“Timing, determination, and 10 years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success,” believes Jitendra Chauhan of Jade Blue. Specialising in men’s clothing, Jitendra, along with his brother Bipin Chauhan, has made a name in the world of textile. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pinstripe suit, with tiny letters spelling out his name, had Jade Blue tag on it. The suit was auctioned for Rs 4.31 crore, and Jade Blue got recognition in the world. However, the journey to become an overnight success is not as simple as it seems.
Jitendra was just five when his father suddenly announced to take sanyas. Jitendra’s mother was left alone with five small children to earn a living for themselves. Jitendra’s father had a tailoring shop near Sabarmati Ashram before he left for being an ascetic in 1966.
A year later, the family shifted to Ratanpole in Ahmedabad city, at Jitendra’s maternal grandfather’s house. Jitendra was 13 when he started working at his maternal uncle’s shop named ‘Makwana Brothers’. Even though he was going to school regularly, working at Makwana Brothers helped him learn the basic skills of stitching and also operate the button-hole machine.
Later, in 1975 Jitendra’s elder brother Dinesh started his own tailoring shop and named it Dinesh Tailors. Jitendra was in college and would prefer spending hours at the shop improving his tailoring skills. He made around 10-12 shirts in a day alongside completing his graduation in Psychology.
In 1981, Jitendra started with his own 250 square feet store for bespoke tailoring services and fabrics in the name of Supreemo Clothing and Menswear. It was all about one-man-show at the store. Jitendra would take care of measurements, cutting, styling, stitching and be a salesman. Later, in 1986 he first stepped into retailing and made a label for a Mumbai-based company. Unfortunately, the consignment was returned but this made Jitendra launch a store by the name d’ Peak Point where he introduced readymade shirts. A year later, he also started selling readymade trousers. Jitendra just went on doing well with the business and the reasons behind were “trendy designs, personalized customer service, word of mouth and quality product”, states Jitendra.
The establishment of Jade Blue in an area of 2,800 square feet focusing on fabrics, bespoke tailoring and private labelling took shape in 1995. He further expanded in 1999, adding 5,500 square feet to the area and changing the format to Multi Brand Outlet wherein he had about 12 premium national menswear brands. He tried covering almost all segments of men’s fashion. In the next two years, jeans and ethnic wear were also something that was available at the Jade Blue store. In 2003, they also launched Greenfibre brand, owing to the customer’s demand for a new product line with a medium price range. Today, Greenfibre has 30 exclusive brand outlets, including eight franchisee stores.
With over 22 stores in 18 cities, Jade Blue has its presence across nation. Soon there will be four more stores in Jamnagar, Bhopal and two in Indore. “While the lifestyle is changing fast in urban India, it is the small town and rural India’s story that has taken us by surprise,” explains Jitendra. “These towns are lapping up high-end fashion faster than many metros. Recognizing these trends, we have opened stores in Udaipur, Raipur, Vapi, Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Anand and Valsad.”
Today, the Chauhan brothers serve as the personal tailors for renowned politicians like Narendra Modi, Ahmed Patel, and industrialists like Gautam Adani and Karsanbhai Patel. Not only this, Jade Blue has a family of around 1,200 employees in the entire country with a turnover of Rs 225 crore.
Jitendra has shared his management ‘mantras’ with KenFolios that he assures is a help for all the aspiring entrepreneurs. He says:
- Stick to your core competency: Discover what you are good at. God has gifted everybody with a skill. Some have got more than their fair share, but it goes without saying that everyone has something that they do better than they do anything else.
- High involvement: Setting up management systems and ensuring that they are implemented by being involved. No one can play YOUR part better than YOU.
- Build your own team.
- Take calculated risks: When on a treadmill, you have no option but to walk, and walk faster. Timing is the most important factor while taking risks.
- Quick decision making: If you don’t do it today, tomorrow someone else will.
- Listening: You never know from where you’ll get the right idea.
- Nourish the brand constantly: Out of the sight – Out of the mind.
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