[100 Emerging Women Leaders] Yeloo’s Abirami Santhosh is taking Indian local jewellers online
With Yeloo, an online jewellery marketplace, Abirami Santhosh is supporting jewellers across India by making their products available online on a global scale.
Entrepreneurial conversations at Abirami Santhosh’s workplace, OYO, often left her wanting to start something of her own. A deep dive into what she could start with led her to take her family business—jewellery manufacturing and retail—one step ahead.
In 2020, leaving behind her 16-year-long corporate career, Santhosh launched Tamil Nadu-based, an online jewellery marketplace.
The jewellery startup supports jewellers across India by making their products available online on a global scale. “We export to over 185 countries,” Santhosh says.
At present, Yeloo offers over 100 brands from across India. “These include gemstones from Jaipur, pearls from Hyderabad, diamonds from Surat, and so on,” she says.
Hailing from Salem, Tamil Nadu, Santhosh grew up learning about her traditional family jewellery business.
Married when she was 19 years old—while still in second year of college—Santhosh started working soon after her daughter started school.
From being a telecaller and sales manager to micro market CEO and starting a company, Santhosh has always been a go-getter.
When she was mulling over a business idea, she noticed how most traditional jewellery stores operated as brick-and-mortar retail outlets. “How would one go back to their favourite store if they move to another city?” she wondered.
With Yeloo, Santhosh decided to bridge that gap and give manufacturers of local fine jewellery (gold, diamond, silver, and platinum) an online presence.
Establishing trust, both at the sellers’ and the customers’ end, is a task she has managed to master over time. Reflecting on her journey, she says, “I am using all the skills I built in the last few years into action at my own venture now.”
The founder says she has dealt with conscious and unconscious biases professionally, and speaks about how despite people talking about the freedom women “deserve”, the talk doesn’t translate into action.
“I follow my heart. I do not work to impress somebody. I think our actions should be louder than words,” she says.
Santhosh says women should not hesitate to follow their heart. She also cautions against becoming overconfident. “Thinking you can do something is equivalent to being confident. However, thinking that only you can do it is a sign of overconfidence.”
The founder stresses on the importance of financial freedom for women, and says we should “keep at it” amid failures.
She recalls her own low points, including being let go by a company. “I think it was a good sign. Had that not happened, I may not have started a business on my own. Whatever happens, we have to look at the positive side.”
Edited by Teja Lele