Fiji Time: 6:03 PM on Tuesday 23 January

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Local market focus

Filipe Naigulevu
Friday, January 12, 2018

A GROUP of like-minded investors from India has set up a business in Fiji with aims of capitalising on the growing local market for Indian garments.

And with a target for middle class customers and a focus on affordability, the four investors recently opened their new clothing and boutique shop in Suva trading as Jaipur Traders.

This new investment has created jobs for several locals and many more potential employees as the company grows and expands.

The newest attraction also adds to the several tenants and small retailers at the iconic shopping hub — Downtown Boulevard (situated at the Fiji National Provident Fund building) in Suva.

The group consists of Vijay Aggarwal, Narender Kumar, Shayam Sunder Ghanshani and Manish Jai who are all anticipating business growth in Fiji.

According to Mr Aggarwal, the move to set up a business in Fiji was a well-thought decision after their recent travels to our shores.

He said the group of investors, two of whom were based in India, chose Fiji because of the similar cultures here and their ability to speak the Hindi language. "Since we are from India and most people too from India are here, we are familiar with the culture and it is also good for me as people also understand Hindi and this is also good for us," Mr Aggarwal told this newspaper. "Our marketing intention is to draw in middle-class people and my target is for my products to be affordable for all.

"For the past seven years we have been doing Indian exhibitions all around then we decided to come to Fiji and try it out."

With plans to add more range to their product portfolio, the shop sells Indian and Western garments, suits, salwaar kameez, saris, ladies tops, dresses, skirts, trousers, bed sheets, cushion covers and imitation jewellery. "All our garments are made in India from our family suppliers.

"Here we have wedding attire, everyday attire, party and basically a wide mix of products.

"For me, this is my first business here but otherwise I have a same shop like this in the Caribbean — Trinidad and Tobago," Mr Aggarwal said. "This is our first shop in Fiji and we bring all sorts of Indian garments. We are planning to bring Indian handicraft and furniture here."

While the shop opened last Wednesday, business has somewhat been slow but the owners were optimistic it would pick up in the near future. This has not stopped customers and interested individuals who have stopped by the shop to take a look or as many of us say "window shop". "Because at the moment, it is back to school time and we know it is the wrong time to open the shop but we hope in future we will get sale and more customers," Mr Aggarwal said.

With their first shop fully operational, the group of investors have an ambitious dream of expanding their clothing retail business to major commercial spots in Fiji.

"So now we have got a chance to do business here and already we are planning to expand the business in Lautoka as well in the next four months," Mr Aggarwal said.

"My dream is to open four more shops like this in Fiji, including in Labasa and Nadi."

The shop has three staff members along with a few staff members from India. "I need some more staff from India because I need tailoring done for specific measurements for our garments," he said.

The new shop along with their stock was an investment estimated to be more than $100,000, with more lucrative plans by the group in the future.

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