Having acquired the rights to the company, Mumbai-born Sanjiv Mehta invested over £12m into The East India Company in advance of the company¹s relaunch. The East India Company will now reopen with a 2,000 sq ft store in Mayfair this month.
The East India Company store will begin by selling luxury foods including teas, exotic confectionary and bespoke velvet-lined hampers.
Diamond mail-order business
Before joining the family diamond trading business, Sanjiv Mehta studied finance at Sydenham College at Mumbai University.
At the helm of the family business, Sanjiv Mehta expanded it into one of the first mail order businesses of fine jewellery in India, with wholesale operations in the Middle East, the US and Japan.
Sanjiv Mehta’s entrepreneurial colours have also been credibly earned through other ventures, such as selling tea wholesale in Russia and promoting other consumer products in India.
The East India Company
Sanjiv Mehta’s international aspirations are clear for The East India Company. “The essence of the brand is in the stories it has to tell and in connecting people across the world,” he tells the FT.
The relaunch of The East India Company will eventually see its products selling in other upmarket stores in both Britain and the US. But Sanjiv Mehta’s ambitious plans don’t stop there. He is also considering selling alcoholic beverages alongside his strawberry and champagne jam.
Dating back to the 17th century, and established by Queen Elizabeth I, The East India Company is steeped in history and culture. Sanjiv Mehta is passionate about this, and has made clear that he will try to preserve and develop the company’s historical links.
“The East India Company holds limitless opportunities across many products, sectors and countries. We are determined to capitalise on the impeccable pedigree and enviable heritage of our brand,” he continues.
For example, the addition of alcoholic drinks such as India Pale Ale and gin and tonic harks back to the British Empire, fulfilling Sanjiv Mehta’s aim to build on the cultural heritage of the brand. The product range could even be extended as far as the introduction of furniture, jewellery and real estate.
In addition to the London store which will employ 35 people and is expected to turn over £6m in its first year the luxury foodstuffs
will also be available online at The East India Company e-commerce site.
But Sanjiv Mehta’s motivations aren¹t purely financial. There are clear cultural implications to his takeover of the company: “People are rejoicing because an Indian has bought the EIC – it is a symbol of redemption.”
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