Luxury icons Sabyasachi and Oberoi open up about their 'perfectionist quirks' like checking the colour of egg yolks and slashing clothes so they can’t hit the edit table

Luxury icons Sabyasachi and Oberoi open up about their 'perfectionist quirks' like checking the colour of egg yolks and slashing clothes so they can’t hit the edit table
Prithvi Raj Singh Oberoi and Sabyasachi Mukherjee share their perfectionist 'quirks' during BI Global Trends Festival 2020Oberoi Group of Hotels/BCCL/BI India
  • The brains behind two of the leading luxury brands in India — Sabyasachi Mukherji and Prithvi Raj Singh Oberoi — believe that one needs to be a perfectionist to succeed.
  • From being particular about how eggs are served to slashing up garments so that they never reach the edit table, Mukherjee and Oberoi share some of their quirks at the BI Global Trends Festival 2020.
  • Sabyasachi even kept his flagship store, located at the heart of Mumbai, shut for 25 days because he couldn’t find the right incense.
Luxury brands in India are few and far between. However, the secret sauce to success seems to be quirky perfectionism for the few that lead in the limelight.

At the Global Trends Festival 2020, co-founder of Juggernaut Books’ Chiki Sarkar spoke with the brains behind two of India’s leading luxury brands — Sabyasachi Mukherjee from the world of fashion and the executive chairman of the Oberoi Group, Prithvi Raj Singh Oberoi — to find out what makes them tick.

Oberoi is obsessed with the way eggs are served at his hotels
Prithvi Raj Singh Oberoi travelled the world for nearly a decade before taking over the legacy of Oberoi chain of hotels in India. And he is known for redefining luxury in the hospitality industry.

One of the reasons behind this success is him being a perfectionist — this includes being hands-on with even the tiniest of details, like the way eggs are served to the guests at his hotels.

“I consider myself to be a very fussy guest. If I don’t get the best, that means people who are our guests aren’t getting the best,” he explained.

The story goes that when Oberoi is visiting his hotels, he orders eggs off the menu to check the colour of the yolk. It can't be just any shade of yellow. It has to be a particular shade of deep yellow, which he likes to call 'sunrise yellow'. If it's not, he is likely to reject the entire batch.

“No, it’s true. I always tell our people that the devil is in the details,” Oberoi told Sarkar when asked whether the ‘egg story’ was just an urban legend.

Sabyasachi is the ‘real’ devil of the fashion industry
One would consider watching the Devil Wears Prada with your staff a pretty chill move for any boss. And, when Sabyasachi did the same with his assistants — they giggled throughout the screening.

Not at the whimsical clumsiness of Anne Hathaway as Meryl Streep dominates the office, but because the ‘real’ devil was sitting next to them.

“I keep telling all my staff that my job is not to give them medals for things that they’ve done right, but to point out where they’ve done things wrong,” Mukherjee explained. “When you’re in a competitive business… All the good things that you do are taken for granted and all the things you have not been able to do, people remember.”

Sabyasachi kept his store closed for 25 days because he couldn’t find the right incense
Opening a store in Mumbai isn’t cheap, especially in the heart of the city’s art district — Kala Godha. Yet, Sabyasachi kept his flagship store close for 25 days because he couldn’t find the right incense.

“It’s not just an incense, it’s a memory,” said Mukherjee. He explains that customers still come back to the store and when they smell it, they say, “This is the Sabyasachi that we remember.”

Sabyasachi cuts up garments so that can’t get to the edit table
In the strive for perfection, Sabyasachi sits with a pair of scissors ahead of any collection launch. Not for last-minute edits, but to cut up any garment that isn’t fit to reach the edit table.

“If I don’t see value in what I’m creating, it never makes it to the shelves,” said Mukherjee. According to him, luxury brands don’t have customers — they have fans, which is why you have to give them value.

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