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GIVA: The story of a successful Indian Jewelry Startup

by upendra
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In the realm of fine jewelry, one name that has truly made its mark is GIVA. Founded in 2019 by the visionary trio of Sachin Shetty, Ishendra Agarwal, and Nikita Prasad, this Bengaluru-based direct-to-consumer firm is on a mission to elevate silver to its rightful prominence. GIVA offers an extensive range of affordable fine jewelry, boasting hundreds of stylish designs that cater to the discerning tastes of its clientele.

The Visionary Team Behind GIVA

Ishendra Agarwal (Co-Founder)

Ishendra Agarwal, an alumnus of IIT Kanpur, hails from a family with a deep-rooted history in the jewelry industry. Despite his initial career as an electrical engineer, Ishendra always harbored dreams of entrepreneurship. He embarked on his entrepreneurial journey with Twigly, a direct-to-consumer food brand. Subsequently, he honed his skills as a management consultant at the prestigious Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and gained invaluable experience in the venture capital arena.

In April 2019, Ishendra’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to launch GIVA Jewellery. The core objective was clear: to provide high-quality jewelry at prices accessible to a broader audience. GIVA’s jewelry, crafted from hallmarked silver, is a testament to their commitment to quality and affordability. Ishendra Agarwal plays a pivotal role in GIVA, leveraging his extensive expertise in operations, marketing, and finance.

He emphasizes, “In the past, affordable options in the market were limited to imitations and products labeled as ‘925 silver’ (also known as sterling silver), which often contained prohibited metals like nickel. We aimed to change that narrative.”

GIVA’s customer base primarily consists of individuals aged 18 to 45, with a significant female demographic. However, GIVA’s appeal is not limited to women, as some men purchase jewelry for gifting purposes.

Sachin Shetty (Co-Founder)

Sachin Shetty, another co-founder of GIVA, understands the misconceptions surrounding silver. According to him, many perceive silver as less valuable than gold, prone to tarnishing, and less durable. GIVA seeks to debunk these myths.

GIVA proudly serves over a million customers and has established a robust online presence on popular platforms like Amazon India, Myntra, Flipkart, and Nykaa. Furthermore, GIVA is expanding its offline footprint, with a presence in 20 cities across India. Sachin Shetty envisions GIVA achieving an impressive INR 250 Crores in revenue by the end of FY23.

Nikita Prasad (Co-Founder)

Nikita Prasad, a co-founder of GIVA, embarked on her journey in the design industry while pursuing her Bachelor of Design degree at the National Institute of Fashion Technology in Chennai. Her career kicked off in 2015 as an intern in the Jewellery Design department, showcasing her creativity through exquisite designs in the premium market. Nikita possesses a keen sense of aesthetics and a flair for fashion.

GIVA Jewellery – A Commitment to Staying Current

Ishendra Agarwal emphasizes that GIVA’s in-house research and forecasting team diligently tracks global and local (or ‘glocal’) design trends, always keeping the end consumer in mind. GIVA takes pride in being the only company in the market to offer a 30-day return policy on every piece of jewelry and a six-month warranty on each item.

Agarwal acknowledges the real stars behind GIVA’s success: the artisans who breathe life into their stunning designs. Many of these artisans have inherited their craft through generations. GIVA ensures a smooth transition to their ‘glocal’ designs by providing them with a playbook. However, GIVA maintains rigorous hiring and training standards, ensuring that only the best candidates join their ranks.

In India, silver filigree karigars (craftsmen) are a vulnerable segment of the jewelry supply chain, often subjected to exploitation. GIVA stands out by offering competitive compensation, top-notch infrastructure, and a supportive environment, which has garnered the loyalty of many artisans.

GIVA Jewellery – An Omni-Present Brand

As a direct-to-consumer brand, GIVA reaches its audience through various distribution channels, including its website, Android app, exclusive stores, and prominent e-commerce platforms such as Amazon and Flipkart. GIVA’s products are also available in offline stores like Shopper’s Stop, Reliance Trends, and Pantaloons.

Collaborating with retail giants undoubtedly expands a brand’s reach but presents logistical challenges. However, Ishendra Agarwal and his team are undaunted by such challenges. They believe that success in the jewelry market requires carving out a unique niche, and GIVA has achieved this by consistently offering innovative designs in a market where consumer preferences evolve rapidly.

Agarwal asserts, “While it’s a common belief that players in this industry don’t make substantial profits, our strong unit economics and expansion have reshaped that narrative.” He encourages competitors to follow GIVA’s lead to prosper in the jewelry market.

GIVA’s journey began with the creation and sale of silver jewelry on its website. Over time, it expanded its repertoire to include exquisite signature pieces crafted from 18-karat gold, oxidized sterling silver, and a wide array of precious and semi-precious gemstones such as marcasite and zircon.

