Story of TSAR Wood Watches
A Brief Series
- Haider Ali and Mr. Abdul Kadir Bhandari (Founders of TSAR) were hostel mates in Mumbai. After completing college both took different routes, while Abdul Kadir went back to his home-town Indore and joined the family business and then an e-commerce company later; Haider stayed in Mumbai and opted for a job in home furnishing business and then moved to Indore and joined the family business too.
- After a point of time both had a feeling that what difference would it make if both were absent from the business and realized that their absence hardly affected the business.
- Haider had a habit of researching on various topics online and in this process he landed on a website where he saw the concept of wooden watches for the first time.
- Haider was quite sure that this product was not available in the country but still he did the due to find out more about the product and its availability in India.
- Soon after Haider shared the idea with Abdul whom he believed could was perfect partner for the business.
- Abdul had a very good record when it came to showing leadership capabilities and communication skills. He was not only the Head boy in the school but took up many leadership roles during college days too. He also had inclination towards creativity and had fair amount of contacts in Indore and Mumbai which could benefit the business.
- Wood watches were something obviously new as a concept and something which could attract people quite easily. People were obviously bored by wearing Stainless Steel, Leather and Silicon watches and they wanted something new. Moreover these materials are man-made do not benefit the wearer, while on the other hand wood benefitted the wearer in various ways. Plus the watches market in India is huge and there existed no company in this domain which meant no direct competition in entire Indian sub-continent and Middle East.
- So this made the founders convinced of the idea of going ahead with what they believed would make a mark/create disruption let’s say in less pursued sector of Luxury segment Start –ups in India.
- Working on market research and product designs started in September 2015. Various demographics and trends were studied in India, UAE and Kuwait. Since Haider belongs to Kuwait it was easier to get insights.
- It was decided that the company would strive for Luxury segments and for that we needed a brand and strong manufacturing + marketing base. It was decided to go for partnership base model in the start. Since both partners are graduate in Business management and Masters in Commerce, they had a fair idea of what was to be undertaken with regards to proceedings and registration.
- Then came the matter on naming the business. Since it was to be built as a brand, the name had to be such which conveyed brand. Various options were brainstormed and later short-listed. At last TSAR was chosen as the name for the company. Reason for selection of name TSAR:
- TSAR is Russian for word Emperor, which in itself creates an impression of a bigger European and suggests power.
- It is short to remember. Just 4 letters.
- And it is difficult to pronounce and modern day brands like Chanel or Versace or Bvlgari or Houte Coutre which are often mis-pronounced.
- TSAR was looked for trademark and luckily it was available. Without wasting no time the partners secured the trademark.
- Next decision was to finalize upon the tagline. Tagline had to be such which indicated company’s philosophy and thus ‘Luxe Constamment’ (French for Luxury Consistently) was taken as the tagline for TSAR.
- Finally the company was registered as partnership entity in November 2016.
- Decision to out-source the manufacturing after developing designs in-house was taken soon after. This decision was taken keeping in mind greater quality and finished product as well as wider variety of wood options available, while company concentrated on important matters like marketing, branding and distribution.
- Initially 3 designs in each domain i.e. Men, women and unisex were readied and passed onto the manufacturing facility. The company was totally boot-strapped. Funds were arranged from personal savings and borrowings.
- A risk was taken and it had to be made right. Isn’t that the general spirit of the business we thought?
- Although it took time but all the formalities with regards to registrations and paper work were completed, thanks to the CA friend of the partners.
- After the watches arrived, the next big thing was to market the products and position them accordingly. Both the partners had ethics and social responsibility at the center of their values and thus decided to contribute/give back to the society right from inception. Thus TSAR associated with ‘grow-trees’ (an NGO responsible for planting trees). Grow-trees have had prestigious clientele in the past like Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Superstar Amitabh Bachchan. It was decided that, that for every watch sold we would plant a tree as trees were the inspiration and source for our watches.
- All the technicals like website, SEO and Social media marketing were taken care-off by the various professionals who are also friends as well as hold a greater reputation in their respective line of services.
