With just Rs 5,000, this woman entrepreneur started a gold and diamond jewellery business online

Dishi Somani started her online brand, Dishis Designer Jewellery, in 2015 with Rs 5,000 in hand. Today, the brand churns a turnover of Rs 50 lakh with customers from India and overseas too. Here’s how she made it.
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It is often said that a comfort zone is a beautiful place - but nothing ever grows there. For thirty-six-year-old Dishi Somani, her cushy bank job left her comfortable but still yearning for more. 

Hailing from Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, a city known for its cultural heritage and palaces, Dishi had grown up seeing artisans visiting her home to design jewellery for her mom and grandmother.

Since childhood, Dishi has been an art lover, but when she grew up, the hustle and bustle of life and the usual course of completing education to get a reputed job didn’t leave her enough room to explore her creative side. 

However, in 2015, in an epiphany of sorts, she quit her cushy job at ICICI Bank after working there for around two-three years to pursue entrepreneurship and launched her own jewellery brand - Dishis Designer Jewellery.

“I wasn’t satisfied with my job. Though I did my MBA and was earning really well, art was really missing from my life. I am a creative person and a 9-5 job really didn’t cut it for me. My father wasn’t supportive when I quit my job, but I found my calling and eventually started my own label.”

When she launched her label, Dishi started with Rs 5,000 as an initial investment. She claims that her brand was one of the first few to start as an online-only platform showcasing gold, diamond, and silver jewellery. 

In a span of seven years now, she has delivered over 5,000 designs selling online only. She claims to have an annual turnover of approximately Rs 50 lakh.

Carving a niche for herself

Dishi was pursuing her job in New Delhi when the idea to start an online designer jewellery brand came to her. 

“In 2015, the online market was picking up and there were only brands like Caratlane and Bluestone selling premium jewellery online. It was a risk to start something from scratch as I didn’t have any family background in business nor the money to invest deeply in it. But, I preferred taking the risk to not trying at al.”

Dishi started working on her website with the help of her friends who were website developers. Gradually, she also partnered with Delhi-based PC Jeweller and Snapdeal to sell her jewellery designs online.

To bring expertise into her work, Dishi also completed a diploma course from the Indian Institute of Gems & Jewellery, New Delhi in 2014.

She recalls how she uploaded the pictures of her designs on to her website and took pre-bookings, which she would process in seven days. She calls this the Just-in-Time model wherein she didn’t have to worry about keeping stock ready, thus incurring minimal investment. 

Dishi claims she received her first order, worth Rs 10,000, within a month of the website launch. Soon after, she started showcasing her brand on ecommerce portals like Amazon, Flipkart, and more. 

Dishis Designer Jewellery now has about 20 full-time employees, who cater to customised as well as general jewellery orders from domestic clients and customers from the US, the UK, Europe, Australia, and more. 

Challenges and the competition

When Dishi started her jewellery label, there were only a handful of players in the online space, and competition was low. The initial two-three years also saw slow engagement on the website as customers were reluctant to place expensive jewellery orders without seeing it in person. 

The entry of bigger players helped change the mindset over time “With the entry of big renowned brands like Tanishq, Joyallukas, Malabar, and Kalyan Jewellers, people started to buy gold, diamond, and silver jewellery online. This created a boom in online sales; however, it also increased the competition,” Dishi says. 

The Indian online jewelry market was estimated to be worth $850 million in 2019, and is projected to grow to $3.7 billion by 2025.

Dishi says the pandemic gave a huge spike to online jewellery sellers as people took to online shopping in droves. The period saw Dishis Designer Jewellery witness a 30 percent upswing in sales, and helped Dishi build further trust in her brand.  

When asked if she faces any challenges in the order returns, she asserts that so far she hasn't witnessed any return order request. 

The way ahead

Talking about the future, Dishi says she wants to expand sales operations in Japan.

Working on new designs is a continuous process, and the goal is to make Dishis Designer Jewellery a global brand name. 

In the near future, Dishi is also looking forward to building strategic partnerships and investments.

Edited by Anju Narayanan