After attending brainstorming sessions on business activities at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, Teddy Kabunda, a senior policy officer of the Africa Union Commission, takes a stroll through the Mahatma Mandir where saffron and blue t-shirts at the Namo Merchandise stall have caught his attention.
Looking at a wall clock that has logos of the Modi government’s flagship schemes along with the word NAMO on the dial, Kabunda asks, “What is the meaning of this Namo?” On being given an answer by sale in-charge Nitin Desai, Kabunda buys the item for Rs 175, adding that he is purchasing the clock since he has read a lot about Modi.
The stall is selling seven products, including t-shirts, caps, wall clocks, notebooks, pens, keyrings and Modi’s masks. According to a sales official at the stall, more than 250 items have been sold so far at Rs 60,000.
“This is the first offline store… Otherwise, these products are available only online on NaMo App,” says Shailesh, who is managing the accounts at the stall.
At the adjoining stall of menswear chain ‘Jade Blue’, “Modi jackets” and “Modi kurtas” are on display. The firm has the copyright for the items and its media and admin manager Chirag Diwan says, “Modi jacket and Modi kurta are registered brands and only we make it. We had obtained permission from Modi ji to use the name when he was Chief Minister of Gujarat.” Asked about sales, he says, “This stall is not to meet sales targets. This is for branding only. Delegates are taking it as souvenir.”
Chyun-Yu Yang, Superintendent of National Cheng Kung University Hospital in Taiwan, purchases a “Modi jacket” and says he will “wear and share this jacket with the family too”.
At three booths set up by Wizcraft International Entertainment Pvt Ltd at the venue, delegates form a beeline for a photograph with Modi. “Using augmented reality technology, we superimpose the image of the PM adjacent to the image of visitor,” said Hardik, a service provider at a stall. More than 3,000 visitors got photos clicked on Friday and Saturday.