StartupTalky presents Recap'22. This is a series of interviews in which we conduct in-depth discussions with founders & industry leaders to understand their growth in 2022 and their predictions for the future.
Jewelry has been a part of human culture for thousands of years and is often used for adornment, as a symbol of status or wealth, or as a means of currency. The jewelry industry is a global industry, with major centers of production and consumption in countries such as India, China, the United States, and Italy. The industry is a significant contributor to the global economy, with an estimated market size of around $321.44 billion in 2022, and is expected to expand at a CAGR of 9.34%, reaching $549.238 billion by 2027.
In recent years, the jewelry industry has faced several challenges, including concerns about the environmental impact of mining and production and issues related to labor practices in some parts of the supply chain. However, the industry remains an important contributor to the global economy and is likely to continue to evolve and change in the coming years.
For this Interview, we invited Mr. Rupesh Jain, Founder & CEO, of Candere, and we talked about the growth, challenges, insights, and future opportunities in the lending industry.
In 2022, the total revenue of Kalyan Jewelers amounted to more than $1.028 billion, and it had $907.03 million in 2021.
StartupTalky: Rupesh, please tell us what products you sell at Candere.
Rupesh Jain: Being a brand with an aspirational value and a unique proposition, Candere By Kalyan Jewelers is focused on the lightweight jewelry segment in fine diamonds. We specialize in jewelry that can be worn on any occasion of choice because of its resemblance with traditional elements, which also bears the refinement of contemporary jewelry. Additionally, our brand offers seasonal-specific collections like- Valentine’s Day Collection, Wedding-specific Collections (in and around the wedding season), Anniversary Collection, Men’s Collection, and the Children’s Collection, along with collections like Evil Eye, Layered, Besotted, etc. which are evergreen.
StartupTalky: What was the motivation and vision with which you started?
Rupesh Jain: I have had a strong association with the jewelry industry since childhood, as I come from a family with four decades of experience in the retail jewelry business. I have always been inspired and captivated by technology and asked, “what is the next problem I can address with technology?” Coupled with my childhood love, interest, and passion for jewelry/ diamonds and combining that with the emerging technology trends, I came up with my dream venture, Candere.
StartupTalky: What is the USP of your products?
Rupesh Jain: Our USP lies in hyper-personalization and hyper-customization of the products since it allows customers to choose between gold purities and diamond grades. Candere has implemented and adapted to changing norms to elevate customer experience, ensuring a seamless experience during every step of their purchase.
StartupTalky: How has the jewelry industry changed in recent years and how has Candere adapted to these changes?
Rupesh Jain: The jewelry industry has evolved with technological interventions that caused a wave of change across sectors. Emphasizing the customer experience, the enterprises have leaped to another level of customized services and accessible interfaces for better purchase experience across online & offline mediums.
We, as a brand, have also tried to keep at par with the technological innovations, discoveries, and developments that have helped to create a coherent experience for our customers. These adoptions have also created a unique approach catering to the consumer category. By expanding our reach with stores, we are trying to address the demand and provide the touch and feel experience for our customers.
StartupTalky: How do you stay up-to-date on the latest trends and developments in the jewelry industry?
Rupesh Jain: As a jewel-tech brand, we use data to predict trends and create new categories for evolving customer demands in jewelry choices. We believe in introducing new product lines or categories for our increasing customers as per the evolving trends and unique requirements. Integrating technology at a large scale creates an engaging customer experience and a value proposition for the patrons.
StartupTalky: What key metrics do you track to check the company’s growth and performance?
Rupesh Jain: At Candere, we use technology and data to identify customers' purchasing traits/habits and create marketing strategies to maximize growth and increase performance.
StartupTalky: What are your company's most significant challenges in the past year and how did you overcome them?
Rupesh Jain: This year, we migrated our technology framework from Magento commerce version (1.0) to Magento enterprise version(2.0). It was a challenge since it required multiple system reintegrations and data connections. However, with the help of our specialized technology experts, we were able to migrate successfully, and now our systems are back to normal, delivering a better customer experience.
