East India Company

East India Company Relaunches as Luxury Indian Goods Company

Isaac Mostovicz writes that a company is reborn...

The East India Company, which began as a British trading monopoly under Queen Elizabeth I in 1600 to ship commodities to the West from India, China and the Spice Islands, has relaunched this month as an luxury Indian company. The company has opened a store in London, selling gourmet tea, chocolate, coffee and gifts.

Though the ‘original’ East India Company stopped trading in 1874 (founder of the modern company Sanjiv Mehta bought the intellectual property rights in 2005), the name should remind many today of work that the original company did. Said The Times in 1874 in an obituary for the company (which is now inscribed on a table in the new store):

“It accomplished a work such as in the whole history of the human race no other company ever attempted, or is ever to attempt in the years to come.”

Said Mehta:

“The English language, the ports, the railway system, the civil system … the bridges — all was built by The East India Co. So there’s a huge relationship between The East India Co. and various walks of life. It is not just food products.”

It’s an interesting proposition, starting a modern company that plays upon an earlier company’s provenance. I imagine it will help the company, though the quality of its products will need to be high.

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