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Past Issue • Jan-Mar 2016

Have Brand Power, Write the Rules

Have Brand Power, Write the Rules

Apart from product quality, brand power is everything for success in the retail business says Ajay Arora, Managing Director, D’Decor, the world’s largest maker of home furnishings and fabrics. The firm that holds the brand power practically writes the rules of the game, he adds explaining how the US $250 million company is now making a major play for the Indian retail market for home furnishings. Excerpts from the conversation.

Rishtee Batra: I would like to start with just a couple of general questions. We read that in 1999 you were an US $8 million company in revenues and now you stand at more than US $ 250 million with more than 4000 employees. What were the key drivers of this tremendous growth?
Ajay Arora: Thank you for having me at ISB. It is really a pleasure to come and see real excellence in India in an academic education. After having been exposed to excellence through my own experiences overseas, I think this is a fabulous place to be. As far as the D’Decor story is concerned, and from a textile industry perspective, it is unique what you can achieve by using higher intellectual capital. And I am not saying this because I am at ISB. If you actually play in a space with a blue collar worker’s input as a product, you would not really get a big delta. But if you looked at it from an MBA or an engineer’s perspective, you would be able to really monetise far better. So D’Decor went about chasing design and a complex niche product in the beginning. The manufacturing challenge was not so much about what the cost was, instead it was to see what you could do better that the Europeans or other developing nations were doing better value. We took on that challenge quite seriously because India offered a huge amount of textile skill and a huge advantage on textile raw material. I think we dealt with that challenge successfully and that is why we saw this good growth in the first ten years. Based on the consumer demand and higher expectations built on account of products from the West that are far more sophisticated, sculpted us into shape to be able to deliver a world standard product. And when we decided that India was coming of age, we were naturally ahead of Indian consumer expectations. So the D’Decor story is actually one of a change in the logical sequence of a company going global first and then coming home.


  • rishtee

    Rishtee Batra

    Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Indian School of Business (ISB).
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