Successful Legacy of The Bombay Store
In the early 1900s, the Indian freedom struggle created a need for local businesses that catered to the growing patriotic sentiment in India. The Bombay Swadeshi store was one such lifestyle brand proudly showcasing India’s rich and diverse cultural heritage. Founded by renowned freedom fighters and businessmen, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Munmohandas Ramji, the store was inaugurated by Dadabhai Naoroji in 1906 to cater to the newly found Indian nationalism. Around the 90s, the company was acquired by the Dalal family and renamed The Bombay Store.
115 years later, the legacy continues with the same clear brand message of “our products showcase a perfect blend of art and tradition with a contemporary touch”, thus bringing the best of Indian heritage in its most current format to international travellers and urban locals. Staying true to its roots and its original vision, The Bombay Store has opened 22 stores across India, with the flagship location at Fort, Mumbai remaining the heart of its operations.
Legacy companies offer wisdom and lessons that have stood the test of time, and are worth studying from a business perspective. One such defining trait of The Bombay Store is that for over a century, they have maintained their brand’s image as a heritage company that blends new-age art and culture with a rustic feel. This helps them stay relevant to their target audience, which is mainly centered around foreign travelers and savvy locals looking to showcase Indian ethnicity in a classy manner.
Keeping up with trends to offer ingenious marketing and modern social media campaigns, in addition to continuing the use of more traditional avenues like local newspaper ads and contests, they ensure that their stores remain a must-visit place for international visitors to India, while staying on-point with their loyal Indian customer base. Simply put, they speak the language of their current customers, which is an important part of running a business that outlasts its founders and traverses generations.
One of the aspects that needs to be highlighted is the fresh product line of The Bombay Store. They have managed to exhibit India’s rich, varied culture and unrepresented artists in a contemporary manner, always evolving to the needs of the visitors that they currently serve. They cover everything from artistic representations of items that are familiar to most Indians, like the stone-mill and stand-up-fan, plus other staples of the country’s cultures such as incense sticks, bronze idols and wood artifacts. The Bombay Store also offers innovative packaging that’s perfect for gifting purposes, especially with foreigners looking to take home such memorabilia from their trip.
Today, the company is branching out into subsidiaries like ‘The Elephant Company’ with a colorful and vibrant product line with counters at relevant partner stores to serve the needs of the new youth, while still maintaining the integrity of their core brand of The Bombay Stores. They’ve also tapped into the growing need for e-commerce to serve a larger audience, a move that holds even more relevance in the new market reality.
It’s worth noting that in a generation of tech-based start-ups that are looking for fast aggressive growth strategies, The Bombay Stores shows us the true value of stable growth, clarity of purpose and the need for resiliency.
Built on stellar foundational principles, this company has survived the imminent vagaries of running a business and stood the test of time such as ever changing consumer tastes and market trends. Strong brand message and core values, plus a clear drive to cater to their niche target audience of foreign travelers, expats and urban resident Indians, has been the backbone of the successful legacy of The Bombay Store.
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