In Bombay (now Mumbai), a strong-willed and able thinker, Chagganlal M Poojara felt the need to leap into the unknown and make a radical change. Here’s his story…
The power to initiate change is one that only few have the ability to harness and exemplify. The year of 1947 called out to the indomitable strength of crusaders all over the nation and they responded to the call, their armours shimmering with the lustre of determined sweat and tears. It was a year of promise, ambition and hope.
Chagganlal M Poojara founded The Utility Articles Manufacturing Company, with the aim of producing ophthalmic lenses. To market these lenses, another in-house company called Montex Corporation was created. It began in 1947 and for much of the next decade, the manufacturing and distribution of lenses continued at a rampant pace.
The year 1955 was a memorable one, for it saw Chagganlal M Poojara take the first step towards expanding his empire with the manufacturing of quality plastic frames. In order to accomplish this, the company imported sophisticated machinery for the production of frames and began operations from an independent factory in Umerkhadi, not far from Bombay’s J J Hospital.
It was at this point that Chagganlal M Poojara decided that the company’s efforts should be directed towards the production of plastic frames alone. As the decade rolled to a close, a father welcomed his son into the fold, arms stretched out in love, fingers shaking ever so slightly with the power of emotion that such memorable moments bring with it – Chagganlal M Poojara and his son, V C Poojara were now an undefeatable team that would soon rewrite history.
1962 was when the layers of success, that were cemented in the legacy of the Poojara family, needed to be strengthened with hard-core innovation. These frames were manufactured in substantial quantities for overseas markets like the Middle East, United Kingdom and Africa.
The growing need to diversify further by tapping into the full potential of the resources available to them led to the decision to import German machinery. It was planned that the machinery would be used to manufacture high-quality metal frames in an independent unit located in Goregaon, a suburb of Bombay.
Accolades began to pour in for the Poojara family as they continued to conjure up a tempest of new ideas, policies and products. By 1968, the operations at the production unit in Umerkhadi had been terminated and a new plant was opened in Vapi, Gujarat.
The company unveiled an export unit in the Kandla Free Trade Zone, situated in an area that was smattered with a number of factories that produced for export purposes alone. The goods that were produced in this unit were exported to Russia, as India and Russia had bilateral trade agreement ties at the time. Soon their work was heralded by the nation and the company went on to receive awards from the PLEX council (Plastic and Linoleum Export Promotion Council) in the category of ‘Top Exporters Awards in Spectacle Frames’.
After a glorious period of 15 years wherein the operations of the business were carried out impeccably, 1986 saw the end of a long running success story as Montex Corporation was dissolved due to the rearrangement within the family.
Some dreams can at times find their culmination in the same nested grove where the freshness of new beginnings swivel through the air. Optimed Corporation was born under the watchful guidance of V C Poojara and a young team of spirited enthusiasts – his son, Niket Poojara who for the previous seven years was in charge of production in Montex and Ameet Poojara, his nephew who had just completed his studies. The company started to manufacture spectacle frames for the local market in India under the Optimed brand name. Along with producing spectacle frames in India, the company also started importing high quality frames from Hong Kong for their in-house brand ‘Optimed’.
A few years later, Silhouette acquired rights for Adidas eyewear and Daniel Swarovski, and this resulted in Optimed Corporation acquiring the distributorship for the same.
Over the years the company has nurtured, developed and sustained a large network of optical customers around India. Apart from the success of Silhouette and other brands, the company has also ensured the growth of their in-house brand ‘Optimed’ through efficient marketing techniques that increased the brand’s recall value. Optimed believes in marketing and focusing on a few selected brands alone. In 2002, Optimed started distributing for Jaguar (Menrad Group) for the Indian market. Optimed Corporation has a reputation for taking part in exhibitions and trade fairs hosted all over the country.
In the summer of 2005, the company organised a high profile fashion show in Bombay that was graced by the crème de la crème of the optical community. This fashion extravaganza showcased the latest collections of Silhouette and Daniel Swarovski and presiding over the event was Kurt Bogner, the Senior Export Manager of Silhouette and Chief Guest. Kurt Bogner’s interaction with the country’s leading opticians allowed him to talk about Silhouette’s products and their upcoming programmes in great detail.
Loss is never easy and results in an emptiness that the departed leave behind. In April 2007, Optimed Corporation suffered an irreplaceable loss with the demise of V C Poojara. His presence in the company played an important role in the accelerated growth of the Montex Corporation and his progressive ideas and methodologies went on to shape Optimed Corporation’s success through the years.