Unforgotten Brands: Kalyan


The Kalyan Group’s success comes from balancing tradition, embracing innovation and ensuring customer satisfaction.

In 1909, a priest named T. S. Kalyanarama Iyer formed the Kalyan Group in Thrissur after striking off alone.

He and his family migrated from Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu, where they descended from a long line of religious leaders, including priests, saints, and royal advisers.

One senior relative, a Dewan to the Maharaja of Kochi, urged the clan to start a business because, in his words, “Enterprise and business were necessary to create job opportunities and make India self-dependent.” This prompted the clan to follow suit. Businesses, in his view, should operate fairly in pursuit of societal goals rather than only profit-driven ones. The group’s commitment to doing business fairly and ethically stems from its continued adherence to the original ideals laid out by its founders.

Kalyanarama Iyer established Sitaram Mills, a spinning and weaving mill in Thrissur, Kerala, in the 1930s. The state government subsequently acquired the mill. 

He later opened a textile store in Thrissur itself. His son, T. K. Seetharamaiyer, also joined him. T. R. Seetharama Iyer eventually opened five textile stores in town. Each of his five children

Kalyan Group’s other brands include Kalyan Silks, Kalyan Developers, Kalyan Sarees, and Kalyan Collection. A member of the family, T. S. Kalyanaraman, founded Kalyan Jewellers in 1993. His brothers, T. S. Pattabhiraman and T. S. Ramachandran were in charge of Kalyan Silks and Kalyan Sarees, respectively.

Kalyan Jewellers

As early as the age of twelve, Kalyanaraman began assisting his father in the family business. He gained an understanding of business intricacies there.

He and his siblings would go to the shop with their dad during their school breaks. He introduced them to the world of business.

Kalyanaraman went to the store first because he was the oldest. His father made him the cashier. As he received money from customers, his father observed. It was his policy to correct him whenever he erred in his calculations. If Kalyanaraman performed well, he would receive a Masala Dosa.

Kalyanaraman earned a bachelor’s degree in commerce from Sree Kerala Varma College in Thrissur.

Following his graduation in 1972, Kalyan Textiles requested Kalyanaraman to assume responsibility for the first time. At that time, the company had a stock capacity of around 15 lakh INR and a revenue of about 25 lakh INR.

He employed straightforward tactics, such as boosting supplies to meet the needs of all customers and hiring additional staff to ensure that each client received personalised care. In addition, he ensured that every customer had an enjoyable experience by instructing his employees to be courteous to everyone.

The first year he was there, he boosted revenue to Rs 30 lakhs.

Under Kalyanaraman’s systematic approach, they were able to increase their turnover multiple times from this point on. They put much of the money they made back into the business by purchasing additional stock.

Their revenue reached Rs 1.5 crores in 1991. Their father, Seetharamaiyer, decided at this point to divide the family company among the five sons for reasons that remain a mystery.

Customers frequently requested that they open a jewellery store around that time so that they could purchase both saris and jewellery from a single establishment. Driven and inspired by his customers’ demands, Kalyanaraman opened his jewellery store, Kalyan Jewellers, in 1993.

Out of the total investment of INR 75 lakhs, he put in 50 lakhs from his pocket and 25 lakhs from a bank loan.

He defied convention by opening a massive storefront—4,000 square feet—that was air-conditioned, had plenty of seating, immaculate restrooms, and parking space to spare—just like those abroad. Consequently, he had the biggest jewellery showroom in all of southern India!

They had a wide variety of designs and styles available in bespoke configurations, and customers could get their hands on them in about a month. They made between fifty and sixty crores of Indian rupees in their first year.

Visitors to their store quickly grew to include customers from other towns such as Palakkad, Kozhikode, Kochi, and so on. In response to this overwhelming demand, they expanded their offerings to include silver, diamonds, and classic jewellery.

Back when there was no gold standard and no hallmarking, His desire to alter the jewellery industry’s moral code sprang from a desire to earn his clients’ confidence. He launched the “My Gold, My Right” campaign to teach people where to get their hands on genuine gold. The business quickly became the market leader after introducing new incentives such as BIS certification, a rate tag, and a loyalty programme. 

His sons, Rajesh and Ramesh Kalyanaraman, became full-time employees of the company between 1995 and 2000. 

To propagate the message of trust, Kalyan Jewellers leveraged “celebrity endorsements to the hilt.” When the organisation first started, they brought on Mammootty, a superstar in Kerala, to convey the message. The sons of renowned actors Rajkumar, Sivaji Ganesan, and Akkineni Nageswara Rao joined the business as it spread across the southern states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh, which was then an undivided state. 

When they travel extensively, Kalyanaraman and his family avoid sharing transportation, planes, hotels, and even floors, just like the vast majority of high-stakes businesses. Two private planes, an Embraer Legacy 650 with thirteen seats, and two helicopters, a Bell 427, are typical of the fleet of high-flying businesspeople. Every man’s family takes a vacation separately.

In addition, he is the chairman of Kalyan Developers, a real estate company that he co-founded with his son-in-law and two sons. 

Kalyan Silks

Kalyan Silks offers unbeatable pricing on the best fabrics. Generations after the founding of Kalyan Silks, the tradition persisted, even though the world has changed significantly. In the meantime, Kalyan Silks has expanded from a mom-and-pop store in a tiny hamlet to a silk empire.

T.S. Pattabhiraman, who believes that simple philosophies make excellent companies, received the bequest and is currently leading this ever-expanding textile retail firm. This is evidenced by the fact that he founded 32 groundbreaking businesses in India and beyond.

Kalyan Sarees

For more than 30 years, T. S. Ramachandran has been the head of Kalyan Sarees. Men, women, and children may shop for sarees and other ready-to-wear garments at this store. You may visit the showrooms of Kalyan Sarees in Thrissur, Kozhikode, Thiruvananthapuram, Kannur, and Coimbatore.

Kalyan Sarees showcase the remarkable craftsmanship of Indian craftsmen and weavers, drawing inspiration from the rich cultural past of the nation. 

Throughout Kerala, the Kalyan Saree shops have become synonymous with trustworthiness and high-quality sarees.

The Kalyan Group’s success stems from its dedication to maintaining traditional values, while simultaneously embracing innovation and ensuring customer satisfaction. From humble beginnings in Thrissur, the group has grown into a formidable presence in the retail industry, setting benchmarks for quality, trust, and ethical business practices. With a focus on diversification and expansion, the Kalyan Group continues to build on its legacy, cementing its position as a leader in the Indian retail landscape.

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