Sanjay Kapoor, Managing Director,
Genesis Colours Ovt. Ltd., the holding company of the premier
designer label, Satya Paul, in conversation with Martin D'Souza
After acquiring the Satya Paul label in 2001,
and the launch of the women's wear range of drapes and apparel
under the same name, Sanjay Kapoor has moved into new territories
with the acquisition of another designer label by Deepika Gehani.
The former banker with a keen eye for fashion talks about his
fascination for fashion and his plans for the future, and how
he acquired the Satya Paul label...
Sanjay Kapoor's tryst with fashion...
An MBA from the University of Rochester in the United
States, I commenced my career with the Citibank at Singapore and
later moved to India. Despite being a successful banker armed
with a management degree, I was bitten by the restlessness bug.
When you have been blessed with a restless mind that wants fresh
challenges, then a switchover from working for an organisation
to creating an organisation happens very naturally. Hence I decided
to take up the challenge of making a place for myself in the fashion
During my phase as a banker I realised the deficiency of men’s
wear accessories in the Indian fashion world. Since I also had
this strong urge to do something on my own, I took the decision
with my partner Jyoti Narula, to create more options for men by
manufacturing ties, scarves and stoles.
Neckwear, a huge potential…
Ties occupy the center stage in a man’s wardrobe. A man’s
tie has always had the status of a fashion statement. It imparts
the right touch to a man’s grooming and underlines his confidence.
A silk tie is no longer the preserve of just the nobility, but
forms an essential part of a man’s attire. As I said earlier,
I had realised the paucity of options in the men’s accessories
segment. This acute paucity prompted me to tie up with Satya Paul
and move into manufacturing ties to create choices and fill in
In the year 2001, Jyoti Narula and I teamed up with Puneet Nanda
(Satya Paul’s son) to establish Genesis Colors and manufacture
women’s wear with the aim of creating the first label of
substance that would appeal to the contemporary woman as well
as have an international appeal.
The move into women’s wear and into the thick of the fashion
world happened as a natural progression in the process of growth.
We established Genesis Colors to manufacture women’s wear
and the rest as they say, is history! The year 2002, witnessed
a turning point in the growth of the Satya Paul label. With aggression,
and panache mingled together, the Satya Paul design studio established
itself firmly in the Indian Fashion world. We inducted the concept
of setting ramp shows to ‘live’ classical music. In
2003, we associated with the art of famed artists from across
the continents, to create concepts that caused a furore in the
Indian Design world! Indeed, our signature series of drapes, apparel
and accessories were hailed as “the best prints in the world”!
The famed Satya Paul saries and prints acquired a brand presence
all their own.
With the intention to reach to an international audience we held
shows overseas in rarefied locales such as Madame Tussauds at
London in the year 2003. In the ensuing months, the Satya Paul
label set the International catwalk afire with trailblazing concepts
and prints. Madame Tussauds was followed by shows at New York,
Long Island, Chicago, Singapore, Dubai, Kenya and Malaysia at
the Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week to name a few. Since the year 2002,
the swiftly growing Satya Paul design studio turned into a powerhouse
by establishing a retail presence of 15 standalone stores at present,
at all the major cities across India. We are scouting for opportunities
to set up the same overseas too. The year 2004, also witnessed
our association with cause-related activities. We have hosted
shows to help gather funds for breast cancer, underprivileged
sections of the society and last year to raise funds for those
affected by Tsunami.
There’s no bizz like showbiz…
With a savvy bit of marketing we have found a foothold in the
world of showbiz by designing for various characters of popular
soaps on the television and the Femina Miss Indias’ wardrobes
for International pageants.
Corporate’s the way to be…
We have the singular distinction of establishing a distinct corporate
structure modeled on a time-tested overseas business module, with
organisational hierarchies, for effective expansion and future
growth of the label. Treating corporatisation as a principal issue
of critical importance we have created distinct divisions to allow
the creative processes to continue effectively with minimal hindrances.
The company has thus acquired more flexibility in pursuing commercial
opportunities, to be pro-active in a rapidly changing consumer
The Indian market…
The Indian urban consumer is not only becoming more and more brand
conscious but is also moving towards very high-end brands. Even
the forbidding price tags of most of these products do not seem
to deter consumers across metros. A specific case in point is
the luxury grooming market that is pegged at Rs.3000 crore annually
and is growing by 30-40 per cent annually, according to industry
estimates. Consumer groups across the spectrum are driving the
demand. The new consumer in India has the purchasing power with
a growing desire to spend on personal gratification. The juggernaut
of liberalisation gathering momentum each day, is opening up markets
in India as well as overseas, for both the indigenous brands as
well as industries of western world, to cross boundaries and tap
unlimited potential, especially in the retail segment of Lifestyle
Indeed, India seems to be poised on the very brink of a retail