How this American built a desi silver jewellery brand for the modern Indian woman
Rebekkah Kumar’s Fourseven is a Delhi-NCR based online jewellery brand that manufactures unique silver jewellery pieces with contemporary designs.
When Rebekkah Kumar first came to India in 1994, she immediately fell in love with the country, its art and culture, heritage, and craftsmanship, which is unique to every state. An avid lover of jewellery, the American explored what India has to offer, and while she found beautiful pieces, she felt there was a lack in silver jewellery options fit for the modern Indian woman: pieces that marry ethnic designs with contemporary sensibilities.
This realisation pushed Rebekkah to start Fourseven, an online silver jewellery brand, in 2013. While she had never worked in jewellery designing, she had a MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management and a two-decade-long experience in ecommerce product, brand, and business development at Microsoft.
“The modern Indian woman is fun loving, full of life, down to earth, spiritual, open, alluring, down to business and adventurous, and Fourseven is creating jewellery that speaks of each of their unique passions and experiences,” Rebekkah explains.
Finding an idea in freedom
What’s in a name, you may ask. The company’s branding is all about freedom, right down to its name. ‘Fourseven’ represents the independence of the two nations closest to her heart. While India got independence in 1947, the Fourth of July (4/7) is America’s Independence Day.
“Fourseven believes that this spirit lives in every woman who chooses her jewellery as a reflection of her own individuality, confidence, and heritage,” Rebekkah says.
Set on the name and idea, Rebekkah dived headfirst into market research and even hired an agency to perform a series of focus groups with her target audience to get early input on the market segment and build a sound go-to-market strategy.
Then came the visits to jewellery shows and speaking to manufacturers. “I learned everything possible about the process. I needed to be able to clearly map in my mind the whole ideation-to-market value chain,” Rebekkah says. She then got down to brass tacks and decided on the aesthetics of her collections: Indian themes with a western touch. Indian Masala Charms bracelets and Trishul ear studs are now sought after pieces from her brand.
Attention to detail
Rebekkah works with jewellery manufacturers and artisans from across the country to handcraft pieces from 92.5 sterling silver adhering to international standards.
“We oversee the end-to-end process from creation of full 3D digital designs to performing a full quality control check in-house on every piece before we make our products available to customers. We are currently shipping pan-India and in 12 countries across North America, Asia, Europe, and Australia, and we have opened our first concept store in Gurgaon.”
For the initial design setup and manufacturing tie-ups, Fourseven raised Rs 3 crore as angel funding and Rebekkah also dipped into her personal savings. She currently heads a team of 15 across design, production, QC, operations, customer service, marketing, tech, and retail.
A path studded with challenges
Starting up is not an easy task anywhere. And from finding the right manufacturing partners to establishing a design language and standard that differentiates Fourseven from others to hiring a team to creating an online brand and getting into offline retail, Rebekkah, an American who had moved to India, had her work cut out.
She had the big ol' language barrier to surpass too. But friends and family pitched in wherever they could to help her along her entrepreneurial journey.
“What really helped me was sticking to my initial idea, goal, and business plan. Though the direction and strategy may change as we respond to business and market demands, having a clear and focused foundation is critical,” Rebekkah says.
The bling market
Fourseven is hardly the first online jewellery brand in the market. There are several players for fashion jewellery like Pipa+Bella, Velvetcase, online marketplace Ejohri and biggies like Caratlane, which was acquired by Tanishq, and Accel Partners-backed BlueStone.
The jewellery market in India is around $60 billion. It is jewellery is one of those few categories where customers focus on design and quality, not discounts. But offline store customers are able to find out what these shops have only after they walk in, unlike online stores, where they can spend hours browsing and finding what they want.
According to Rebekkah, the shift is already happening: “There is a rise of online as a sales channel. Today, online jewellery sales are less than one percent of the total sales; in developed markets it is more than five percent. But that is changing now,” she says.
Rebekkah points to another shift in the consumer behaviour in urban India: gold-crazy Indians are slowly making purchases led more by fashion choices and not as much by investment. There is a growing demand for branded jewellery, which Rebekkah says makes up less than 20 percent of the overall market.
Catering to growing demand
The founder notes that Fourseven wishes to bring together content, community, and commerce with its unique design language to create a highly differentiated market leading consumer accessories brand.
“Through our unique designs, technology-enabled platform and loyalty-led philosophy, we believe we have set the right foundation to build a long-term profitable and sustainable brand. If there is one thing that sets us apart from competition it is innovation,” she adds.
The average ticket size on Fourseven is Rs 2,500 to Rs 4,500, while the range starts at Rs 1,000. While the team refused to share revenue details, Rebekkah says their monthly revenue has grown around 10-15x, monthly users have grown by 10x, and cost of customer acquisition has come down by about 60 percent.
The business model comprises selling exclusively Fourseven branded items through an omni-channel model. “Today, more than 88 percent of our revenue is from digital channels and 86 percent of online sales come from our fourseven domain,” says Rebekkah.
Rebekkah opened her first concept store at Gurgaon in April 2017, which has been profitable from the start without marketing support. She expects to expand their offline presence in Delhi-NCR first, followed by other key cities such as Mumbai, Bengaluru, and others.
With growth and expansion in mind, Fourseven is now looking to raise another round in the next 6-9 months. Going forward, Fourseven has entered into a licensing agreement with The Walt Disney Company’s India arm for designing and delivering silver jewellery featuring Disney’s iconic characters and themes.
Fourseven plans to launch collections that celebrate iconic Marvel and Disney characters for men and women as well as children.
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