India’s Massive Millennial and Gen Z Audience Is Highly Fashion-Conscious and Aspirational Says Aditya Modak, Co-founder of Gargi

India’s Massive Millennial and Gen Z Audience Is Highly Fashion-Conscious and Aspirational Says Aditya Modak, Co-founder of Gargi
StartupTalky presents Recap'22. This is a series of interviews in which we conduct in-depth discussions with founders & industry leaders to understand their growth in 2022 and their predictions for the future.

Fashion jewelry, also known as costume jewelry, is jewelry that is made to mimic the style and design of fine jewelry but is typically made with less expensive materials. This includes items such as necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and brooches that are often made with synthetic stones, plastic, glass, and metal alloys.

The purpose of fashion jewelry is to provide a way for people to accessorize and add a personal touch to their outfits without the expense of fine jewelry. It also allows for a more dynamic and frequent rotation of jewelry pieces. Many brands, designers, and retailers offer a wide variety of fashion jewelry options to choose from, which allows for a lot of variety and flexibility in how people accessorize.

According to a research report, the global fashion jewelry market was valued at USD 71.9 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.3% from 2021 to 2028. The increasing popularity of online sales channels and e-commerce platforms, rising disposable income, and changing consumer preferences are the major drivers of market growth.

For this Interview, we invited Aditya Modak, Co-founder of Gargi Fashion Jewellery, and we talked about the growth, challenges, insights, and future opportunities in the Fashion Jewelry industry.

StartupTalky: What products does your company sell? What was the motivation/vision with which you started?

Aditya Modak: Gargi is a brand that is an offshoot of the iconic PNG & Sons, a 100-year-old jewelry company. The brand manufactures high-quality fashion jewelry made of sterling silver and brass. I treat Gargi as a brainchild of mine. I had the vision to transform the fashion jewelry space in India and I realized that there was a rapidly growing yet mostly unserved demand for fashionable and high-quality daily wear jewelry. The available products in the market were overpriced and of sub-standard quality. That's why I decided to transform the space and create pieces that customers could wear with pride. My team and I envisioned Gargi and named after an ancient Indian scholar from Ramayana, to fulfill my vision.

StartupTalky: What other products/features have been added in the past year? What is/are the USP/s of your products?

Aditya Modak: Gargi offers a wide range of products, such as Rings, Bracelets, Mangalsutras, Necklaces, Chains, Pendants, Earrings, Anklets, etc. In 2022, the company launched the Signature Collection of silver designer jewelry with over 170 products. The USPs of Gargi by PNGS are the high-quality and fashion quotient that the customers can’t get from other vendors. The brand has rapidly built a
reputation for creating the right price products that customers can repeatedly wear for a long- time. Gargi’s jewelry is made of 92.5% sterling silver and brass.

StartupTalky: How has the fashion jewelry industry changed in recent years, and how has your company adapted to these changes?

Aditya Modak:  Rising economic empowerment and purchase power have made modern consumers more aspirational, and the audience has become more receptive to fashion jewelry. A major change that is being noticed is that millennial and Gen Z customers have become more mindful of their everyday appearance. The demand for unique, high-quality, affordable fashion jewelry is growing in the social media-inspired and remote/hybrid work culture.

Gargi has built an extensive range of jewelry products with a style and design for everyone. Gargi provides quality and style-befitting designer labels. The combination of 92.5% Sterling silver and brass ensures that the customers get great value for money. This is how Gargi has brought about a change in the market in the last year.

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Aditya Modak:  I have worked across various profiles while working with PNGS in his career span of 12 years. While in sales, I would interact with consumers directly, and that is when I realized what the market wanted. With this rich understanding of jewelry trends and patterns, I successfully tried to bridge the market gap. Further, I follow all global fashion trends and have a great penchant for creating innovative combinations of Indian sensibilities and global trends.

StartupTalky: What key metrics do you track to check the company's growth and performance?

Aditya Modak:  We look at customer sales and which items have picked well during the quarter. This we do across all product categories. Like we offer a huge variety of earrings, here we will evaluate what kind of earrings are a hit, is plain or with stones, etc. Also, we assess the basis of geographical liking, bracelets are a hit in Maharashtra, but in the northern part of the country, it is chunky neckpieces. We also measure performance basis customer acquisition and sales of products.

