Sister duo put the bling back in silver with jewellery startup Quirksmith
Diamond is not always a girl’s best friend, at least not in Divya Batra’s case. Silver, her true love, manifested itself in the form of quirky jewellery. Founded in September 2014, Quirksmith is driven by the passion of sisters Divya and Pragya Batra.
The girls wanted to make heads turn with the Quirksmith line of jewellery and build a cult following among silver jewellery lovers. The sisters share a close bond, complement each other and so had always wanted to do something together.
“You know you are wearing a great piece of earrings when a woman talks to your ears rather than you (i.e. stares at your earrings while speaking with you). And that is what each of QuirkSmith’s designs does. We often step out wearing our own designs, and come back home with that exact feeling,” share the girls.
Love and bonding
Both the sisters were born in Agra. Older sister Divya, 32, is a jewellery designer by profession and has been in the industry for over 11 years now.
She graduated from NIFT in 2004, and designed for Amrapali right after.
She also has a year’s teaching experience at Pearl Academy, Jaipur, and designed jewellery for fashion designer Manish Arora for London Fashion Week, 2007. From 2008, she has been the leading the design studio for Fab Jewels Pvt Ltd, a high-end diamond jewellery manufacturer. In May last year, she shifted base from Mumbai to Bengaluru.
Pragya, 31, did her engineering at IIT Delhi and MBA at INSEAD in 2012. She worked with Bain & Company earlier and is currently working at InMobi in Strategy & Operations. She dedicates her weekends for Quirksmith.
Jaipur to Bengaluru – challenges on the way
So while Divya designs, Pragya takes care of marketing. While Quirksmith is based out of Bengaluru, the
craftsmen are at Jaipur. Divya has been working with them since her time at Amrapali. All the raw material and actual production happens in a small workshop in Jaipur, while designing takes place in Bengaluru.
Working from two different cities and devoting their time during the weekends to Quirksmith was a challenge for the sisters. They sell throught their Facebook page and most of Bengaluru’s flea markets (like Soul Sante, Kitsch Mandi). The duo also provide exclusive collections for a quaint little store Bengaluru called Timri.
A challenge for the sister duo has been finding an audience for silver jewellery. “It is not a mass-market metal like the regular fashion jewellery you find, and the price points are higher. But we are proud that of the small customer base we have right now, we get women coming back to us for multiple orders, month after month,” says Divya.
Strength in support
The love and appreciation for their products is a huge source of motivation to keep working harder to take their products to a larger audience.
When Divya hires individuals for her design studio, she says her focus is not on the pedigree of the person but what they bring to the table. “Not all of my team members are jewellery designers. They are just people who excel at whatever part of the work they are handling.”
This year, the sisters have big plans for Quirksmith. They plan to sell their pieces through multiple e-commerce portals in the next few months. “We plan to test different types of online portals and see what works best for our target audience. We are also in the process of setting up our own website. We are going live with Pernia’s Pop Up shop too by next month,” Divya says.
Quirksmith plans to quadruple its monthly production by the end of 2016. The sisters are expanding their workshop over the next two months and getting more craftsmen on board. You can catch them in Delhi and Mumbai where they intend to create a niche brand by participating in the cities’ design showcases.