Suman Dash adding sparkle to niche jewellery market with Vastradi Jewels
Suman has always been fond of good quality ethnic, art and fashion jewellery. Her search for vendors who could fulfil her requirements at reasonable prices was futile. She realised upon speaking with other women that it was a problem that confronted many like her.
Unlike other women, Suman looked for a solution. Driven by conviction and passion, she launched Vastradi Jewels, a brand of beautiful and uniquely crafted jewellery, at affordable prices.
Working in the corporate sector for six years gave Suman the added edge in starting up her venture. She holds a professional degree in Electronics Engineering and has worked for companies like Wipro and Reliance.
Despite this, challenges were inevitable. Managing finances and cash flow, gathering customer taste, product quality, connecting with reliable vendors, getting the business model right, hiring the right team and keeping them motivated, were some of the challenges faced by her. She says these were the little struggles that actually pushed her to do better.
According to Suman, the long road to Vastradi Jewels is divided into three phases — the experimentation of products in 2012, registering the company in March 2013, and the launch of their website (www.VastradiJewels.com) in July 2013.
The googly is that this experiment was started with a small investment of Rs.2500 and subsequently from her own savings. Yes you got it right. It is startling but true. Suman started with rupees 2500 only. Once the business model was proven successful, they received further investment and commitments of Rs.35 lakhs from friends and family.
The journey so far
According to Suman, “the jewellery market is growing rapidly. It is one of the fastest growing categories within the fashion segment, and will attract more buyers since women have a large influence on online shopping sales. Potential for a brand like this will only grow in the market. Further penetration of broadband and mobile internet will encourage people from Tier-II and Tier-III cities to purchase products via online websites and mobile apps.”
“The market is responding much better than our expectations. We have recently peaked at 32 orders in a single day which is just the tip of the iceberg,” adds Suman.
On scaling her venture, Suman says, they create, assemble and curate the designs and offer them to the retail/wholesale customers via Facebook and their website with an average value of more than Rs.2000 per order. They’re also working towards increasing the average order value by introducing more and more niche products. Focus will be on repeat customers. “Ensuring that the customer is happy and satisfied is of utmost importance to us,” says Suman.
Motivation and challenges
Suman says, “reading the testimonials of customers and hearing their ‘Joy Stories’ gives us a new high every day, while at the same time it keeps us motivated.”
“With our venture growing we do intend to help various ‘karigars’ and artisans,” says Suman.
Being a woman in the entrepreneurship field can be tough. Maintaining a balance between work and family life is definitely an added pressure. To the question of whether women have it tougher than men, Suman disagrees. She says, “the challenges weren’t different, but in fact, the nature of her business was more conducive to her taste, and as a woman, she could add more value to it.”
Having an experienced partner, such as her husband (business partner and early investor), who continuously mentored her and made each speed breaker look like a small hiccup, was rather helpful.
“Challenges change every day and so do the means to handle them. “Earlier, it was how does one generate revenue? Now it is how to build a great team and keep them motivated? Tomorrow it will be how to lead them and train them to create the next line of leadership?” adds Suman.
Vastradi Jewels is planning on opening a new office due to the increasing number of employees. They also plan to include new categories in their catalogue.
Looking for exquisite jewellery this season? Vastradi makes it just for you.