GIVA’s rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and anklets have added a touch of elegance and sophistication to everyday fine jewelry.

The Key to GIVA’s Success

For GIVA, success didn’t come without its share of challenges. One of the most significant hurdles was effectively connecting with customers and earning their trust. In the early days, GIVA’s team would personally call customers to understand their preferences. However, as the company scaled, this manual approach became impractical.

To address this issue, GIVA partnered with Delhi-based marketing technology platform Wigzo. This partnership enabled GIVA to reach a wider audience and infuse a personal touch into its communications across various channels.

Sachin Shetty explains, “Previously, we used a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach in dealing with our customers. Wigzo allowed us to personalize our communications, reaching customers through channels they were most comfortable with, such as website push notifications, WhatsApp, or email.”

Automation brought remarkable results, with a substantial increase in repeat customers. Shetty notes that in the past, customers rarely made more than one purchase per year, but now the frequency has increased to at least twice a year.

GIVA’s Expansive Branding

GIVA is committed to inclusive branding across Bharat, collaborating with prominent influencers and numerous nano-influencers from Tier 2 and 3 cities. Notably, the brand has enlisted the acclaimed actress Anushka Sharma as its brand ambassador. Sachin Shetty underscores, “They help us convey the message that silver is the new gold.”

The Future of GIVA

While GIVA intends to leverage its website as the primary sales channel, the company envisions evolving into a comprehensive omnichannel entity. Shetty reveals that their goal is to establish 100 offline outlets by the end of the year.

The jewelry industry has witnessed significant interest from investors, with several direct-to-consumer firms like Melorra and STAC Fine Jewelry securing substantial funding. GIVA, too, successfully completed a Series B funding round in June, with Aditya Birla Ventures and A91 Partners as lead investors, and Sixth Sense Ventures participating.

GIVA’s commitment to offering up to 50 new designs every week underscores their mission to provide young women (aged 24-35) with a diverse selection of exquisite jewelry. In Sachin Shetty’s words, “We aim to make great jewelry accessible to all and provide our customers with more choices.”

As GIVA continues to dazzle the world with its remarkable jewelry and visionary approach, the future undoubtedly holds more milestones and successes for this Indian jewelry startup.

FAQs About GIVA: The Jewelry Revolution

1. What sets GIVA apart from other jewelry brands?

GIVA stands out for its commitment to providing high-quality, affordable jewelry made from hallmarked silver. Unlike many alternatives that contain prohibited metals like nickel, GIVA offers genuine silver jewelry. Additionally, GIVA’s dedication to artisanal craftsmanship, personalized customer interactions, and staying at the forefront of design trends makes it a unique player in the jewelry industry.

2. How has GIVA managed to win the trust of its customers?

GIVA’s personalized approach to customer interactions played a significant role in building trust. In the early days, the team made personal calls to understand customer preferences. The introduction of automation through partners like Wigzo allowed GIVA to maintain personalized communication across various channels, leading to an increase in repeat customers.

3. What is GIVA’s vision for the future?

GIVA’s vision is to evolve into an omnichannel organization while maintaining its website as the primary sales channel. They aspire to establish 100 offline outlets by the end of the year. The brand also plans to continue introducing up to 50 new designs every week, ensuring customers have an extensive array of jewelry choices.

4. How does GIVA stay up-to-date with design trends?

GIVA’s in-house research and forecasting team diligently tracks global and local design trends, aligning them with the preferences of their customers. This ‘glocal’ approach ensures that GIVA’s designs resonate with a wide audience.

5. Can GIVA’s jewelry be purchased offline?

Yes, GIVA’s jewelry is available offline as well. You can find their products in stores like Shopper’s Stop, Reliance Trends, and Pantaloons in addition to their online presence.

6. Who are the founders of GIVA?

GIVA was founded by Sachin Shetty, Ishendra Agarwal, and Nikita Prasad. Each of them brings unique skills and experiences to the table, contributing to the success of the brand.

7. What materials does GIVA use in its jewelry?

GIVA offers a wide range of jewelry crafted from materials such as hallmarked silver, 18-karat gold, oxidized sterling silver, and various precious and semi-precious gemstones like marcasite and zircon.

8. Does GIVA provide any warranties for its jewelry?

Yes, GIVA offers a six-month warranty on each of its jewelry items, ensuring the satisfaction and confidence of its customers.

9. How often does GIVA introduce new designs?

GIVA introduces up to 50 new designs every week, ensuring a fresh and exciting selection for customers looking to enhance their jewelry collections.

GIVA’s journey is an inspiring tale of innovation, dedication, and a commitment to making fine jewelry accessible to all. As they continue to redefine the jewelry market in India, they do so with a focus on quality, customer satisfaction, and an eye for timeless design.

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