Ronak Sheth, Founder, Opium Eyewear
Ronak Sheth started his entrepreneurial journey with Eternity Lifestyles in 1998; the company went to become pioneers in the eye wear industry of India. Under Sheth's leadership Eternity Lifestyles, managed the national portfolio of brands like Oakley, Chanel & Mont Blanc and are currently working
with high-end luxury brands such as Cartier, Chrome Hearts, DITA, Maybach, Gucci, Puma to name a few. With experience of over 15 years in the eyewear industry, it’s safe to say Sheth’s ability to foresee market trends and scope has kept him on top in this competitive space.
In conversation with Dominic Rebello, Ronak reveals his vision of making everyone’s life interesting by making every face sport Opium Eyewear
Tell us about the brand journey of Opium Eyewear?
Creating trends, raising the bar and blazing trails since 1998, we at Eternity Lifestyles have come a long way. We’ve been proud pioneers of luxury, premium fashion and sports eyewear in India. Currently, we work with some amazing high luxury brands such as Cartier, Chrome Hearts, DITA and exclusive partnership with Kering Eyewear for brands like Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Bottega Veneta and Saint Laurent. Opium Eyewear – our house brand is super youthful, colorful high energy and high fashion.
Opium was born about 5 years ago. Considering we’ve been around brands all the time it was a matter of time that we started our own. We were sure we wanted to be in fashion category however we wanted to do it in an exciting way. Thereby starting from the name Opium to our imagery and visual appeal we have always tried to go beyond the normal. We wanted to establish a brand from the consumer’s lens and not base it on Industry point of view. We have created a space for OPIUM which is all about interestingness; it’s about how you look at it. Each one has a point of View, which is unique and interesting in its own way.
Our packaging has won accolades; recently we won the best packaging award, Blue Elephant at Kyoorius Design Yatra, 2016, amongst multiple product categories, not just eyewear.
And our product design has always been exceptional, because we believe truly that product is the king. We say the least about and let it do the talking.
Your strategy to target the huge Indian market?
The eyewear market in India is very fragmented between the organized and unorganized sector. As per industry estimates there could be around 20,000 opticians in India spread across rural and urban areas.
However, the Urban and Tier 2 cities would have around half of it. In addition to the above there are numerous other part time shops selling mainly sunglasses as an OTC product. There is no real estimate of the market done by a reputed agency so these are only industry estimates stating the retail value of the organized market is around 2 Billion USD. The unorganized market is assumed to be 2 times the organized market.
With regards to our house brand OPIUM - the strategy to target this huge Indian market is by bringing about differentiators thru product and packaging, we are investing in additional sales channel like kiosks and stand alone stores even though we are present in Opticians, department stores and a host of online websites. Sun wear is fast changing fashion - so we are targeting the early adopters to be at the top of the curve always, rather than adopt a brand ambassador. Capsule collections are our next step as well.
Any expansion plans? Where do you see yourself five years down the road?
We have only scratched the surface. The market is big and the important players have not made a big impact. There is still a long way to go to get even a reasonable share of the current market. We are expanding our product offering, creating proprietary designs, stretching the pricing band not only in the distribution brands but also in OPIUM and going into strategic initiatives like co-branded products and influencer based line.
What is your vision for the company?
The vision of our company is to change lifestyles via eyewear and with regards to OPIUM it is to make every face sport opium eyewear and to make everyone’s life even more interesting.