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Trailblazers | April 2016

From innerwear to garments, a big leap

“T T Brand is a brand for the masses. You won’t find this brand in the niche markets of India,” replied Sanjay K Jain, Managing Director of New Delhi-based T T Limited, when asked by one of his close friends as to why we do not see the “T T Brand” in regular malls of India.

During the company’s recently-concluded Silver Bell ceremony at Bombay Stock Exchange, Jain said that the company plans to launch a premium brand in near future, targeting the urban market and youth of India. However, he refrained from divulging more details on this product. He only said that the new product will be different in character, format and design from competitors in that space.

T T Brand is a household name for various consumer products as well as industrial and intermediate products and services in India and more than 30 countries. “T T Brand is a 50-year-old brand, though the company was incorporated in 1978 only”, says Sanjay K Jain while talking to Karthik Muthuveeran in an exclusive interaction.

The name “T T” is derived from the first textile business venture of the family of Rikhab C Jain, present and founder Chairman of T T Group started by his eldest brother Bhanwar Lal Baid at Kolkata in 1947. This business firm of Tarun Textiles was started by blessings sought by founder’s mother Sugani Devi (wife of Jes Raj Ji Baid of Bikaner) from Adhistat Dev Madhuban Bhomia Ji Maharaj of Paras Nath Hills in Bihar (now Jharkhand) where 20 Tirthankaras (T.T.) of Jains got Nirvana. The family business then was named “Tarun Textiles”. The business was shortly thereafter joined by second Brother Jhanwar Lal Baid. The present and founder Chairman of T T Group being the youngest of three brothers joined business at Kolkata in 1960. In 1964, when it was about to introduce new range of underwear and undergarments within the business, Tarun Textiles’ abbreviation was used as brand name. Between 1964 to 1970 huge quantities of undergarments were exported from India to Eastern Europe, mainly Czechoslovakia, Holland, Hungry, Yugoslovia and Russia. The credit of coining the word T.T as abbreviation of “Tarun Textiles” for underwear Brand goes to Dwarka Das Harmilapi of Twin Star Agencies, who were booking agents of T. R. range of products between 1964-1970.

Jain took us through their initial beginning. He says: “We started off in Kolkata with exports under T T Brand and later introduced the brand in local market from late 60s. Till early 90s we were primarily a men’s innerwear brand plus were selling knitted fabric too from 1975. In early 1990s, we entered the cotton yarn business by setting up two mills in north as well as south India. In 2004, we made our entry into cotton fibre by setting up ginning factory in Gujarat and mainly focusing on the exports market. Yarn and fibre reduced our focus on innerwear business, however from 2010, we again started focusing on the same and enhanced our range from innerwear to casual wear and formal wear.”

Now, the company offers a wide range of products including cotton fibre, cotton yarn, knitted fabric and garments (innerwear, casual wear and formal wear for men, woman and kids). “We are backwardly integrated and hence can give better assurance of quality. Further we believe in offering value for money to our customer – hence he is a satisfied one. Further we are able to dynamically adapt as per market conditions and keep ourselves relevant to the times,” says Jain.

T T Brand has been selected as India’s Most Promising Brand. The brand’s mission has been to add vitality to life by meeting everyday needs of people to feel good, look good and get more out of life. Growth has been more or less steady, however due to change in product mix there has been periods of volatility.

Speaking on India as a market for branded products, Jain says, “Potential in India is unlimited. Especially as purchasing power is growing the unorganised customer is aspiring to buy branded products rather than cheap, unreliable unbranded ones. Hence opportunity for branded product is two fold – from growth in market and also shift of unorganised brand customers.”

“We are bullish about the Indian market. We plan to have a 50:50 share of exports and domestic from the 60:40 export/domestic ratio today. Globally, China, Bangladesh, Egypt, the Middle East, Peru and Colombia are our main markets India needs to sign FTA s with EU, Canada, Australia on an urgent basis to counter the polarisation which will happen post TPP,” says Jain.

Since 1980 onwards, T T has been utilised and exploited by various manufacturing units located at various locations such as Varansi, Kolkata, Tirupur, Delhi, Bikaner, Gujarat, Kanpur, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Shahranpur, Allahabad, Muzaffarnagar, Ghaziabad, Bangalore, Vijaywada and so on.

Like other commodities, cotton is also suffering. There is not much anyone can do about the market boom and bust, however we through our textile/mill associations try to alleviate their problems by education and contribution to policy making. Their well being is very important for our well being.

“It’s going to be a difficult year for textile industry.

We shall grow above industry rate however don’t expect a runaway growth,” replied Jain when asked about the plans for the year 2016.

T T Ltd rings the silver bell in BSE

TT Ltd celebrated the completion of 25 years of public listing by ringing the Silver Bell in Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). The glittering function hosted by Chairman-Founder Dr RC Jain was presided by Padma Bhushan awardee DR Mehta (ex-SEBI Chairman) in the International Convention Centre of BSE in Mumbai on February 24.

Apart from the chairman of the company, Sanjay Jain, MD, T T Ltd, and Jyoti Jain, Jt MD, T T Ltd were present. The gathering was addressed by Nayan Mehta, CFO, BSE; Padma VR Mehta, Independent Director; and Chief Guest DR Mehta. Other dignitaries from T T Ltd include Navratan Dugar, Director; VK Kothari, Director; Mahesh Mehta, Independent Director and Sunil Mahnot, Director – Finance.

The company’s management announced their plans to launch a premium innerwear brand in the near future as part of their new strategy to move towards the fashion side of the fibre to fashion spectrum. This move will help enhance margins and build the brand equity of the company. The company has enhanced their knitwear range to become a garment company from an innerwear company.

Dr RC Jain explained the journey of the company and its evolution as a fibre to fashion company as it spread its wings not only across India but also across 65 countries. Brand T T under which all products are sold has become a well known brand with registrations in India and many other nations. He paid special emphasis on the principles of the company and its employees who have been the two important pillars on which the company laid its foundation and grew. He humbly accepted that, “I wasn’t self made as said by many, but was made by all the people who walked with me over the long journey spanning almost 50 years.” He also dispelled the belief that T T was a family managed company, and said that it was as professional as any other company if not more. It has the distinction of having three IIM graduates on its Board, one IIT Professor, three qualified professionals and a NIFTian.

He also shared his 3 inspirations – Father of Nation Mahatma Gandhi, Saint Kabir and Poet Thiruvallur.

Sanjay Jain laid down the vision and roadmap of the company with clarity and crispness. He exuded confidence and commitment to take company to new heights. He said, “Both, the company and the Indian textile industry was at a very important threshold from where we would see both coming out with open wings like a butterfly comes out from its cocoon to dazzle the world with new colours and life.”

He felt opportunities for the company were enormous and the only limiting factor would be human resources. He further said that, “Going forward, the company would focus on value addition and brand building to create a strong portfolio of product lines to address the need of the middle class people of India. Value for money which has been an important principle of the company would continue to stay so in the years to come. Volume growth and occupying market space would be given special focus to ensure it reaches out to the heart of India.”

Jyoti Jain while welcoming everyone said, “The company wants to deliver value to everyone connected to it and the endeavour is to always connect the dots to create a happy and peaceful fraternity around it.” She further said, “The company wants to march ahead joining hands with each and every person.”

The function ended with the ‘Ringing of the Sliver Bell’, which in words of the Jyoti Jain, “This ceremony doesn’t mark the completion of 25 years, but the beginning of its journey to a golden horizon, i.e., Golden Bell.”

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