How do you see current jewellery market in India in terms of growth? What would be the share of Silver jewellery market in overall market? Pls share few numbers to quantify the same?
The jewellery market in India has seen tremendous changes over the past few years. With the recent move of demonetization however, the scope for organized online jewellery players has increased tremendously. We foresee a huge increase in enquiries and purchases due to the comfort of consumers in seeking to satisfy their requirement for jewellery by paying through digital means. This has long been coming, given that over the years there has been an exponential shift towards online retail, especially jewellery.
In the Indian market, due to the high price of gold, we have seen a rising preference for gold plated silver jewellery at pre-wedding functions as well as for evening wear due to its versatile styles. Given the rise in destination weddings too, the shift towards silver jewellery has been substantial.
Kindly mention the journey of the brand? Also, how many categories you are operating currently? How many pin codes you are covering right now?
I always had an interest in silver jewellery and this interest goes back to the time that I was in Business school at S P Jain Institute of Management. Post a successful career with strong women oriented brands such as Lakme and L’Oreal, with start-ups gaining ground in India, I found it to be the right time to take the entrepreneurial plunge of my own and founded Ahilya!
I have an extensive background in art through my art consultancy, Gallery Maya, which translates seamlessly into my passion for Silver jewellery. I like to dabble in jewellery with traditional roots and aim to open it up to a wider audience of more adventurous women, by giving it a newer, more contemporary voice. I wanted women, world- over to appreciate Indian heritage designs, and maybe even show them that it is as versatile, if not more, than any other piece of contemporary jewellery.
Our categories include earrings, kadas, bangles, bracelets, pendants, necklaces, rings, armbands, anklets, nose pins and even combined sets. The options are endless to choose from! We customize as well, and have made quite a few terrific pieces for high end clientele. We cater to over 8000 pin codes within India and even have even witnessed a large number of enquiries from the global Indian diaspora including countries such as U.S., Singapore and the Middle East. Wherever our logistics partner does not service, we try through other service providers and get the products hand delivered too.
Considering the big ticket size, do you think e-commerce is a viable business model when it comes to jewellery retailing? What are the challenges associated with online jewellery retailing?
Commerce is the future and in urban areas it is already the present. The consumer over time is gradually warming up to making purchases in the online space. The momentum has definitely increased, post demonetization as well. Be it through choosing cash on delivery as they shop for the first time, to getting more comfortable with making online payments for subsequent purchases, we can see a wave of change even in the online jewellery segment. The price factor therefore hardly proves to be a hindrance with jewellery anymore.
This trust by the consumer however only comes when one has been able to establish creditability and build a reputation. A strong customer service team is therefore also very crucial to making the brand what it is, along with providing quality products with some level of assurance. We understand that customers might be hesitant to pay higher prices, which dictate the Sterling Silver Jewellery market. Hence we provide BIS Hallmarked Certificates with every product we sell, which is certification by the Government of India, attesting to the purity of the silver we use, which is nothing lesser than 92.5%.
What are the current buying trends in the Silver jewellery?
Current buying trends show an increased preference towards chokers and oxidised jewellery.
How are you managing your supply chain? Is this being managed by third party or in-house?
We currently have one small workshop based out of Jaipur which specializes in fine handcrafted silver jewellery. The rest of the work is outsourced depending on the design specifications and need.
How many orders you generate on daily basis? And, what is the ratio of returns?
On an average we get about 10 orders daily.
Who do you think as your competition?
There is really no brand in the Sterling Silver Jewellery space - so in a sense we have no competition.
At last, kindly mention your growth plans?
As of now, I would like to diversify into many more categories, and also look at strengthening and further building the brand Ahilya.