On April 30, Victorinoxopened its brand-new store at the Palladium Mall, High Street Phoenix located in Mumbai.
The renowned luxury retail complex has the full Victorinox product line, from well-known Swiss Army Knives to kitchen knives, watches, travel goods, and fragrances. The iconic Swiss Army Knife maker is extending its reach with its own retail outlets as well as those managed by franchise partners. Following the launch of shops in Vienna, Prague and Lyon in 2020, 2021, and 2022, respectively, the Mumbai store has now opened in April 2022. Victorinox goods are currently accessible in over 120 countries across the world, and the Victorinox brand universe may be experienced at physical shops as well as in more than 50 brand-owned retail stores.
Functional travel gear, watches, and fragrances await fitness experts, sports lovers, urban trendsetters, and travel aficionados. Both amateur and expert chefs will discover a large assortment of kitchen knives and accessories. Of course, the famous Swiss Army Knives are available as well. Swiss Army Knives may be personalised in terms of configuration and engraving, in addition to a large selection of styles and colours. Some of the travel gear also has an unexpected touch of personalisation. Some travel gear goods, inspired by the brand DNA and functionality of the classic Swiss Army Knife, provide a specific customisation option. Initials and names of up to twelve characters can be engraved in the choice of colour on an iconic Swiss Army Knife scale.
LuxeBook spoke to Colonel Chandhoke, Managing Director of Victorinox India about Victorinox India’s plan for the year ahead.
“We’re all excited, the energy is high. It’s our first Victorinox store, we have been here for the last five to six years and built a foundation for the brand and the MBO (Multi-Brand Outlets). 2020 was supposed to be the launch of the first Victorinox store, but then due to COVID-19 the launch was postponed to April 2022”, says Chandhoke on how he feels about the launch of the new store.
Could you tell us about your journey with Victorinox India?
I have been with Victorinox for the last 15 years. In the initial years, we launched product by product. The whole idea was to go step-by-step and understand the market. We started with pocket knives, kitchen knives and after a couple of years, we had watches, travel gear and really tried to understand and learn from the market. A big advantage was the Swiss Culture of the headquarters, which has a step-by-step approach which works in the Indian market. I strongly believe, we Indians have money and are willing to spend, but we take time. We are intelligent consumers, and we like quality. I was happy that the headquarters in Switzerland gave the India team the time and space to breathe and build the market. 2015- 2020 was a very aggressive journey for Victorinox, where all the products were available in India in MBO formats. That is when it was decided that 2020 was the year to launch the Victorinox flagship stores, to come as a single brand and to launch six stores in three years. I’m super excited about the developments.
Do you feel Victorinox has made its presence felt in India?
We are not a fashion category or any other product category. We are a serious player in every category. Knives are our forte. We produce one lakh forty thousand knives every single day. There is no stopping us.We see an 80-100 crore potential in each of our categories. I see a good 300-400 crore retail market for the brand in the next five years. We are also privileged to be suppliers to the armed forces around the world. Our Swiss army knives are a part of the kits of so many armies.
Have you faced any challenges and how have you overcome them?
There were hiccups in government policies, GST, demonetisation etc, which are all temporary hiccups. On the business side, there has been the additional burden of educating people about the market, first on travel gear then on kitchen knives. This was a chance to educate and change the culture and mindset of people and it’s a fun challenge. An aggressive kitchen knife plan was launched during the pandemic as people were at home and cooking. We realised travel gear and watches were down and this diversification helped us.”
You have a lot of competitors in the market in the premium kitchenware segment. What do you think makes Victorinox stand out?
Our mindset is not a relative inferior-superior mindset as the culture of the company. At Victorinox, we strive to ensure a smile on the face of our customers. For our knives the kind of quality that we provide and the scale that we provide, the price is almost unmatchable today. Even with our watches, we run a total of 130 tests, like a temperature test, water test, ice test, drop tests, pull test and an 8-ton truck and 16-ton tanker goes over it. Our tests can be seen on YouTube. That is the testimony of the quality put in the product. The product stays and it is value for money.
You have a set road map for Victorinox, how have you developed this plan?
As I said, we strive to make the lives of our customers easier and put a smile on their faces. The entire team here is committed, in line with our global approach of spreading smiles. In India, we share the same enthusiasm and energy to build this, and I am thankful for such a passionate team who are always listening to customers and ensuring them their best.
What would you describe your leadership skills like, how do you drive your team?
I think you should as my team this question! But in a few words, I will say, I love to take people along. I believe that the team is incomplete without a strong leader and a strong leader is incomplete without a team. It’s 50-50, it’s a marriage. We value each other’s role as a team. We are strong in our difficult India journey. We have a clear approach that there will be no compromise in our ethics and that comes as a big strength.