Site-Wide Activity Forums Tea News and Information The new East India Company – Video link

4 replies, 4 voices Last updated by  Anonymous 6 years, 8 months ago
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  • #6381


    Ratetea mentioned he’d just discovered the new East India Company – we talked about them a little while back. Not sure if I sill have the link, if I do I’ll add it. Either way, here’s an interesting short video about their flagship store in London which opened in 2010. Looks expensive!
    For the full CNN article click here.
    For a July ’11 interview with the company click here.

  • #6382

    Anonymous @

    What a daring move!  I don’t know whether to think Mr. Mehta is acting in a cynical fashion, or an idealistic one…

    The whole thing is totally fascinating and totally fraught!  I am definitely going to write something about it, as soon as I read about 30 relevant books. 🙂
  • #6385


    I can’t say that I agree that luxury and idealism cannot be tied together because it all comes down to marketing and image. Of course, there was a time when colonialism, empire building and idealism where somewhat intermixed. Admittedly, colonialist ideals seem rather archaic these days…

    Besides, how many people can say that they own a company (or brand) that is 400 years old? He has to, by default, do something special and magnificent with it – and he can never dilute the brand at all by too much expansion.
    The trouble is, in the long-term, how does he build a brand that gives him the ability to play on the legacy without having it corrupted by the harder realities of the history. I do hope that he is successful enough to build it beyond one store. I would love to see EIC stores in major cities around the globe – however, I don’t think their services are yet complete enough for differentiation. If he expanded, it would be a fancy name on a fancy shopping street among dozens of other fancy names. He does own the single most unique and special name in business that ever existed, but he needs to find a way to create a service that goes beyond just a luxury retail store. 
  • #6387

    Anonymous @

    I tend to agree with Xavier – the success of this move depends on what he ends up selling.  If it’s luxury tea made from quality sourcing and staying away from “trends” – he might have a loyal following.  If he gets anxious and starts branching out into unknown territory with fruity-tooty experimental blends or things people aren’t expecting from what they know of EIC, he might get some push-back. 
    Risky, but can be done right.  There are a few ‘legacy brands’ in the U.S. with a long history like that in other fields, but I’ve never heard of an ‘outside’ party taking one over successfully without having to re-invent things altogether or having customers lose interest.

  • #6389

    Anonymous @

    Man, I’m so glad @jackie reminded me about this thread — it’s gotten very interesting!

    I have to say, I definitely agree with @Alex Zorach (or is it @cazort ?) that it’s hard to reconcile Luxury and Idealism.  Luxury and ideals, sure; a person can have any sort of ideals about anything.  But I think of idealism as being, necessarily, tied up with non-materialistic values — prioritizing things like positive social change, holistic thinking, socioeconomic fairness…  Whereas luxury is, necessarily, socioeconomically divisive; that is to say, signifiers of luxury not only differentiate the luxury product from less luxurious products, but also differentiate the buyer of the product from other buyers of other (less luxurious) products.  I would say that part of the “point” of luxury items is to signify status.
    On the other hand, the question of value can be highly subjective: For example, I’m a great lover of many Apple products.  The argument could be very easily made that these are luxury products with a less favorable cost to value ratio as compared to other computers, phones, etc., with similar capabilities.  However, I find that the experience of interacting with these objects is very positive from an aesthetic perspective, much more so than the experience of interacting with the above-mentioned items of comparable capability.  Interacting with beautiful objects — be they handmade art objects or mechanically produced electronic appliances — has real value for me, for which I’m willing to exchange money.
    The fact I am able to make these particular choices is, however, a luxury on many levels.

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