Pooja Jain Gupta, Managing Director of the Luxor Group, gets her infectious energy from her father, the late DK Jain, Founder and Chairman of the Luxor Group, one of India’s largest writing instruments and stationery goods companies. With brands such as Luxor, Pilot, Parker and Waterman in its portfolio, the Group is now entering the Home and Hygiene segment with Luxor Nano, a range of surface and gadget-cleaning products powered with nano technology, giving long-lasting protection to ‘on-the-go’ consumers. It is the onset of a new category in the Home and Hygiene space, says Gupta as she talks about evolving as a professional, plans for the Group and her personal space.
From being a leading brand in writing instruments to entering the Home and Hygiene segment now, how did this leap happen?
Luxor has always been about building cultural changes in the minds of consumers. We pioneered the culture of writing in our country. My father was always passionate about seeing a clean and hygienic India through science and innovation. He had started working with scientists and developed formulations in state-of-the-art labs about a decade ago. But the pandemic dictated the timing, because the consumer has never taken his/her personal hygiene so seriously.
What were the key marketing and life lessons you picked up from working alongside your father, the veteran DK Jain?
My Dad was a different genre of human being – as a person and in business. He believed in hard work and was a pure karmayogi. I embody this spirit too. I learnt everything by being alongside him, every hour, every day. He has created Luxor to be an institution, which it is today in the writing space. His drive, his energy, his teamwork, his far-sightedness – I think I have picked up these traits from him clearly. And then being confident and fearless in the face of setbacks, which have been many. But we’ve pulled ourselves together and driven the organization too. I have the perseverance bloodline in me, just like he did. In terms of marketing, he believed in the power of a brand; he was a brand in his own right, worshipped by all. I have embodied that in me too, and I am driven by own brand and my consumers.
You joined your own company as an assistant product manager and rose up the corporate ladder just like anybody else. What kind of challenges did you have to face?
I was the owner’s daughter, a director and a product manager at the same time. Since I played three roles simultaneously, I realized early on that one cannot get work done by playing the directorship card. When I launched Parker in India, I worked alongside stalwarts from the FMCG sector, which was a huge learning and achievement for me. I had to follow processes of the organisation just like everybody else. I had to exercise openness and restraint at the same time. If any job needed to be done, I’d get my hands dirty. From manufacturing to retail to even selling pens by standing behind the counter, in India and abroad, I have done it all. People perceive you with your energy and actions, which demonstrate the person that you are.
The Home and Hygiene sector is enormous and crowded. How are you differentiating Luxor Nano from established players? What are the expansion strategies you are going to employ?
There are major FMCG giants in this space, with whom we do not intend to compete. We believe in creating categories and through Luxor Nano, we are looking to create one with ‘protection-on-the-go’ with focus on the convenience of hygiene. Our proposition is long-lasting protection, killing 99.9% bacteria and viruses. Our All -in-one Disinfectant Spray gives 1-hour protection. We are also about glass and gadget cleanliness, which is emerging as a hotbed of harmful micro-organisms these days. Our products are not run-of-the mill alcohol-based cleaning agents, but based on science and innovation. We will be launching newer product categories with longer-lasting protection, like 24-hour protection and so on.
On a more personal note, what’s your typical weekday like? And how do you unwind on weekends?
After I finish my yoga and exercise, it’s office for me. I do spend about half an hour every morning planning my day, and what I have to achieve in the day. Beyond business, it’s mostly spending time with my mother and husband and also socializing with friends. I am watching ‘Life of Shiva’ with my husband and we’re learning to apply it to our day-to-day lives. I have a distinct energy, and I can snap from one role to another at the drop of a hat. If you ask me for a presentation on Luxor even at 2 am, I’d be ready with it!