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Industry consultant Ash Jaising dies from blood infection

Published December 10, 2015

MUMBAI, India (BRAIN) — Ash Jaising, a consultant who did market research for many of the industry’s biggest companies, has died in his hometown of Mumbai.

Jaising was 64 and died from complications after suffering a fall at his home in India. His longtime business partner and former wife, Rachel Carlson, announced his passing.

“As everyone knows, Ash was a heavy smoker and last February he had been hospitalized and almost died, but he never really bounced back because of the COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease),” she said. “He returned to India in late August and later fell, cutting his leg. And that led to a fatal blood infection,” she explained.

“I do want to mention one thing, though,” Carlson said. “Before he discovered cigarettes, he was an avid hiker and mountain climber. He climbed part of Everest, and in France he climbed Mont Blanc. It’s hard to believe,” she added.

Jaising did market research for the National Bicycle Dealers Association, Huffy, Schwinn, Trek, Giant, Cannondale, Bell Sports and many others. He began his a work in the bicycle industry in 1989 when he and Carlson incorporated Sports Marketing Research and its subsidiary Bicycle Market Research.

“Ash Jaising was a true entrepreneur who brought the knowledge of market research that he had learned in Europe to the American sporting goods business, including the bicycle business,” said Jay Townley, a friend and former Schwinn executive who had worked for Jaising at one time.

“Ash showed the industry the kind of high-quality and accurate consumer research that it had seldom seen before he came on the scene. The annual BMRI U.S. Bicycle Market Report became the authoritative source for market research and intelligence for almost two decades,” Townley said.

The NBDA’s Fred Clements said Jaising was a colorful and interesting character. “He had a great sense of humor,” recalled Clements, who retained Jaising to do several market studies for the association. “He brought a lot of high-level research to the industry at a time when there wasn’t much. Now there are a lot of people doing it.”

Carlson recalled that at one point Jaising had been retained by SRAM’s Stan Day to do research on the market. “Stan was in a hurry to get Ash’s findings. I can still remember scribbling numbers on pages and putting the report in FedEX to get it to Stan on time,” she said.

Jaising was born in Mumbai (called Bombay at the time) to a well-off family and graduated from college there with a degree in English literature and aesthetics. He then left India to backpack across Europe with friends. While in Brussels he saw an ad for an MBA offered by Boston University.

He applied and was accepted. After a year of study in Europe he moved to Boston, where he finished his course work. It was at a Boston disco that he met Carlson, who at the time was a senior at Boston University. The couple married, but later divorced while still remaining business partners.

Jaising soon went to work for a consultant group in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with a focus on international marketing. He was assigned clients in Sweden and Finland. It was a Swedish client who asked him to do research for a bicycle accessory he had invented. But Jaising soon found there was a dearth of market research available on the industry.

“He decided he would start his own business and do market research. He started with bicycles but then expanded into fitness, team sports, golf, inline skating and golf,” Carlson said.

The rise of the Internet began to undercut the costly mass-audience consumer research that Jaising was best known for. “Younger people didn’t want to spend the money and didn’t see the value in the kind of research we did,” said Carlson. That led to Jaising’s retirement and the move back to India.

Carlson said that Jaising, a Hindu, was cremated in accordance with Hindu customs and his ashes were spread in a Mumbai river that flows into the Ganges. “He was an interesting and worldly man, and his passing has been really sad and difficult,” she said.


Topics associated with this article: People

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