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FROM TRADITIONS TO TRENDS

To have your own thriving jewellery business is great. To run it along with your spouse is even better. As with life, so with business: Pavan and Neelam Mor of Pavan Mor Jewels operate as a team. While most of Pavan’s day goes into handling customer-interactions, Neelam’s focus is on finding new customers. It was called Mor Jewellers till a few years ago. Now Pavan Mor Jewellers is a 23-year old story of passion, enterprise and a tireless dedication to customer service. Pavan always had an affinity for more creative trades and he found jewellery ideal. Without any background in jewellery, he wasted no time in learning the ropes of the trade and started work on the jewellery firm the moment he completed his degree college's last examination. red got talking to the dynamic couple to learn more about the jewellery industry, its trials and tribulations, little victories and the key to a successful work partnership.

Background
Pavan: I am the founder of Mor Jewellers, which is now Pavan Mor Jewellers. I started in this trade soon after earning my Bachelor's in Commerce in 1997.
I got trained as a retail jeweler from 1997 to 1999, after which I moved into the wholesale business, where I manufactured and supplied to all the major jewelers in Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore and some parts of Delhi, and also Vijaywada, Vishakapatnam, Kakinada, and Bhimavaram in Andhra Pradesh.

My family wasn’t dealing with jewellery at that time, my father had a petrol business. So I had to start from scratch. I still have a petrol bunk, and I don’t find petrol and jewellery to be that different– both sell on trust. I maintain both.
I first did Gemology from the Hyderabad Institute of Gem and Jewellery, then did my diamond graduation from the same institute. In 2004, I went to Bombay to train in Gemology. Later on in 2010, I did my post-graduation at Gem Institute of America (GIA), Mumbai. I made my first foray into the retail side of things in 2005.

Early Days
Pavan: When I started out in this industry, people did not know me. A handful of customers reposed their trust in me and started giving me orders. These were people I supplied to between 1999 and 2005, when I was into wholesale. My first ever customer gave me an order for a ring, which was around Rs.12,000, a huge amount of money & a great boon at the time. Getting a customer order without having any background is really difficult.

I just sketched the design quickly on a piece of paper and she immediately approved it. Finally, it turned out very well and she was so impressed by my work that she still buys jewellery from me. Every Diwali, as a matter of sentiment, we do a muharat after the puja is done. She has been coming every year for the past 23 years and supporting us. Her faith in us only grows by the year.



A day in their life
Pavan: Nearly 40-45% of my time goes into dealing with the customers directly as many of them want my personalised service, my opinion and my design sensibilities. Another 25% of my day goes into creating new designs and taking them forward. From paper to the final product, I am involved in every important step of the process. That is how I ensure that things are under my control. The remainder of the day I spend on myself and my family.

Neelam: We have three kids, so I have to balance both my house and work. Once my children leave for school and college - I have household chores. Hence nothing is fixed. It is a constant effort to meet the needs of the family. I work with my husband for about five hours daily, after the children have gone to school. I am also a qualified designer, so we both sit together and understand our customers’ needs, that is our starting point for anything, be it a new piece or a new collection. Apart from that, I look after social networking, business development, expos. Wherever there is an expo happening, we participate to know the trends and understand the customers’ varied tastes. This helps us in attracting more footfalls into our stores.

Parinayam
Pavan: People are mostly inclined towards traditional jewellery. Hence, we came up with the Parinayam collection, which is doing great. It includes traditional jewelry for all budgets, starting from Rs.2.5 lakh to about Rs.25 lakh. It was launched nearly 18 months ago.

Neelam: We were inspired by Nizami and ancient South Indian jewelry & created create Parinayam. It offers total bridal jewelry -from nose pins to toe rings. Our aim is that once the customer comes into the store, they should not have to go anywhere else. Our designer team works closely with our karigars, so we are able to do the designing part then and there, if required.

Jewellery for grooms
Neelam: We also started a range of groom jewelry. Till now, the focus has always been on the women in the wedding, and we wanted to change that. We have dedicated designers for grooms. Here we use basra pearls, rajwada strings, etc. We design the entire string of beads in collaboration with the groom’s dress designer. We have been making this for nearly 4 months, and the response has been good. We might launch this as a separate line later but this is included in our Parinayam collection for now.

Trends
Pavan: I now see a lot of demand for kitty party jewelry. Kitty party jewelry is anything up to Rs.3 lakh. Women want to flaunt a different style of jewelry in every kitty they attend. I have some customers who attend 50 of them a year. So kitty party jewelry is trending and now and people are ready to afford it, because most of it ranges anything between Rs.1.25 lakh and Rs.2.75 lakh. I’m talking lockets with natural stones, beads, stuff like that. Another thing I am noticing is that people nowadays prefer jewelry that is either on the very heavy side or on the very small and subtle side. Very heavy are bridal sets or heavy sets, like kundan, rose-cut diamonds, or very traditional, like kasulaperulu, mango mala, and other older styles.

Advice
Neelam: I have noticed with young couples shopping for their wedding jewellery that they are really looking for guidance and recommendations. So sitting with them, talking to them, trying to understand them reveal a lot about what new things we can add to our own designs, to serve them better. There is no substitute for that one-on-one interaction.

As for working together with your partner, my advice is, in a hectic field like ours, you need to divide your work and trust each other. Anyway, my husband and I have separated our areas of work and each of us has a good hold over our individual areas. If I am into marketing, Pavan doesn't see what is being done in marketing. It is totally my territory. Pavan: With competition thickening in the market & corporates entering the fray, customer relationships are what differentiates you from others. You have to be on top of the trends, on top of your customer’s needs and understand them very well. There is no substitute for building relations.

 
 
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