fashion and beauty to food and tableware, which give the impression of being international due to their foreign names.

Lakmé

Lakme

Cosmetics brand Lakmé was founded in 1952 as a 100% subsidiary of the Tata Group. In 1998, Tata sold its stake in Lakmé to the Mumbai-based consumer goods company Hindustan Unilever. Lakmé Lever was formed in 1996 as a chain of Lakmé Salons that offer services in hairstyling, skin, and beauty care. In December 2018, Lakmé launched its e-commerce platform.

When the company was set up, its French collaborators were asked to suggest a name that carries connotations of both countries. The collaborators settled on Lakmé, the name of a French opera that was quite the rage at the time in Paris, which also in turn is the French word for goddess Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and an epitome of beauty.

Today, Lakmé Lever has over 450 owned and franchisee salons across 160 cities in India. The salon chain witnessed a rise of 19.3% in its revenue to Rs 328 crore in financial year (FY) 2023, compared to Rs 275 crore in FY 2022 as per the company’s latest annual report.

Da Milano

Da Milano

Leather product-focused D2C (direct-to-consumer) brand Da Milano’s journey began in 1989 when the brand was conceived by its current chief executive officer Sahil Malik’s father and in 2001 Malik joined the business. The brand offers leather goods including handbags, wallets, and other accessories.

The Italian name Da Milano means ‘of Milan’ and refers to the powerful people of Milan, who have Milano as their surname. Despite its Italian name Da Milano is an Indian brand and has no direct linguistic or geographical connection to Italy. The name was likely chosen for the brand’s association with sophistication and elegance which aligns with the Italian luxury market.

Starting from one store in New Delhi, Da Milano currently operates more than 85 stores across Asia and the Middle East, which include company-operated stores at 21 airports and two manufacturing units in Himachal Pradesh and Kolkata, according to the company’s official LinkedIn page.

La Opala

La Opala

Indian tableware manufacturer La Opala RG Ltd was founded by Sushil Jhunjhunwala in 1988. The Kolkata-headquartered company started with opal ware and in 1996 it stepped into crystals and launched Solitaire Crystal, the first handmade crystal glassware in the country.

The name ‘La Opala’ combines the French word ‘La’ meaning ‘The’ with ‘Opala’ referencing the opal glass material used in its products. “We added a ‘La’ because opal glass was first produced in France and we wanted to establish a French connection,” said Ajit Jhunjhunwala, the second-generation scion of the Rs 452 crore (by revenue from operations) business to Forbes India.

Currently, La Opala is present in more than 30 countries across the globe.

Monte Carlo

Monte carlo

Homegrown apparel brand Monte Carlo was founded in 1984 by Oswal Woolen Mills, the flagship company of Nahar group, which was set up post-Independence in 1949 by Vidya Sagar Oswal. The Ludhiana-based fashion brand offers woolen knitted garments and sportswear for men, women and tweens (8-14 years age group).

The brand’s name, ‘Monte Carlo,’ was inspired by the popular European tourist destination Monte Carlo, which is a district of Monaco. Known for its luxury and opulence, the place is associated with a high-end lifestyle.

Presently, Monte Carlo is available through more than 200 exclusive brand outlets (EBO) and over 1300 multi brand outlets (MBO) as per the company’s official website.

Le Marche

Le Marche Retail

Grocery retail chain Le Marche was founded in 2005 as a one-stop destination for up-market food and grocery shoppers. It houses a range of products that fall in the premium, gourmet category and boasts an assortment of over 20,000 SKUs. In 2017, Le Marche was acquired by FMCG conglomerate DS Group.

The brand name is of French origin that combines the word ‘La’ meaning ‘The’ and ‘Marche’ translates to ‘market’ in English.

Currently, the Delhi-based retailer operates seven stores in Delhi NCR with a total of 50,000 sq. ft. retail area, as per the company’s official LinkedIn page.

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