Saturday, August 8, 2009

Umbrella brand

Quick, name any umbrella brand that you can remember! If you are a true Madrasi, you would have answered that with "மான் மார்க் குடைகள்!!" (maan mark kudaigal - stag mark umbrellas). For years, the 'Stag' brand has been synonymous with umbrellas - in fact, it is a brand name which has been so highly localized that I was shocked to find it is not a Madras-based brand, after all!

Starting off in 1860 with a single shop in Bazaar Gate Street, Fort, Bombay, selling umbrellas imported from England, Ebrahim Currim found business to be so good that he very soon moved to larger premises near the Juma Masjid. His sons Rahimbhai, Ramjanally and Goolamally followed him into the business and in 1902, Ebrahim Currim & Sons set up the National Umbrella Factory. Soon thereafter, the company established branches in Madras and in Calicut (now Kozhikode) during the first half of the 20th century. Over the years, they have moved beyond their standard grandfather-black umbrella to many colours, shapes and designs, and to a variety of uses, too. Today, their factory has a capacity of 3,000 umbrellas per day, though the average production run is more like 250 units a day.

Even though I cannot argue that 'Stag' mark umbrellas belong to Chennai - and I'm still getting used to that fact - I can try and put up a vigourous defence that it was 'Maan mark kudaigal' (in both Tamizh and Malayalam) which created the umbrella brand for Ebrahim Currim & Sons!



2 comments:

LVISS said...

CHENNAITES DONT CARRY UMBRELLAS EVEN IN HOT WEATHER . KERALITES LOVE UMBRELLAS.

Shantaram said...

@ Lviss: Haven't got around much in the monsoons, so don't know about folks elsewhere!