New life to OyzterBay not on cards for now

Swetha Kannan Bangalore | Updated on January 31, 2011

Oyzterbay, Autumn Collection. Photo: K. Bhagya Prakash

There are no immediate plans to revive the defunct Oyzterbay brand, says US-based lifestyle retailer Fossil which acquired the fashion jewellery brand in 2006.

OyzterBay has seen a series of twists and turns since its launch in 2000 as an “affordable” range of fashion jewellery targeted at the young women and the gifting market. The brand was operating in a niche segment offering jewellery in gold, diamonds, and sterling silver. After a promising start in 2000, the brand ran into tough times. In 2006, the promoters decided to sell the 36 retail stores of OyzterBay because they found the retail network underutilised as it did not have the complete range of jewellery products.

While Bangalore-based jeweller Rajesh Exports acquired the retail assets and converted the OzyterBay stores in “Laabh” stores, Fossil acquired the “OyzterBay” brand. The story got further complicated with Fossil entering into a 50: 50 joint venture with Rajesh Exports, which announced big plans to revive the OyzterBay brand. The JV even had global plans for OyzterBay. Though the joint venture was called off eventually and Rajesh and Fossil split ways, the OyzterBay brand stayed with Fossil.

In 2009, Fossil announced plans to give a new lease of life to the brand started by Mr Vasant Nangia, who incidentally is now the Country Head of Fossil India. Ironically, the “Laabh” chain of stores no longer exits, with Rajesh Exports pulling out of that venture. Will OyzterBay have better luck or is the brand jinxed?

On backburner

“Nothing is happening on that front right now. OyzterBay has been pushed to the backburner. In fact, Fossil Inc has a number of jewellery brands in its portfolio including Fossil, DKNT and Diesel. But we are hesitant to bring them to India right now. The Indian psyche is so much into gold and not into fashion jewellery. But we do want to launch jewellery in India but that's part of the long-term plan,” says Mr Nangia.

Right now, Fossil wants to focus on watches, leather goods and eyewear in India, says Mr Nangia. Fossil has the licence to design, manufacture and market several brands including Fossil, DKNY, Diesel, Burberry, Adidas and Armani. Just last week, the company launched the “Fossil” brand of optical frames in the country.

Published on January 31, 2011

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