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May 21, 2024

Top luxury consumers Rachel Goenka and Zinia Lawyer talk about their favourite luxury brands

Riddhi Doshi

Top two women luxury consumers Rachel Goenka, 31, and Zinia Lawyer, 66, tell LuxeBook what impresses and annoys them about the Indian luxury market and which are their favourite brands.
Women consumers are at the forefront of the success of Indian luxury goods segment, which according to Statista is worth $8 billion, and is about to grow at the compound annual growth rate of 6.6 per cent from 2019 to 2023.
Indian female clientele’s likes, dislikes, needs and feedback is the mainstay of so many luxury companies. After all, to know their consumers better is an ongoing quest for most companies. Here, two leading luxury consumers Rachel Goenka, 31, Founder and CEO of The Chocolate Spoon Company and author of cookbook Adventures with Mithai and Zinia Lawyer, 66, Chairman – Marketing, Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC), tell us what they like, dislike, what they indulge in and own and why. And while doing so, they give some amazing insights into consumer behaviour and the strengths and shortcomings of the Indian luxury market.

Rachel Goenka

Rachel Goenka, luxury consumer
Rachel Goenka
Which is your favourite fashion brand?
I don’t have a favourite. I’m one of those people who love to experiment, so, I like picking up pieces from different brands and then styling them my way. I think it’s always better to have a good mix of brands, or else your entire closet starts to look monotonous.
Which is your favourite beauty brand?
The Armani Luminous Silk foundation is amazing! I own a lot of liquid lipsticks from Fenty and Huda. I love the Dior lipsticks as well. For liners and shadows, Charlotte Tilbury and Laura Mercier are my personal favourites, also their setting powder. I also swear by Better Than Sex Mascara by Too Faced.
What car do you drive?
Cadillac Escalade. I love that it’s a beast of a car!
cadillac escalade 2021
Cadillac Escalade – For representation only
Your favourite shoes and perfume?
Tough question! I’ve been collecting bags and shoes since I was 18. I have a massive fetish for shoes and have over 150 pairs. I have a good mix of classic and statement pairs. I love statement bags and have quite a few limited and special edition pieces. Bvlgari and Dior are my favourite brands for bags. I have some stunning, one-of-a-kind Lady Diors. My go-to perfume is Poison by Dior for the evenings and Idylle by Guerlain for the day.
Dior perfume
Miss Dior
Which is your choice of drink?
I’m a gin and soda kind of a person. I like Tanqueray, Monkey 47, Hendricks and Hapusa from Goa.
What kind of jewellery do you like?
My mum’s (Zita Goenka). She designs a lot of her jewellery and her style is more Victorian and timeless. I’m not a person who enjoys modern jewellery. I love Bvlgari though. I am an ardent fan of watches, which are more my thing and more my kind of jewellery.
Do you shop online?
I prefer bricks and mortar stores any day! Shopping is an extremely immersive experience. It’s not just about how a piece looks but about how it makes you feel, which isn’t something you can understand when shopping online. Also, I am very particular about fabrics, so I need to physically touch a garment and then decide whether it’s for me or not. The quality of the fabric and the finish of a garment differentiates luxe from high street.
Which are your favourite shopping destinations?
My all-time favourite destinations for shopping are Florence, London, Paris and Barcelona.
What do you do to rejuvenate?
I am all about retail therapy, so, I shop to rejuvenate.
What do you indulge in?
Shopping and eating!
What feedback/recommendations/suggestions would you give to luxury brands?
I think that having better after-sales services is a must, and, here, in India, it definitely needs improvement. I have to constantly send my shoes or bags for cleaning to Dubai or London as Mumbai doesn’t have very good cleaning services and the brands don’t take any responsibility if a piece is damaged during cleaning, which isn’t the case overseas.
How do you define luxury and what has been your most luxurious experience in India and abroad?
For me, luxury is about exclusivity. Craftsmanship, for example, is luxury. A product is luxe when it is handmade and tailored for a few. I’ve had some fabulous experiences in India like in the Umaid Bhawan Palace. I got married there. Abroad, I liked my time in the Maldives, South Africa and Kangaroo Island in Australia.
Kangaroo Island, Australia
Kangaroo Island, Australia / Tourism Australia
Please pick your top luxury destinations.
Umaid Bhawan Palace, Ananda, Taj Lake Palace and Udaivilas. There is something truly opulent about feeling at home in a hotel while being spoiled silly. Umaid Bhawan is particularly close to my heart because I got married there and spent a lot of time at the hotel. I got to know the staff well and was in and out of the kitchen several times while my cake was being made. It honestly just felt like home and every time I go back it still does. The spa is also out of this world!
What should the Indian luxury market do to woo more women consumers and up their game?
I think the Indian luxury market must introduce a wider range of collections. For instance, most Indian designers don’t do too many Western wear lines. The focus is on traditional Indian attire. Unless there’s a wedding or a special occasion I don’t see people investing so much in Indian wear. I, for one, am constantly looking for pieces I can wear regularly and style in different ways. Whether it’s a jacket, skirt or a shirt. I feel these pieces are so versatile that one can get a lot more use from a single piece. Anamika Khanna is one such designer who has understood the needs of a luxury customer like me. I see this a lot in her AK-OK collection.
What does the Indian luxury market lack?
Every good experience is only complete with a great environment. The luxury shopping experience in India is evolving to meet the needs of a globetrotting customer. We see this happening in Mumbai’s Kala Ghoda and Delhi’s Khan Market.
How has the luxury hospitality segment evolved in the country?
It has improved tremendously. There has been an improvement in the quality of service and operations. The beauty and core of Indian traditions are being imbibed even more deeply, enabling guests to have a superlative experience through culture, food, dance, music and style of service.