StartupTalky: What were the most significant challenges your company faced in the past year and how did you overcome them?

Aditya Modak:  As a newly launched brand in the fashion jewelry segment, Gargi had to find the right manufacturers willing to focus more on quality and craftsmanship instead of volumes. That was the biggest challenge of the year, and the brand overcame it. Today, Gargi has a reliable chain of high-quality fashion jewelry makers and an excellent brand reputation for building upon.

StartupTalky: Repeat purchase is one of the most essential parameters on which most eCommerce brands are betting. How do you keep your customer engaged to stop churn?

Aditya Modak:  Gargi constantly focuses on ensuring the buyers' unmatched quality of products and style. The brand has retained many early customers but is proliferating due to positive word-of-mouth engagement. Using 92.5% sterling silver with brass makes the products look great and superior in quality. Further, Gargi has been strategically expanding the product range by introducing new SKUs and design elements that ensure that the customers remain engaged and keep making repeat purchases.

StartupTalky: What are the different strategies you use for marketing? Tell us about any growth hack which you pulled off.

Aditya Modak: Gargi is a digital brand that leverages various aspects of digital marketing, such as SEO, search engine marketing through Google Ads, and social media campaigns on Facebook and Instagram to showcase the products. The brand’s 100-year-old legacy, courtesy of the parent company, PN Gadgil & Sons, has given it a great launchpad to benefit from.

StartupTalky: What are the important tools and software you use to run your business smoothly?

Aditya Modak: Gargi is an online retail brand that uses advanced e-commerce tools for retail and marketing. The design process is software-driven, and the latest technologies are used to craft unique pieces, each of which has a story.

StartupTalky: What opportunities do you see for future growth in the fashion jewelry industry in India and the world? What kind of difference in market behavior have you seen within states in India?

Aditya Modak: India's massive millennial and Gen Z audience is highly fashion-conscious and aspirational. With internet access, even the Tier-II, Tier-III, and Tier-IV cities are now teeming with youth with clear expectations and demands regarding style. Thus, the market potential for a brand like Gargi and the overall fashion jewelry is incredible. High-quality, contemporary Indian fashion jewelry from reputed brands is bound to increase demand overseas. India has a rich cultural diversity, and the local culture often influences jewelry design choices. For instance, the jewelry that will be popular in a northeastern state will likely differ from that in Rajasthan or Tamil Nadu. The growing urban population is becoming more cosmopolitan, and good-quality jewelry has takers everywhere.

StartupTalky: What lessons did your team learn in the past year and how will these inform your future plans and strategies?

Aditya Modak: While data provides insight into the movement of products, styles, etc., it can’t be considered sacrosanct. It is a very dynamic and ever-changing domain. So, while we watch movements, we also go by our overall understanding and experience.

StartupTalky: How do you plan to expand the Customers, SKUS, and team base in the future?

Aditya Modak: We are a designer jewelry brand like all other fashion labels; we aim to launch new collections and designs every quarter in India. The number of SKUs keeps growing for a fashion brand, and we will also be hiring talent as per the growth needs. We might be the only player in the segment with SKUs as high as 15,000 units. In the future, we will only be adding more to the offerings.

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StartupTalky: With so much hype around D2C brands spending on ads, what will be your growth strategy, organic or inorganic? How to plan to work around SEO and content marketing?

Aditya Modak: We are an online brand relying predominantly on social media, search engines, and content marketing channels. However, shortly, we will expand our presence to branded kiosks in shopping malls and that’s when we will adopt an omnichannel marketing approach integrating digital and conventional mediums.

StartupTalky: So finally Aditya, One tip that you would like to share with another D2C founder?

Aditya Modak: For any business to thrive, you need to understand your customers. Don’t get affected by what the competition does. Try maintaining your unique identity. Also, never compromise on your brand values and ethos.

We thank Aditya Modak for spending his valuable time and sharing his learnings with all of us.

You can read other Recap'22 Interviews here.

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