He was only 18 when the entrepreneur in him forced him to break the traditional Marwari business model and start eventually carving a niche in exclusive fashion statement amongst the rich and the famous. 58 years down the road, Ram Gopal Rajpuria, owner of BRUNITO Shirts, rightly claims to be stitching all uniquely designed shirts for some of the top business honchos like S K Burman of Dabur, Shiv Jatia of Hyatt Group, Sanjiv Goenka of RP Sanjiv Goenka Group, top brass of MacDonald’s India, KFC India, Usha Martin, Emami, Simplex, to name a few. The brand has over 1000 loyal customers and is available at some of the top drawer shops in New Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad.
From a humble beginning to creating a niche
The 76-year boutique shirt-maker has navigated a long way from his ancestral Burrabazaar shop- Mohanlal & Co to what he is doling out now from his plush Alipore and Park Street outlets- ‘BRUNITO’ and ‘Shirt Avenue’. The turning point in Rajpuria’s entrepreneurial journey came when he first visited Italy, the fashion capital, as a young boy still in his teens.
Rajpuria takes a trip down memory lane and recounts with a smile, “I got trainings at different factories. I had got no inhibitions. I mixed with the workers freely and saw for myself how they were getting trained. I learnt how to feel the fabric, how to handle the fabric, how to design them. It was as if someone from inside told me — ‘go and build your fortune on this’.”
The creative ingenuity of this ace designer has received accolades and recognition both financially and aesthetically including appreciation from Dhirubhai Amabani. The senior Ambani always had some words of appreciation for Rajpuria and believed that he has the unique ability to feel the fabric better than most of those in Ambani’s network. Rajpuria is possibly the only exclusive shirt maker in the country who imports his textiles from Italy and his thread and machines from Germany. He has a dedicated team of 50 tailors under three master tailors working for him since 2001.
The brand building and recognition
Starting with custom made tailoring for his ancestral business Mohanlal & Co Rajpuria today has turned into a signature shirt manufacturer and makes only 50 shirts a day which get sold out immediately. Sold under the brand name of BRUNITO (meaning Rising Sun in Italian) in association with an Italian designer label, the designer shirts come with price tags ranging between Rs 2000 and Rs 10000 per shirt.
Rajpuria has a customer base where each one looks for something unique and is extremely faddy and fastidious about what they have on them. These conscious customers always seek someone to guide them while appreciating their taste, temperament, and persona. The late Rama Prasad Goenka, founder of the erstwhile RPG Enterprises, for instance, had a unique sense of dressing and always wore kurtas with side buttons.
RPG’s younger son, Sanjiv Goenka, chairman of RP Sanjiv Goenka Group, keeps the tradition going and gets his shirts stitched at BRUNITO. The love for BRUNITO shirts was so much that Rajpuria was requested to put up an outlet at RP Sanjiv Goenka Group’s shopping mall (which is projected to be the largest in the city) in Kolkata. BRUNITO is actually opening its next store there.
Rajpuria’s clientele goes beyond the business community and finds fondness among the country’s cricket clan. Former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly, greatly admires Brunito shirts and can be seen wearing them often. Cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar also orders shirts from Rajpuria and on delivery texts back saying, “The shirts were really good.”