Tejura Overseas Enterprises Pvt. Ltd. (TOEPL) is a Mumbai based company. TOEPL is involved in the business of imports & distribution of fine writing instruments, stationery products for more than 3 decades. Our portfolio includes a range of luxury & fine writing instruments, technical drawing instruments and high quality school & office stationery.
Recently, PSS got the opportunity to speak with Mr. Sagar Tejura, MD, Tejura Overseas Enterprises Pvt. Ltd. Here are the few excerpts of the discussion.
PSS: Please tell us something about your journey in this industry. Did you inherit this business or build it on your own?
Sagar Tejura: We Started off in 1983 and the journey still continues…. The only thing is that I was always blessed with a very dedicated and loyal team in all disciplines of the business and if we have reached somewhere, then its only because of the team.
PSS: How is the distribution of Imported goods different from distribution of indigenous products? One aspect that seems evident is that – it must be complex to manage than the distribution of native products. So what are the incentives or profits that guide you to go for a tougher process?
S.T.: We have always been in the niche segments of the categories we deal in and such products are produced globally by a handful of manufacturers. We also distribute some indigenous products but restricted to Maharashtra State not Pan India.
Imported brands have their own charm and following in the Indian market because of its very high quality and exclusivity and hence distribution is more controlled and limited to a few outlets in each city. Business is more personalised in terms of service and not only price and discount driven.
PSS: Your product portfolio is extensive and wide-ranging. How do you decide on these? Do some of them exist just to complement the rest and fill the gap or each one has its own place in your marketing efforts? How has been the response of the Indian market towards these premium quality products?
S.T.: Most of the products what we do our complimentary in nature. E.g. in Fine Writing Instruments as a category we have Otto Hutt, Germany which produces high quality products mainly crafted out of German Silver, Cleo Skribent-Germany, a brand which caters to producing in brass - resin, Scrikks - Turkey gives us a bandwidth to cater to a wider segment because of the wide range the brand offers at various price points etc.
Eagle and Jovi brands are both catering to the Stationery segment. So we are not haphazard in our selection. The brands are new so it’s a challenge to shake the mindset of the retailer because they want to stock only those items which a consumer comes asking for. But we are getting there since the products are top class and ably supported by our service. The process is slow but rewarding.
PSS: Apparently such a wide assortment of product portfolio requires an equally well-planned distribution channel and strategy. Would you like to tell us what are the pointers that help you decide on type of strategy or channel?
S.T.: There is no rocket science in this. To cover Pan India, we rely on our time tested Distributors and ably support them with various tools needed to execute their sales.
Exhibitions and in store promotion is our key area to educate the consumer. E.g. one of our retailers in Mumbai, developed an idea to have a Fountain Pen Festival in his store and we said brilliant. All collaterals, manpower etc. would be handled by us.
PSS: Which category faces stiff competition from Indian brands and which is your highest grosser?
S.T.: Fortunately we don’t have any competition with any Indian Brand since our categories are different and there is no Indian Player in these segments.
PSS: What has been role of Govt. policies like – “Customs” and “Taxation” in your import business? Over the years Constructive or hard to handle? What is the current scenario? (please do include your thoughts about GST)
S.T.: I think it’s a myth that Customs and Taxation is a very complicated issue. If you are straight forward in your dealings and all documents are in order, nothing can be more simpler than importing goods. Specially in our categories, it’s a cakewalk and under the GST regime, still better. I am all for GST and the Govt. is gradually making amendments wherever necessary – rates and implementation, I am very optimistic that GST is a big boon and a must for Indian business. Again, businesses which are straightforward and well organised, GST can only do good.
PSS: Please share some interesting anecdotes about your journey. Some ups and downs or some challenges that tested your courage and mettle as a businessman. Also if you’d like to name a few people, may be family or friends in your life –
S.T.: Personal or Business Associates and Friends; that have been part of these struggles and stories. I don’t know, but I have never seen any downs in my journey, only ups. If we have lost somewhere, then maybe it was the best thing to happen then and we have moved on.
Oh yes, we are challenged everyday because of the portfolio we carry, but again here our team is so very positive and proactive, that we don’t feel the resistance or any obstacles which can make us feel defeated.
Family and Friends of course, but here I wish to thank all our distributors and key retailers who stood by us, believed in us and supported us unconditionally. Here the list is too long and I am indebted to them. They have made us what we are today.
PSS: At last but not the least - Future plans of TEJURA OVERSEAS?
S.T.: Along with the brick and mortar sales distribution, we are gearing up to be a recognised player on the E-Commerce platform. We would be having our own E-Commerce portal to sell our brands and also as a marketplace seller on various platforms.