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Silver Is the Crown Jewel For This Startup The brand's in-house research team stays on top of contemporary global and local-'glocal'-designing trends to craft its exclusive silver jewelry

By Soumya Duggal

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Ishendra Agarwal, founder, GIVA

Fine dining may cost big bucks, but Ishendra Agarwal, the founder of silver jewellery brand GIVA, insists that fine jewellery no longer does. The company seeks to offer affordable and good quality ornaments—the kind that, though bought as a birthday present for your best friend, are hard to part with and end up in your jewellery box! Or so suggests as an amusing advertisement featuring brand ambassador and Bollywood actor Anushka Sharma.

"Earlier, the only cheap alternatives available in the market were imitation ones and the so-called "925 silver" ones (i.e. sterling silver), which contain metals such as nickel that are harmful and banned in many countries. This is what we wanted to change," says Agarwal.

The brand's consumers majorly fall in the 18-45 years age bracket, with most of them being women and some men looking to buy jewellery for gifting purposes. GIVA's in-house research and forecasting team stays on top of contemporary global and local—'glocal'—designing trends while keeping the end consumer in mind at every stage, says the company's founder. Further, each piece of jewellery comes with a 30-day return period and a six-month warranty, which, Aggarwal claims, is unheard of in the industry.

"Our artisans are the real stars; they are the ones who make our beautiful designs come to life exactly how we visualize them," he says. Many of GIVA artisans have inherited their skill from families that have been engaged in this craft for generations. "In order to transition them to our glocal designs, we share our learnings with them in the format of a playbook, which ensures that they can be on-boarded." However, not all make it through the company's stringent recruitment and training process.

In India, silver filigree karigars (craftsmen) are one of the most vulnerable sections in the jewellery supply chain, suffering exploitation at the hands of middle men and high-end store owners. "GIVA provides the most competitive compensation for their efforts along with best-in-class infrastructure and that is why a lot of them have been with us since the beginning of our journey," insists Agarwal.

As a D2C brand, the startup's products are available through multiple channels: GIVA website, Android app, exclusive stores, e-commerce platforms like Amazon and Flipkart, as well as the offline stores of Shopper's Stop, Reliance Trends and Pantaloons. While partnering with such retail giants increases a brand's reach to new audiences, it also creates growth constraints by putting pressure on the entire infrastructure.

Nevertheless, Aggarwal asserts, "My team and I haven't been one to shy away from any challenge." He follows it up by saying that success in this industry relies upon building one's niche and that GIVA achieved the same through the tough task of producing original designs in a market where tastes change rapidly. Advising peers to follow suit to make it big in the jewellery sector, he adds, "It's a general perception that players in this industry do not make a lot of money, but our strong unit economics combined with our growth has changed the narrative of this industry."

Soumya Duggal

Former Feature Writer


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