- But now the question came to as why would people buy a wooden watch. And reasons for the same being:
- People usually wear Stainless steel/leather/silicon watches. Obviously everyone is looking for something new always. Wood serves that purpose by being such an element which people have never worn on their wrist as a watch. People tend to wear it on occasions where they can flaunt it amongst friends or family and generate compliments and reflect a great sense of fashion.
- Other elements are man-made and never serve any benefits to the human body, while wood on the other hand just helps in keeping one in-tune with nature but also serve health benefits. Each wood has a different kind of characteristic like Walnut wood helps us in developing clarity and focus and using our mental gifts wisely while Koa wood represents integrity and strength, sensitivity and protection. In its feminine aspect Koa wood brings fiery energy with beauty and creativity.
- Wood is a very dynamic material and people wearing wood notice its color evolving over a period of time. Unlike metal watches that wear down over time, wooden watches actually look even better the longer people wear them. The natural oils on their skin personalize the wooden watch to its owner.
- One of the benefits of wearing a wooden watch is its unprecedented lightweight design. Wood, by nature, is one of the lightest and most durable materials that is available. This means that those who wear wooden watches will notice that they are much more comfortable than metal watches because of their lightweight design.
- Another great thing about the design of wooden watches is that wood is naturally resistant to changes in temperature and climate. It will never rust due to being in damp climate conditions.
- Wood has a quality that each wood piece is unique and itself and thus no two watches are alike.
- Packaging was yet trump card which wanted to play well. A very impressive and eye-catching wooden box was selected for the packaging purpose. This wooden box had cream cushion and a pillow on which rested the finely crafted watch. Packaging was always crucial point for the company in building a brand image.
- Presentation forms the core of branding and thus elements like photography, creatives , ad-making were given utmost importance. Best of the professionals with international exposure were hired for the purpose of photo-shoot, cataloging, promo-ad making and banner designing.
- Earlier the strategy was to market and distribute the products only online but later when the products were given to a few retail outlets on an experimental basis it was realized that the response was very over-whelming. Thus company decided to target top 3 retail counters in various cities like Indore, Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Pune etc. and distribute the products on offline formats as well.
- Soon channel partners from Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai got associated. An operation head was appointed in each city that would be responsible for all the workings and reporting from that particular city. Partners from Kuwait and UAE took the wooden watches to the shores of Middle East.
- Within two months of starting the sales, the company saw 100% growth and made Rs. 1,80,000 as revenue. For a new brand in wrist watch industry these figures are encouraging. 100% month to month growth continues and we have sold 196 watches (crossing mark of Rs. 5L in revenues) within 5 months of starting sales.
- Since founders lacked the understanding of watch moments and their craftsmanship, there were couple of well-wishers who helped them in this. These experts have experience of almost two-three decades in the business of watches.
- Moving ahead, TSAR now looks forward to expanding to other cities of India like Surat, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Bhopal, Jaipur, etc and still looking for trusted partners in these cities. Apart from domestic market TSAR is also eyeing nations like Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Oman, Egypt, Qatar, Iran, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
- Company is also working towards creating new designs and under Make in India initiative, establishing the manufacturing facility in India soon.
- Keeping in mind our progrees and festive season ahead we are coming up with latest models in Ebony, Maple and Red Sandalwood too. These watches are far more attractive, possess chronograph and gives even more superior experience.
We firmly believe in the philosophy that each wrist in this world is our real estate. We would be able to get some, some would desire us and few would never be ours.
Special Thanks to Mr. Abbas Akbari who heads our operations in South India. He has contributed immensely by trusting on our brand and team and encouraging sales in South.
Abbas Akbari is now Partner in TSAR Inc.
We have realized that we are more of Wood company than Watch company.
We now plan to introduce Wooden Sunglasses, Wooden Notebooks, Wooden Car Freshener, Wooden Toothbrushes, Wooden Clocks, etc.
TSAR plans to be more aggressive in Offline marketing (along with Online efforts) by participating in more and more exhibitions across India.
DSP Black Rock, Anjuman e Saifee (Dawoodi Bohra Administration) and other prestigious organizations have appreciated and pledged to support TSAR in its operations.
TSAR was recently official Time sponsor for I-5 Summit (a Start-up initiative of IIM & IIT Indore).
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