Ravi Chawla, Founder, Ravissant
Indian luxury silverware and lifestyle brand Ravissant started out in 1981 with the purpose of bringing top-notch products, from home décor to avant-garde fashion and jewellery, to an affluent clientele.
Founders Ravi, 81, and his wife Mina Chawla envisaged the brand to be a place where fashion transcends the ordinary, making a valiant statement with each offering. “Our sensibilities set forth a novel paradigm in the realm of fashion and luxe living, redefining the very essence of style and luxury,” says Ravi.
In 1991, the brand entered the world of sterling silverware and have since introduced various international collections—which feature engraved and enamelled pieces inlaid with an assortment of precious and semi-precious stones—with some of the top designers and silversmiths across the globe including Paul Binder from Switzerland. Their latest collection, An African Odyssey, launched in February, is a safari-inspired silverware collection with intricate detailing of pieces that showcase a wide variety of exotic birds and mammals of the African Savannah.
Ravissant’s revenue is in excess of $25 million, 70 percent of which is procured through sales in Europe and America. A book documenting the history of the company and the Chawlas' journey as testament to the spirit of entrepreneurship to inspire those looking to make their mark in the business world is also currently in the works.
In an interview with Forbes India
, Ravi Chawla spoke about the company’s journey, their latest collection and future plans. Edited excerpts Q. How did Ravissant Silver come to fruition?
In the year 1991, Ravissant embarked upon the exclusive and rarefied realm of sterling silverware. Each creation, a masterpiece of unparalleled rarity, was painstakingly crafted under the scrupulous eye of silversmiths hailing from Holland, Germany, as well as by the master jewellers of Switzerland. Esteemed silversmiths such as Paul Binder of Switzerland, Prof. Jan Van Nouhuys of Schonhoven University, and Paul De Vries and Arjan Lucas of Holland graced our premises to initiate the establishment of a silversmithing workshop. The Indian silversmiths underwent extensive training under their tutelage, culminating in the production of the first sterling silverware collection after over two years of continuous training by Dutch experts. Q. What was the portfolio that the company started with and how has it evolved?
In 1981 we inaugurated our first boutique in New Delhi, intending to provide top-notch quality products to affluent and prestigious clients in India. Despite being established as a tribute to haute couture, we were confident our store would surpass the mere display of trendy apparel. As probably India's inaugural designer label, Ravissant revolutionised fashion and lifestyle. We initiated our growth trajectory by launching a branch in Bombay and an enormous store covering 25,000 sq ft in New Delhi, offering a diverse range of merchandise, such as soft designer furnishings and furniture.
Our inaugural global outlet was established at Brompton Square in London in 1991. In the same year, Ravissant ventured into the high-end realm of sterling silverware. With a cohort of over 200 expert silversmiths, our establishment ranks among the finest silver product manufacturers in the world. Our silver products have been acquired by distinguished personalities such as President Nelson Mandela, Prince Eisenberg from Germany, HH Sheikha Hissah Al Sabah of Kuwait, and the royal family of Saudi Arabia. Synonymous with pioneering fashion, exquisite jewellery, and opulent home décor, the Ravissant brand has expanded into various luxury segments. Today, Ravissant has four outlets in Mumbai, two in Delhi, and one in Agra, and will establish new branches in prime locations in Hyderabad, Madras, and Bangalore. Also read: Beating the odds: Why Melorra's Saroja Yeramilli believes being a solo woman founder is the toughest job Q. How did the latest collection An African Odyssey come about?
The collection was inspired by a wildlife-themed desk calendar of images taken by my close friend Dattaraj V ‘Raj’ Salgaocar—a wildlife enthusiast and a keen photographer who often visits the wilderness of Africa and India. The quality of emotions and expressions of live animals captured in the images captured my imagination, which became the inspiration for the collection. The opulent collection of silverware has been meticulously fashioned by the esteemed artisan Ralf Auerbach, boasting a bold and strikingly three-dimensional assemblage of animalistic forms that pay homage to the iconic imagery of the African savannah. Each individual piece has been painstakingly curated to fuse the raw and organic beauty of the natural world with sumptuous textures that exude luxury and refinement. Drawing inspiration from the sprawling savannahs dotted with exotic wildlife, as well as the resplendent hues of untamed birds and beasts, this collection is exquisitely poised to imbue homes with the vivacious and flamboyant spirit of Africa. The assortment ranges from intricate cutlery and showpieces to resplendent furnishings. Q. How has Ravissant Silver grown and evolved in terms of clientele in India?
Ravissant has consistently directed its focus towards an exclusive and discerning clientele of the highest calibre in the nation. Our customer base in India has grown exponentially over the years. With such a large and loyal customer base, we are currently experiencing a massive demand in the domestic market. Among our patrons are esteemed figures such as Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata Industries Limited, RK Krishnakumar, vice chairman of Tata Tea, the Ambani family of Reliance Industries Ltd., PRS Oberoi, the chairman of the Oberoi Group of Hotels, Naresh Goyal, chairman of Jet Airways, Subash Chandra, chairman of Zee News, Subrata Roy, chairman of Sahara Group, Raymond Bickson, the managing director of Indian Hotel Companies Ltd and many more. Q. What are some Ravissant trends that have been embraced fully?
Intelligently divining the wants of a female, Ravissant assembled an ensemble suitable for any part of the globe, be it Paris, New York, Tokyo, Delhi, or Mumbai. In the year 1984, Ravissant transcended the realm of sartorial elegance, venturing into the domain of a sophisticated lifestyle. Ravissant has at all times acknowledged artistry in every form, and with the introduction of each new array of products we have persistently attempted to introduce something novel for our patrons, which has been welcomed with open arms by the customers.
The act of bestowing gifts is a customary convention in diplomacy, particularly when dignitaries embark upon foreign visits or engage with counterparts from other nations. Varying protocols dictate the receipt of these tokens of goodwill. Ravissant has made a consequential impact by meticulously designing silverware gifts embodying the unique cultural nuances that underpin the exchange of diplomatic presents. Also read: Minimalistic jewellery is in, heavy and chunky jewellery is passÃ©: Ajoy Chawla Q. In what ways are the products catered to the Indian population?
In the realm of couture, Ravissant introduced a revolutionary approach to attire and lifestyle. Nimble-fingered combined the avant-garde and very modern with the traditional to craft an unparalleled look that gratifies Indian consumers. Analogously, the silverware encompassing jewellery, cutlery, and furniture have perpetually united intriguing components from abroad to the Indian milieu. Q. What are your plans for expansion?
Ravissant will soon open new branches in prominent locations like Bengaluru, Madras, and Hyderabad. Given our ongoing commitment to quality and cutting-edge product offerings, we look forward to further expand in overseas markets as well.
We're getting ready to amp up and make some noise about our brand like never before. In addition, we intend to exhibit our products in international markets such as the Middle East and Europe to gain traction and awareness for our brand among global customers.