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Dr. Vivek G Mendonsa - Group Director - Marketing - Lawrence & Mayo from Mumbai, India

Q1. How did your career journey start? Or Who/What inspired you to start this Business/Entrepreneurship? I worked in one of the reno...

Q1. How did your career journey start? Or Who/What inspired you to start this Business/Entrepreneurship?

I worked in one of the renowned data research companies during 1987 to 1992. All my Diwali, Christmas and summer vacations were spent in door to door market research of various products like Financial form, Insurance, Tyres, Cold-drinks, Curtains etc. At the age of 17 to 21, it resulted in me the mindset of sales and marketing department of companies. Shyness was converted to boldness and daring as there was Pressure to do 20-25 calls, do backlog of other team members who had bunked or not down their target.

Later in 1992, I shifted to Pune when my brother-in-law and my sister suggested doing a Diploma course in Optometry to better understand the Human Eye and Optics. I went to evening college in 1993 and finished my Post Graduate in Marketing Management from one of the top Management Institute. Worked during the day at LAWRENCE & MAYO, starting in the basics of opening the door for clients, putting the planters out, cleaning the showroom front glass several times a day, attending to clients, listening to senior and expert Sales people and dispensers, studied in the evening 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm including projects and assignments.

Q2. Kindly share some information about your Business, products and services here.

LAWRENCE & MAYO, was established in 1877 by two Jewish families namely the Lazrus (Lawrence) and Myers (Mayo). They were Opticians, Watchmakers and Craftsmen of fine custom made Jewellery, which they used to embellish on customised spectacles for Royal Families, Prince and Princesses based on colour stones based on their coat of arms.

We had the privilege of being Opticians to many legendries, many noted Industrialist, Politicians, Actors, Actresses, IAS, IPS officers. We also serve the common men/women too through our Residential Eye Screening Program ( RSP).

We are now in the 143rd year of growth and success. We are a two divisional company into Ophthalmic Opticians and Contact Lens Clinics (Optical Retail Showrooms pan India) and Engineering, Scientific - Instrumentation, Equipment for measuring and analytical work. Previously headquartered in London and Calcutta and then shifted to Mumbai.

I am the 3rd generation of the family, a company that my grandfather Isidore Cincinnatus Mendonca and my father Robert Henry Mendonsa & his brothers bought over, in 1963, the majority of shares.

We are known as the 'FIRST NAME IN OPTICS' because we had our own manufacturing facility and used optics in our Optical Instruments of dumpy levels, theodolites etc .

Q3. What kind of challenges did you face while starting/doing business?

I never started the business but all the team members and Directors from 1979 started our expansion in Secunderabad, we were then present only in 5 cities of Kolkata, New Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai and Bangalore - now we are in over 39 cities across the Country. Considered the GOLD STANDARD Globally in Eyecare, Vision Care, Eyewear, Sunwear with many International Clients, Expats, Foreigners, Consulates etc.

Challenge was 400% Import Duty on Spectacle frames and Sunglasses to discourage Imports and support indigenous manufacturing in India. We supported lots of local manufacturing, we had our in-house Brands then (what we call Private Label today).

In the Instruments division we kept modernising, upgrading with new technology. We also did lots of repair, service, maintenance of our own equipment and few other brands - that gave us insight into improvements, tinkering, research and development, visiting exhibitions abroad etc. Get new Agencies, new Principles - who wanted to enter India.

Q4. Do share with our readers about your discovery period when you were facing difficulties in your business?

Being in Institution of 143 Years now, there has to be constant innovation, introduction of new material, new styles & new collaboration. We brought into India, from rest of the World, the Best Companies in our field, the Best Brands.

Difficulty was creating the 'market' as we were pioneers in every field. The first mover has advantages but lots of time, effort and money in 'creation' the need and 'demand'.

Q5. Share with our readers about your experiment period after the discovery period?

You cannot 'rest' on past laurels. Todays success or big order, goes into archives and history or old accounts ledgers. Daily as Leaders, we must stand at 'crease' to bat and face the ball, the challenges, the spinners, the new regulations, changing laws etc.

Every day your 'antenna' effort of - leg muscle, brain power and tongue - to speak the factual correct things must be up in 'creation' of new clients and maintain a 'relationship' with old and existing clients.

Seeing the trends via trade magazines, market news.
Having a vision, hence the word 'visionary', to foresee what will be the new demand, the new trend.

Q6. What are your future plans? Or now what is your vision for next five years?

Optical retail business of Lawrence & Mayo (Opticals) will be a hybrid model of brick and mortar retail and online. We started our e-commerce portal more than 10 years ago.

In the Instruments division, from 10 Collaborations much earlier, we have taken it up to 20 International and 10 National tie-ups. We are now focusing on 'Made in India' collaborations, helping innovations made domestically, patented to go Nationally and Global market. We will continue to thrust in that direction. Our Goals are set and we are moving FAST in that direction.

Q7. How would you advise/suggest new Entrepreneurs who want to start & sustain in business?

In these times of 2020 - D.C.T - During Covid Times, many employees (will get pink slip/ retrenched/ companies will shut down) will be forced to become entrepreneurs. There are plenty of gaps in the market, there are plenty of 'niches', where a person with sharp eyes and ears will be able to spot.

Moving with Leaders, Entrepreneurs, Directors - they may hint, demand or ask for certain products, services or solutions - You as an entrepreneur if you can scale up and meet those demands.

For example, many exhibitions, conferences are moving on-line, creation of virtual booths, virtual kiosk - its the time for creativity skills of a visualiser, advertising agencies have to re-invent themselves super fast.

When I was in college, the then one of the Sheriff of Mumbai asked me to organise 5 volunteers, I got them at the right time, date and in blue jeans and white t-shirt. Impressed. He asked me for 200 Volunteers for one huge mega event and I managed to get more than 200 in uniform in the year 1990. After the event he threw us a Grand Party and a certificate to each participant. I was carried on all the Hostel students shoulder as a Big Thank You.

I saw the need and challenge. I had the contacts. I worked hard without mobiles then and got more but not less volunteers. I went to the Hostel, I met all the boys, I excited them about the project, seeing the twinkle and passion in my eyes - they BELIEVED and we delivered !!!!

Q8. LinkedIn profile URL link

Q9. Facebook profile URL link

Q10 Twitter profile URL link
Q11. Instagram URL Link

Q12. Personal blog URL link

Q13. Company website & Company blog URL link


Edited by: Khushboo Chotaliya - Lifestyles Influencer from Mumbai, India. 

Khushboo is a student of Digital Influencer's Academy by YogeshMA

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