Jitendra Aghara – CMD Simpolo

Jitendra Aghara, CMD, Simpolo Group talks about the inspiration behind their unique award-winning products and displays

Simpolo is a brand that is deeply rooted in its traditional values yet soaring the highest skies of success through its commitment to the core belief of “Success demands creativity and innovativeness”…these two words have propelled the brand to be one of the best in the industry today. They are recognized for their innovative design-led products and displays. We unravel the inspiration behind this unique aspect of their work.

From having no brand in 2000 to being the proud owner of Simpolo, one of the top five ceramic companies of India today…tell us a little about this journey of mercurial success as an entrepreneur.
It all started with the entrepreneurial spirit of my father since 1977 who put up a roofing tiles factory when that was what Morbi was known for, from then on it has been a tumultuous journey with tremendous efforts and constant adaptation to newer strategies and innovation. In the year 1991 when I joined the business, along with three partners we set up a sanitary ware plant and ran it for almost a decade and got established as quality and innovative player in a market dominated by the giants.

By the year 2000, the partners decided to carve separate paths for themselves and I started from Ground zero again. With no factory or a brand in possession, things did not seem easy, but to my surprise, I got encouragement and support from everyone I had interacted with, be it vendors, suppliers, dealers, and even employees I had worked with and thereafter there was no looking back. We started with Silver Brand and later in 2003, Simpolo happened. Keeping innovation and quality at the center always, connecting with the end user became easy. Though it was indeed a challenging period, continuous research and innovative inputs helped us in developing the classy appeal in the products, which in turn made it possible for us to catch speed and reach to the level where we are today. Building a brand and taking it higher and higher is my passion and reaching out to every household with affordable yet high-quality ceramic products is my dream.

Simpolo is appreciated for the consistent quality of its products across the world. How do you drive this passion with your human resource?
I believe I am blessed with one of the best teams ever in our industry. I have a perfect blend of professionals and family members giving their best to steer the company towards achieving the goals propelled by a shared vision. At Simpolo we believe our customers deserve nothing but the best, so we strive to give world-class products and services every time and that is our mission. Regular up-gradation of technology coupled with robust research and development, six sigma initiatives, and stringent quality assurance processes enable us to stay ahead. The best testimony to what we say comes from the fact that Mr. Ratan Tata (an architect by education) chose our Alaska White Tiles for his Colaba Bungalow, which happens to be the World’s whitest white tile ever produced. Mr. Tata praised this tile and expressed deep satisfaction after having the tiles laid in his bungalow, such endorsements boost my team and my morale and inspires us to do more towards this end. It is indeed a huge responsibility to offer continuous quality products in all range of designs and sizes but I am committed to this goal and my team is always striving to maintain this mark of excellence.

Every year we see very unique and creative displays for promotions of your products. What inspires these?
When we conceive an idea for designing a Tile we generally work backward, we first think of the area where the tile will be used and then experiment with designs colors and sizes, naturally, that gives us several ideas on how to showcase that particular product and since our teams work meticulously while designing the tile for its suitability to that particular area, the customers easily connect with the theme and usage of the New launch. Moreover, I make sure my designers travel a lot in India as well as abroad so that they have exposure to the world’s best and latest and that is how we come out with award-winning displays wherever we go.
My fundamental principle for such shows and displays is to always showcase a style that should inspire the customers. It should let loose their imagination and enable them to create spaces of their choice.

Simpolo is fast being identified as a brand with a sharp design aesthetic. Can we see it emerging as a designer-entrepreneur?
Simpolo owes its existence to innovation. From designer Art Basins, Whitest White Vitrified Tiles, Glazed Vitrified Tiles to Polished Vitrified Tiles, from Wood finishes, to exotic Marble designs, from Metallic finishes to Stone finishes Simpolo has made its mark in the eyes of the designer community as India’s foremost off beat Designer Tile company. If anyone in the Indian tile industry deserves this slot of Designer Entrepreneur, I would most humbly stake my claim to it.

Do you have any plans of opening a design studio showroom?
Every showroom displaying Simpolo products has to be a design studio in itself irrespective of its size. Every display panel of Simpolo does not just show the Tile it also gives a pictorial representation of its best usage as well. This helps a customer visualize how a space done with that Tile will look like. We have recently opened our exclusive showroom at Ahmedabad on the S.G Highway Road. We are in the process of doing up hundred-odd showrooms of our Dealers in a phased manner and within our factory premises, we have done a showroom of 20,000 + Sq.Ft. area, where Live mock-ups of bathrooms, kitchens, living rooms, halls, corridors, exterior areas have been done to give life-like imagery and fire the imagination of a visitor.

You are passionate about cars and travel. How do these passions influence your design aesthetic?
This is a difficult one to answer. Yes, I am fond of cars and keep upgrading my garage. Somewhere…somehow the design element, the aesthetics, the ergonomics, the impeccable quality of high-end cars inspire me to bring that attitude while designing my products and my wanderlust takes me to the world’s most exotic places and definitely the beauty of nature and architecture of different places are all sources of inspiration to me. Wherever I see an object de’ Art I stop to admire and store it somewhere in my mind for a future reference.

Tell us little about your fondness for the number 222?
222 is not only a lucky number for the Aghara family, it is in fact a proof that brand consciousness runs in my genes. When no one was branding the Roofing Tiles in Morbi, my father Shree Thakarsi Bhai Aghara sold his produce under a brand name Nadia 222. The emphasis on quality control made Nadia 222 stand out in the crowd and the brand still sells today for 40 years since 1977 and is respected amongst the traders and users alike. In fact, the number 222 connects me to my roots and my core values.

Your advice to future entrepreneurs…
In this era of IT innovations and robotics advancement, the human values will be at stake in the longer run, but I still believe the youths of today must pursue what they themselves have faith in. I feel the new generation must follow the voice of their heart and pursue their passion. They must strive for something new. My advice to the new generation is that whichever industry or work arena you enter, enter with thorough study and homework, there is no shortcut to success. Smart hard work will be the key to success in the coming times of cut-throat competition. Unless they are ready to learn and improvise every day, things cannot take shape in the desired manner.

I have deep faith in this new generation as they are smarter and fearless in decision making. They have a bright future ahead.

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