StartupTalky: Repeat purchase is one of the most essential parameters on which most e-commerce brands are betting. How do you keep your customer engaged to stop churn?
Rupesh Jain: At Candere, we always believe in keeping our customers engaged. We ensure that we come up with exciting offers and exclusive discounts to help our customers make jewelry purchases, especially during the festive season. We also believe in conceptualizing and executing relatable campaigns that resonate with the customers’ sentiments. It has also been one of our strengths to retain the existing customers and attract more simultaneously.
Also, our DGRP (Double Gold Rate Protection Plan) is exclusive to Candere’s customers which assists buyers in getting an advantage over fluctuating gold rates with gold price variations. It enables customers to reserve their jewelry at the current gold market rate in advance, protecting it against rate increases in the future and benefiting from reduced gold rates if the rate decreases.
StartupTalky: What are the different strategies you use for marketing? Tell us about any growth hack which you pulled off.
Rupesh Jain: We started Candere by Kalyan Jewelers primarily as an online JewelTech brand, having its presence in online platforms and the website alone. But, we have always believed in adapting to the industry's changes, especially post the intense digital wave and the need to be omnipresent across channels. Being one of the leading players in the sector with a vast customer base (online), we are currently focusing on cross-channel sales by offering purchase options through both online and offline stores per customer preference. We employ an omnichannel strategy to reach the maximum number of buyers and consumers, focusing on retention and enabling customer engagement with the Candere community.
StartupTalky: What are the important tools and software you use to run your business smoothly?
Rupesh Jain: We constantly look for innovations that will enable us to enhance our relationship with clients. For example, modern features like "virtual Try-on" and "voice search" on our website enable consumers to shop as they would in a physical store while remaining in the comfort of their homes. Additionally, we collaborated with Adobe Analytics, upgraded Magento 1.0 to Magento 2.0, and migrated our chatbot to the cloud for seamless customer experiences.
Our platform empowers customers to alter their jewelry with only a single tap. The customization option enables our buyers to choose their unique piece of jewelry that resonates with them and says a lot about their personality, including the ability to select from three metal colors, three different gold karats, and five distinct diamond qualities.
StartupTalky: What opportunities do you see for future growth in your industry in India and the world?
Rupesh Jain: Over the last two fiscal years, we have witnessed rapid growth. We have grown our revenues exponentially by ~100% CAGR. Our current omnichannel strategy will help us develop rapidly as we move forward, allowing us to preserve the brand's recognition and relevance among customers while expanding our footprint and establishing ourselves as a phygital brand across the online and offline ecosystems. Additionally, we will continue penetrating further into the current distribution channels with new jewelry collection launches coming year.
StartupTalky: What kind of difference in market behavior have you seen within states in India?
Rupesh Jain: Most of our customer base is from the metro cities, and we see more traction in the digital space. We have also seen cross-design adoption. For Example - the Thushi necklace, which originated from Maharashtra, is getting wide popularity in the north and northeast India.
StartupTalky: What lessons did your team learn in the past year and how will these inform your plans and strategies?
Rupesh Jain: In the past year, we learned how to swiftly adapt to changing times while maintaining customer relationships and experience. Going omnichannel is helping us accomplish this by increasing the visibility of Candere and its product range and making it easier for people to access the brand across domains. We aim to be the most sought-after JewelTech brand that caters to all types of jewelry for every occasion while also preparing for global expansion by developing our international website.
StartupTalky: How do you plan to expand the Customer, SKUS, and team base in the future?
Rupesh Jain: Customers, SKUs, and the growth of the team go hand in hand. Currently, we are delighted to witness a growth rate of 100%. With this, we can expand, diversify, and cater to our customer's needs and demands.
StartupTalky: With so much hype around d2c brands spending on ads, what will your growth strategy be organic or inorganic? How do you plan to work around SEO and content marketing?
Rupesh Jain: We strongly believe in sustainable organic growth, so content marketing is our core strategy. Creating and delivering relevant content at the right time to the right users is what we work towards.
We thank Mr. Rupesh Jain for spending his valuable time and sharing his learnings with all of us.