Zinia Lawyer

Zinia Lawyer, Luxury consumer
Zinia Lawyer
Which is your favourite fashion brand?
Marina Rinaldi. The brand has an endearingly beautiful history, offers great quality, is inclusive and caters to women of all sizes.
Which is your favourite beauty brand?
Chanel. When it comes to beauty, they are my only preferred brand simply because of their promise and legacy. Chanel has given us women so much joy over the years. We have seen the brand at not only dressers but also with our mothers and other women family members. It is a winner: has understood the market, evolved with time and yet stood true to its roots. I must admit that I also love Chanel because of its superior quality and the various colour options its collections offer.
What car do you drive?
I drive an Audi. It is very spacious and comfortable. That is all that matters to me.
Which is your favourite bag, pair of shoes and perfume?
Prada for handbags. They make beautiful bags. I like classic designs, which are timeless yet versatile and easily adaptable to any outfit, mood or event.Miss Dior for perfumes. The brand’s range of scents is beautiful, fresh and very feminine. Best of all, they last longer, which becomes a key factor for a working and busy woman like me, who is always on her toes. Russell & Bromley for heels. I simply love their designs and have been wearing their shoes for as long as I can remember. They have struck that sweet spot between style and comfort, where very few shoemakers succeed, let alone tread.
Chanel, red bowling bag
What kind of jewellery do you like?
Bold and colourful it is! I enjoy colour and celebrate life. Jewellery, for women, is an expression. History and science, both, speak extensively about how this relationship is way beyond surface flory. Our jewellery makes us think and feel, and anything that does that is very powerful. Hence, I always opt for statement, bold jewellery that comes in beautiful colours.
Which is the tipple of your choice?
Margarita is my drink of choice. It has so much personality, balances through tang, sweet and salty flavours and can be had any time of the day!
Do you shop online?
I don’t shop online. I enjoy the experience of walking into a store. Attention to detail, when one makes a purchase, should reflect in not only the product but also how it is presented to you. The service and human element can only be experienced when one visits a store. You get an understanding of how much and how a brand/store would like to speak with their customer. Also, I like to try on clothes. I need to touch, feel and experience how a garment or shoe will look on me before I make a purchase and that, I cannot do online.
Which are your favourite shopping destinations?
London and Paris
Pick your top five luxury hotels and spas in India
Taj Falaknuma Palace; Taj Safari Baghvan Pench; Lake Palace, Udaipur; Shreyas (Yoga Retreat), Bangalore; Ananda in the Himalayas.
Taj Falaknuma palace, India
Credit- Taj Falaknuma Palace
What do you do to rejuvenate?
Go to an ayurvedic healing treatment centre like Kare near Munshi Dam or to luxury spas to be pampered.
What feedback/recommendations/suggestions would you give to the brands mentioned above?
I am happy with the personalised service, and all major brands are well represented. I am a loyalist for these very reasons.
How do you define luxury?
Luxury must make one feel good, pampered and special. Luxury also comes with a lot of responsibility. It is important to have a good product, but one must also be able to sustain high quality, and that is something very few brands have been able to do.
What should the luxury market do to woo more women consumers?
I think that they are all moving in the right direction with enough outlets for women shoppers to experience luxury brands. Luxury is also available online now and I think for a country like India that has such a vast and varied geography, it is important that people from all parts of the country have access, and online luxury retail offers that.
What does the Indian luxury market lack?
It doesn’t lack anything. I truly feel we have enough and more happening here; brands are vying for our attention and we are considered a big and important audience for brands from across the globe.

Do you participate in Derby?
Most definitely yes. It is the most coveted race in the racing calendar and I love the thrill of horse racing. I believe that fashion, glamour and the lifestyle aspect of the races must be promoted to get more women interested to come to the Derby.

Pratishtha Rana


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