From a Lone Teen to a Jewel Tycoon
Chinu Kala, always had an interest in fashion even after working for years in different organization. It was in 2014 that she started her jewel brand, which is now a well-known brand in the Indian fashion industry
The saying, 'Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world,' goes well with the journey of this first-generation entrepreneur. Chinu Kala, founder of Rubans jewels' with just Rs. 300 in her pocket, left her home when she was 15 years old.
She shares, "I had to pretty much fend for myself and grew up learning things the hard way. I am not sure whether or not I even knew the spelling of entrepreneurship at the time, but I was extremely determined and strong willed about being successful. The definition of success though, changed with time. During my initial days, success for me meant being able to afford meals thrice a day. Deep down, I wanted to be the best in whatever I did, be it being a door to door salesgirl selling knives and coaster sets or being a floor manager for an apparel store or being a part time waitress. As any first-generation entrepreneur - I learnt the lessons of management by deep diving and getting actively involved in the roles that were assigned to me which ultimately helped me scale my business to the level it is today."
She began her entrepreneurial journey with Fonte Corporate Solutions. While she was doing well, her interest was always in the space of fashion. In 2014, she started Fonte Fashions India Pvt Ltd, the parent company of Rubans Accessories.
Rubans was started out from a small 36 Sq. Ft Kiosk at a mall in Bangalore, which is now amongst India's leading fashion accessories brand with over a million happy customers across the country. Their portfolio includes over two thousand designs in various product categories, suitable for every occasion.
From Bangalore, they have expanded to different cities such as Hyderabad and Kochi. While in 2016, there was a massive internet boom in India and along came the ecommerce platforms that changed the whole face of the retail industry. It took her no time to understand that there was a tectonic shift waiting to happen in the buying habits of the consumers. She started the online business in 2017 and today all their revenues come from the online space. Their products are available on www.rubans.in, Myntra and Flipkart. We are also part of the exclusive Myntra Accelerator program.
Chinu shares, "Despite the Indian jewellery market being vast, I felt that there was a huge gap between customer expectations and what was being sold in the market. My friends and acquaintances would tell me that they often bought jewellery from abroad owing to the lack of options in the country. The consumers had two choices – either to buy fine jewellery or purchase from the unorganised sector, compromising on the quality of the product. There was a clear gap in the market, and this sparked the idea of Rubans Accessories."
She adds that the USP of Rubans is that they have jewellery for everyone, for every occasion at a price point that suits everybody.
"Our portfolio includes two thousand plus designs in western and ethnic jewellery ranging from bracelets, bangles, earrings, necklaces, maang tikkas, rings, and much more. Our jewellery designs provide high-fashion alternative to fine jewellery which makes the wearer look confident and feel beautiful. These are statement pieces which are affordable but also stay true to their promise of quality and glamour," adds Chinu.
Challenges are a part of every business
Rational thinking, taking timely decisions and making necessary changes, no matter how difficult, have helped me emerge victorious. This is definitely easier said than done.
According to her, she always focused on finding solutions. Sharing about one such instance, she says, "I woke up one morning to a phone call that my entire office had burnt down. I, immediately, jumped out of bed and rushed to the office only to see that everything that I had worked for in past so many years burnt to ashes. I was devastated beyond words. However, I chose to snap out of it and go back to the drawing board. We literally built Rubans back from scratch - my employees worked super hard and since we did not have a place to sit we worked from my house with borrowed laptops, we made calls to each and every vendor to explain them about our situation. Today when I look back, that entire experience has made me stronger, and more capable of managing adverse situations. Its just the right attitude that will helps you get past such challenges."
The month of April 2020 got completely washed out and they started in mid of May 2020 which was again little slow as people were still trying to embrace the new normal. However, from June the demand picked up quite drastically and then the ongoing festive season only fueled the growth for online brands.
The fact is that most of us love dressing up even if it is for an online meeting or an intimate celebration. India being the land of festivals, jewellery becomes a key purchase that women make. And that is where they saw the demand beginning to spike again.
Consumers who previously swore by experiential shopping switched to and continued relying on ecommerce platforms to meet their needs, even after the malls reopened, which worked extremely well for us.
The Jewel Trend
It is safe to say 2020 was a very difficult year for most of us in our own ways. 2021 is going to be all about cautious optimism. People will be very selectively positive which will reflect in their choices as well. Fuss free fashion will continue to prevail and most of us will continue to opt for styles that are casual yet voguish and comfortable.
"With clothing being free and easy, I see exaggerated jewellery especially statement chaandbalis being a big favourite. Whether you pair them with an intricate chikankari kurta or a sublime silk saree, chaandbalis are here to stay and they are only getting bigger and better. I also foresee a lot of bright coloured jewellery. Bright, happy colours tend to have a positive impact on one's spirits and mood and it's only natural that this will translate into jewellery as well," concludes Chinu.