How a Rajasthani migrant started and built a successful jewellery brand out of Mumbai
In the 60s and 70s, Rajmal Parekh’s family used to run a grocery business in Rajasthan. But Rajmal had bigger plans and dreamed of leaving his home state to migrate to Mumbai.
The allure of the city’s hustle and bustle led Rajmal to shift there in 1972 and try his hand at numerous business ventures.
Starting with a small steel trading venture, he went on to trading jewellery – a business that gave him good margins and allowed him to network with a large number of people.
He quickly developed a passion for the jewellery industry and began making jewellery under the brand name Parekh Ornaments, which was started in 1983.
His grandson, Raunak Parekh, who is the Managing Director at Parekh Ornaments, tells SMBStory:
“My grandfather always had business acumen. With five kg of gold and a loan taken from people around him, he began combining evolving palettes of design with traditional manufacturing craftsmanship.”
“The business started with one small shop and old craftsmen with excellent skills. My grandfather and his sons have grown it into a two-storey showroom in Vile Parle East, Mumbai,” he adds.
Raunak Parekh, MD, Parekh Ornaments
Parekh Ornaments, which has become a family business, makes jewellery pieces from gold, diamonds, uncut polki, precious and semi-precious stones, silver coins, etc.
Raunak doesn’t disclose the business’ sales numbers, and instead, claims it has over 14,000 clients across the world and is one of the top 15 jewellers in Mumbai.
“We are a mid-to-large sized jeweller with a 40-year history in the space. My father and uncle have played a big part in our family business’ growth – from one shop to a large showroom.”
Parekh Ornaments sources raw materials such as gold, pearls and coloured stones, locally as well as internationally. The manufacturing takes place at two units in Zaveri Bazaar and Vile Parle.
Raunak says, “The USP of our products lies in their detailing and finishing – that varies from one product to another, as well as the rarity of raw materials, engineered technically and with high aesthetic value. We don’t repeat our products and are constantly designing new ones.”
Parekh Ornaments currently retails out of a single store. Raunak maintains there are a few single-store competitors, but Parekh’s variety in design keeps it ahead of the curve.
He says, “We are active on Instagram where we interact with our customers and understand their needs on a regular basis. Besides this, we will also be launching our own website soon.”
“Today, everything is digitised and customers are spoilt for choice. One particular style works now, and by tomorrow it is gone. So it is important to be a part of the ongoing changes and deliver the right product to the customer,” he explains.
New product range and growth plans
In November 2020, the adoption of digital distribution platforms among such jewellers more than quadrupled to 55 percent from 13 percent before the pandemic, according to IBEF data.
Parekh Ornaments’ plans to launch a website falls in line with this trend and its intention to introduce a budget range of jewellery products.
So far, its products on average were priced between Rs 25,000 and Rs 40,000, with some premium designs retailing for crores of rupees.
Now, the business plans to manufacture jewellery priced at around Rs 5,000, and sell it on its website.
Multi-colour stone studs by Parekh Ornaments
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the customers stopped coming into the store to pay for and pick up their orders.
“We had moved from a post-paid payment model to one where the customer pays an advance, as some of them used to cancel their orders. With the pandemic, our sales were affected, but things were not too bad. Our FY 20-21 numbers were good. However, the second wave has again reduced our footfall,” Raunak says.
Adding that it is currently the off-season for the jewellery market, Raunak hopes sales return to normal by June or July this year in anticipation of the big sales in August that usually precede Ganesh Chaturthi.
“Although COVID-19 has put the entire world on pause, we are looking to expand. By the end of this year, we hope to have another branch and become known for our upcoming range of affordable jewellery. We are trying our best to stay in touch with customers and provide great deals for them,” he says.