A young man named Jhamatmall Gurbamall (J.G.) Melwani left Penang, Malaysia, in search of a better life. With only a case of leather slippers, he set sail for Medan, Sumatra.
Not hard cash, but slippers, for his plan was to start immediately.
Ambition and youth served him well. The money made from the slippers was quickly invested on a bicycle and acquiring more goods. Just after two years of peddling the streets, he saved enough for his own shop in Medan – Jhamatmall Gurbamall & Co. Not bad, considering Jhamatmall had only just turned 27.
By 1890, offices were established in:
Well-tempered by the hard times, the company met with yet another turning point as leadership was handed over to a young Moti Melwani in 1956, who embarked on a new strategy – obtain new agency contracts and franchises.
In 1964, the landmark distribution deal with Levi Strauss & Co., for South East Asia was signed.
Given the rights to market and distribute Levi’s® jeans in the region, the company, through aggressive marketing and positioning, successfully translated the jean’s iconic image over to the Asian market.
Back on the retail front, B.H. Melwani, Moti’s cousin started an exclusive menswear store in 1971. Situated at Singapore’s High Street, Melwani’s Men’s Shop was an instant hit. Then in 1975, Moti and B.H. consolidated their businesses and efforts together to create MB Melwani Pte Ltd., an associate company of Jay Gee Enterprises, which went on to acquire coveted exclusive franchises for high fashion brands, many of which are still held today.
The company acquired distribution and marketing rights for the OshKosh B’Gosh brand.
Dockers®, the leader in khaki pants, was acquired by the company.
The company later acquired distribution rights for international brands, ALDO & Levi’s® Kids.
Adidas Young Athletes was added to the Group’s portfolio of brands
Carter’s, America’s leading baby brand was then added to the company’s portfolio of kids brands.
The company later expanded its portfolio of brands, with the acquirement of Holland & Barrett and T.M.Lewin.
The company acquired distribution and marketing rights for dENiZEN™.
New Balance Kids & Puma Kids were later granted distribution and marketing rights.
The company bought over the dENiZEN™ brand from Levi Strauss & Co., with rights to distribute in South East Asia.
The company acquired distribution and marketing rights for the Converse Kids & Jordan brands.
Nike, the leading innovator in athletic footwear and apparel, was acquired to the portfolio of the company’s kids brands.
It has been over a century since J.G. Melwani braved Medan alone, his business assets all on a bicycle. With over a hundred outlets spanning the region, the group has come a long way.
But some things remain the same. You can still be assured of quality and you can still expect great service.
Today, the Jay Gee Group operates over 100 standalone stores and concessionaire counters.