Jewellery is most women’s first fashion experience. Girls try on their maa ke kangan that are too big for their tiny wrists and gaze in wonder at her collection of baubles. And while most Indian jewellery markets are hyper-focused on traditional sensibilities, there are several women who are on the hunt for contemporary and edgy designs. A subtle statement piece, dainty artistic pieces, and jewellery that is a reflection of their personalities in today’s day and age is something a huge chunk of the female population is looking for. For anyone on the lookout for evergreen pieces standing at an intersection of art and fashion, Zariin Jewellery is your label. 

In conversation with TC46, the sister founder duo, Mamta & Vidhi Gupta, share how their jewellery speaks to the modern consumers, why they want everyday pieces to seamlessly become a part of the woman’s personality, the investments that help build a brand and the importance of brand identity.

1. What’s your educational and professional background?

Interestingly, neither of us have formally studied jewellery design, and we like to call ourselves self-trained fashion entrepreneurs. I, Mamta, went to Sriram College of Commerce for Bachelors in Economics, and thereafter pursued Masters in Business Administration in Marketing and Branding at Rochester, USA. Upon graduating, I was awarded membership in the prestigious Beta Gamma Sigma International Honors Society and was the chosen Valedictorian and Speaker. Vidhi Gupta, my sister, did Bachelors in Finance at Kelley School of Business, Indiana University. She did stints in the banking and commercial sector, before both of us joined forces in 2010 and launched Zariin. Vidhi is the Creative Director and the design backbone of the label, and I am the Marketing and Global Sales Director for the label.

2. What prompted the idea for ‘Zariin’?

What makes fashion so special is how it works as a medium of creative expression and jewellery works that way for us. We love how jewellery is representative of cultural beliefs, local heritage and craft the legacy of a place, universally across the globe. Jewellery lends a personal character and touch to your outfit making it so fascinating. From the very beginning, we have seen jewellery to be a translation of our travel experiences, inspirations and a canvas for personal expression which led to the conception of Zariin. The idea was to amalgamate age-old crafting traditions with modern aesthetics to create jewellery which appeals to the modern global women of today.

3. Did you always know you wanted to work in this space?

Vidhi was always drawn to the fashion and creativity space. She used to love drawing sketches and experimenting with jewels from mum’s closet from a very early age. I had always been entrepreneurial by nature and fascinated with branding, and creating a brand as a manifestation of our worldview. And hence in a very organic and symbiotic way, we sisters joined forces to find our calling that capitalised on both of our strengths. 

4. What was your first milestone and how did you get there?

Our first major milestone was attained within 4 months of  Zariin’s birth and that was launching our label in Anthropologie stores in the United States. It was like a stamp and a nod of approval from the design community, a very discerning one at that, which Anthropologie represents. We had been presenting our collections to buyers through different forums- trade shows, office visits, and it took a completely focused and targeted approach to take this from an aspiration to the fruition of this goal.

5. What are your tips for an aspiring entrepreneur who wants to enter this space?

Identify the voice of your brand-your brand identity – it is very important as it will be your main guiding point to navigate through the clutter and noise of the industry. It will help you identify your target customers, and communicate with them in a way that is unique to you. Figure out exactly who they are, and focus on one persona, when you’re getting started. After your brand is well-established, broaden your definition of an ideal customer. Never underestimate the importance of great customer service. Your customers will become the apostles and champions of your brand when you go the extra mile for them to ensure their satisfaction. Stay focused, and though plans can evolve, resist the urge to try and do it all at once. Write down your 10 years plan and work backwards from there. 

6. What were the 3 best business/financial decisions you made?

Launching our brand in the international market before launching in India. This helped shape and fine tune our aesthetic to speak to a global audience from the get go. We also learnt the prevalent best practices of quality and standardisation while staying true to the artisanal craft. 

Embracing e-commerce early into our journey. While we grew and spread our wings in the B2B space, we launched our e-commerce site and invested in technology to improve user interface and experience. This kept our fixed costs low, inventory turnover high, and made us agile to adapt and change as situations warranteed, the 2020 pandemic being a great example that necessitated such a change. 

Adopted the lean model of operations, which translated into keeping fixed costs to a minimum, a cross- functional team, no brick and mortar shop model, JIT inventory, among others. 

7. How long did it take you to monetise your venture? What was the turning point?

We were able to monetise our venture from the first year itself. While trade show and travel costs to promote and launch the label were high, our success at being able to roll our jewellery in several global retailers and chain stores meant we stayed green from the get go. 

8. Are you looking for funding/have-acquired investment/intend to bootstrap your business? 

We have been growing organically, and continue to remain vested in that idea. The company has grown 3X last year and next year we are looking to grow 5-6X, and we are looking to scale up with linear or marginal investment. 

9. How do you intend to scale up/expand your business in the next 5 years?

By investing in technology, human resources, geographical expansion into newer countries, and diversifying our product portfolio. We are also looking to expand our demographic both in age and gender, through accessories for men and DIY jewellery kits for teenagers.

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We spotlight inspiring women who are entrepreneurs or have skill-based passion projects and are willing to share knowledge, advice and tips about getting started in the space. Each Self-Starter’s story will be highlighted in a prime slot on the Homepage for a whole week, after which their story will appear under the ‘Work’ category on The Channel 46.

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