Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Friday, Jul 16, 2004
New Products & Services
Maker of Nightingale diaries plans mid-priced range
Chennai , July 15
SRINIVAS Fine Arts, makers of the premium Nightingale range of diaries and notebooks, plans to launch a new brand of diaries and notebooks in the mid-price range.
According to the company President, Mr V. Balasubramanian, after dominating the relatively higher-priced segment with Nightingale, the company plans to spur growth through this extension into a new market segment.
The new brand, The Oak Valley, will include a range of products such as notebooks, diaries, writing pads and telephone books. The lower price range is not a reflection of the quality, which will be on par with the best in the market.
Srinivas Fine Arts has cut the cost by reducing its own margins. The move is aimed at taking a share in a market that is "10 times Nightingale's," he said. Oak Valley will help Nightingale in the long run by exposing a price-conscious customer to premium quality. Therefore, an Oak Valley diary, when it is launched next year, will be a "recruitment diary"; in the long run, an Oak Valley buyer is expected to morph into a Nightingale buyer.
The mid-priced dairies will cost between Rs 99 and Rs 149 and will be A5 single date and executive dairies, which last year cost about Rs 130 and Rs 195.
Like Nightingale, Oak Valley will also target export markets in Europe, West Asia and also, Africa, a new market that Srinivas Fine Arts is targeting this year. The export market, which offers better margins than the domestic market, contributes to about 65 per cent of the company's turnover. The new product range is expected to contribute significantly to growth, he said.
In India, diary buying is largely by companies as a corporate gift. Not many go out to buy a diary for themselves. "Preference for a better paper product is a long way off."
The decision to launch a brand to tap a larger market segment is in keeping with changing trends. Lifestyle changes, growth in literacy, need to manage time better will all contribute to diary use. A diary is no longer just a fashion statement, he said.
`Czar' for corporate honchos
LAST year it was a one-of-a-kind diary, costing Rs 57,000, from Srinivas Fine Arts. This year it is the Czar, a notebook costing about Rs 775, for the corporate leader.
The notebook, launched recently, is for jotting the sensitive and precious stuff that you do not want to risk losing or get pried into. Not everybody wants to store confidential information on the electronic medium it can be hacked or worse, crash.
So to store valuable information, the old-fashioned way is often the best: Put pen to paper and lock it away. With Czar, made of imported board and high-quality paper, you can do that in style, says the company President, Mr V. Balasubramanian.
About the Rs 57,000 diary, he said the company made 250 of those diaries and "sold more than three-fourths of them."
It plans to continue with the product line for 2005, but it will be made to order.
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