Coming a full circle of sorts, the East India Company, which was the beginning of the British rule in the Indian subcontinent, is now all set to be reborn under Indian ownership. The East India Company was the first multinational trading company in the world and in time became the symbol of the British Empire. Although, in the Indian subcontinent the name is now synonymous with the British regime, an ambitious Indian-born importer and entrepreneur hopes to make that name synonymous with luxury goods. And so in 2005, ambitious entrepreneur Sanjiv Mehta bought the intellectual property rights to the company after they had lain dormant for nearly a century. Now he aims to turn this company into a global luxury brand. The company’s first store has opened in London’s high-end Regent Street, where buyers are lured with a variety of historically significant products associated with the company name like gourmet tea, chocolate, coffee and gifts.
If you love tea, you must visit the stores, “tea library” that features more than 100 different types including green, black, herbal, and flavored teas. A treat for all your senses you will find everything from Japanese mustard to chocolate and biscuits flavored with sea salt and red peppercorns in this store.
What is more, a table in the store is inscribed with an obituary that was printed in The Times in 1874 after the East India Company ceased its operation, it reads “”It accomplished a work such as in the whole history of the human race no other company ever attempted, or is ever to attempt in the years to come.”
Mehta who has invested around $20 million in this company hopes people see beyond the oppression and aggression that this name may bring to mind and in fact remember the company for its contribution to the infrastructure of India like the many bridges, railway system, ports etc that were built by this company. What is more, Mehta also plans to open more stores and launch leather goods, jewelry and home interiors in the near future.