• Wednesday, February 21, 2024
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BusinessDay

Collaboration with competitors helped us build a sustainable family business – Mohit Gopwani

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Founded by two brothers, Mohit and Aman Gopwani, Equilux aims at redefining opulence through supplying exclusive and rare products enhancing the lifestyle of its customers. Equilux has its roots in a family legacy spanning over 40 years, dedicated to the global trade of personal shopping and high-end luxury merchandise. In this interview with IFEOMA OKEKE-KORIEOCHA, MOHIT GOPWANI takes us through the journey of founding thr brand and how the brand has remained sustainable in the global and Nigerian market despite foreign exchange scarcity in the country.

Take us through the journey of founding Equilux and how has the experience been since you and your brother started the business ?

Aman and I have spent most of our lives in Nigeria. After pursuing education abroad, we returned to Lagos. After going through multiple jobs and running our father’s business of trade in Nigeria, we decided it was time to venture into something new. Equilux is a brand that we are introducing to bring our family business to the world. We started this as a ‘side-hustle’ one year ago dealing watches to our network around the world and now intend to establish a trusted brand around the business.

What are the range of products Equilux offers and why the choice of these products ?

Equilux offers luxury high-end branded products that are difficult to source at a retail outlet for a normal customer anywhere in the world. The majority of the brands we deal with do not yet have an official presence in Nigeria, and we intend to capitalize on this. Our range includes handbags, watches, branded jewelry, footwear, fashion accessories, cigars, and rare spirits. We provide a solution and an investment opportunity to customers looking to invest in a product that is otherwise challenging to source.

The word ‘luxury’ seems already for a selected set of people, say the rich or the well to do ? Is this the case for Equilux or are there products you have that are affordable for all class of people ?

We offer high-end branded products that fall into the ‘luxury’ goods category and are expensive. Currently, the brand caters to a select crowd. However, in the near future, we plan to create other projects catering to a wider audience.

You founded this business with your brother and the business has been run successfully over the years. Are there situations when you both don’t align on certain business issues? How do you handle this ?

Yes, there are times when Aman and I don’t agree on things, but we know the business comes first in those discussions. All decisions for Equilux are mutually agreed upon by both of us. We consider ourselves fortunate to have a family with loads of experience in this field that we can always rely on for advice.

Equilux has its root in family legacy spanning over 40 years. Kindly take us through the background of tapping from a family legacy which has stayed for 40 years ?

To explain the 40-year legacy, it all started with my maternal grandfather in the 70s. From a small family home in India, he got work opportunities in Singapore in the business of fabrics and textiles. This led him to travel all around the world and establish a strong network. Eventually, over the years, he settled in Hong Kong where he started a custom suit business that expanded into custom jewelry. His children, my uncles, further diversified the business into branded cosmetics, watches, handbags, accessories, etc.

What legacies in your family has transcended to this business and how has these legacies helped you grow and remain sustainable over the years ?

Over the years, we have built a strong network in procurement from reliable sources, which is considerably one of the most challenging parts of this business. My family has also lasted this long in this game because they are open to helping and collaborating with other competitors in the market. We believe in working together and creating win-win situations for everyone involved in any transaction or dealing.

Who are your target market and why ?

Our target market includes enthusiasts, collectors, investors, businessmen, entertainers, other retailers, and sellers—essentially, anyone with a large enough disposable income to afford a high-end product. The products we sell are a status symbol for this audience, while some rare pieces fall into an investment category.

Nigeria continues to battle economic downturn and high inflation rate. Does this in anyway affect patronage for you?

Yes, the current economic conditions do affect our business. Currently, we are buying these products in relatively stable currencies and offering them to the Nigerian market where the Naira is quite unstable. Additionally, we have observed a drop in sales as customers are looking to control their expenditures during these times.

As a luxury brand, how do you source for raw materials or products used in making your brands ?

For those unfamiliar with the industry, a brief explanation: The products of the brands we deal in have a retail value and a market value. Because these products are in such low supply and retail outlets put you on extremely long wait times to buy a product, the market value for some items changes depending on demand. We try our best to source everything we sell at retail value, however, we can at any time source products for customers from the market at the right price.

How does the current foreign exchange scarcity affect your business? And how are you navigating this major challenge which has continued to pose existential threat to businesses in Nigeria ?

We do face issues in sourcing FX to procure, however, like any business, we try our best to overcome this challenge with patience and expanding our network.

Where do you see Equilux in the next five to 10 years ?

Equilux currently deals on social media channels such as Instagram and WhatsApp. We plan to create other channels such as a website and possibly, a storefront. In the next 5-10 years, we hope to create distribution channels to other retailers in the ECOWAS market, integrate other online avenues of revenue generation catering to a wider range of people, and perhaps create a line of items under our own brand name.