JLL Lifestyle (JSLL) Ltd has begun promoting its stainless steel kitchen as a brand in its efforts to widen its luxury and lifestyle arm Arttd’inox and provide stainless steel with the right perspective, the company’s Creative Head and Managing Director Deepika Jindal has said.
“We have also been in the stainless steel kitchen business for the last 7-8 years in a formal way. Earlier, it used to be industrial but now we are doing it more as a brand, where the material genuinely makes an impact and a difference,” Jindal told businessline in an online interview.
Arttd’inox was launched nearly 19 years ago when Deepika’s husband Ratan Jindal, Chairman and Managing Director of Jindal Stainless (Hisar) Ltd, wanted her “to make more creative products and also make creative things out of stainless steel”.
Lack of knowledge
“There was nobody in India who was creating that kind of lifestyle products and that’s how basically, my husband was keen to find somebody who could start this business venture but then realised that there was a lack of knowledge and lack of initiative as well. Because it is something unknown he wanted to start and required a lot of attention. There were a lot of things needed to put in this business, so that’s how this entire thing came into my hands,” Jindal said.
Deepika Jindal, Creative Head and Managing Director, JSL Lifestyle Ltd
Stainless steel has many uses in Indian kitchens and it is the most effective and hygienic material, she said. “When you see our kitchen, you will be pleasantly surprised and you won’t even know it’s a stainless steel kitchen because it just doesn’t look like one. It is about changing people’s perceptions and changing their views towards the material to make them understand. The awareness is very important,” Jindal said.
JSLL keeps evolving and it is now looking at different kinds of products such as for home or interior designs, furniture, lights and decors. “In lifestyle, we do a lot of businesses that do not come under the brand actually,” she said.
Stating that people should look at stainless steel from a very different point of view, the JSLL MD said beautiful and creative products can come out of stainless steel and it can be beneficial to health and the environment.
“Stainless steel is not going to cause you any health issues. It is a green and hygienic material. And you get something beautiful and nice,” Jindal said.
Urging people to provide opportunities to “home-grown designers”, she said it will help artisans, in particular, to grow and develop.
To a question on the hurdles JSLL faced in making consumers accept stainless steel decor, Jindal said initially, the company was doing simple products that were sleek and clean. “Then I started realising there was an identity issue with them. I realised that we need to make it a little more Indianised in its form and shape so that people start feeling it will go with their theme. So, our designs changed and we created a balance with the clean and straight-look products,” she said.
This has helped JSLL as corporate offices too buy its products now. “Ceramic is always going to be there, but corporates don’t want things with wear and tear or ones that break. So, the whole ecosystem is changing with these requirements and we know how corporates have become much more design-oriented,” Jindal said.
JSLL’s strategy has been to mix luxury with sustainability. “We manufacture simple products like cups and saucers and everyday functional dinner sets. But we also create a little more high dinner sets as one family wants a dinner set for everyday use, another for a few occasions. So, we just treat these differently, giving them a touch of handiwork to make them look like an expensive product,” she said.
The luxury stainless steel items even come with precious stones or some elements that are expensive, to give them an up-market look. With the change in mindset from having traditional to simple and modern things, people have begun to use more stainless steel in their daily lives, particularly for interior decorations and landscapes, the JSLL MD said.
On the change in consumer mindset since the company was launched, she said it has taken a lot of years for people to look at stainless steel as a lifestyle product. “The markets and avenues opening up helped in acceptability of the stainless steel as a lifestyle material. Initially, there was a huge lack of awareness,” she said.
The company faced challenges as there was a lack of understanding of the material and at the top end, the preference was for silver. It was also not having its own manufacturing set up and outsourced its design to local vendors. “No one really worked with the stainless steel design product. So they also had poor knowledge of how to construct, manufacture and design. “A little bit of strategy change in the business, downsizing but being in constant touch with the consumers helped,” she said.