Saturday, January 06, 2007

Sapana mats

I was walking along yet another self service department store when I chanced upon a stack of Sapana mats in the corner. For those who remember, Sapana mats, when they broke into the scene in 1984/85 was a novelty in the Indian market. The only mats we had were woven of bamboo or jute fibre or other material (which was obviously good, but thats a separate point) and mats were not something you used in the living room.

Sapana changed all that about mats (Good Knight changed the whole definition, but thats another story). Sapana unleashed polyweave (plastic) carpets (and they even had an advert running on TV themed around the flying carpet) into the market and how. I dont remember their introductory pricing, but it was quite affordable and soon everybody had Sapana mats (usually more than they needed). With its range of designs and a cushy feel as opposed to the rustic feel of other mats and of course, washability and durability, it captured the market and how. Sapana salesmen were seen all over townships, residential colonies with their large rectangular bags. (How much would a 100% blank salesman strategy succeed in these days of apartments with security guards is debatable) After Sapana a mat soon become a topic of discussion and elevated to the status worthy of use in middle class living rooms. Predictably there were Sapana look alikes in the market - Sapna, Apna and whatnot. (Door to door salesmen would pitch anything in those days - more on that some other time)

Seeing those mats in a corner, I realised how Sapana has fallen from its grace. Not due to anything else, but because of a consumer boom across all sectors. The star of yesteryear now had a small corner in the departmental store.

Sapana, was perhaps the first experience of a mass consumer boom for the hungry middle class in the 80s. Good Knight perhaps comes next closest.

1 comment:

Tej said...

Sapana Mats are not in a corner of the store. If you buy any other brands it will be un-usable after few years. But Sapana mats are really for life time. I have been using the same mat from last 15 years.