Designers Are New Drivers of Industry Says Ankit Lodha
An assiduous manufacturer, designer, exporter and now ready to extend his foot in the field of retailing with brand, Jewels of Jaipur (JOJ), Ankit Lodha, Director at GIE Gold Creations, is an epitome of success and inspiration to many young aspirants who seek to achieve their dreams. He yearned to be an engineer initially, but skewed towards jewellery and perused Gemmology course from Geological Institute of America, California post B.com. His undying quench to learn makes him keep enrolling in courses related to jewellery designing, jewellery manufacturing, mould making, modern making, hand designing etc . In an exclusive interview with Floroscent, Ankit Lodha shared his insights on his persona and his journey so far, here are some excerpts from the interview.
Floroscent : How did you get into jewellery designing?
Since childhood, I was inclined towards science and had curiosity to create and discover new things. I aspired to be an engineer, but destiny had some other plans for me and I joined my traditional family jewellery business. Moreover, I think jewellery designing and jewellery making involves creativity and this is what made me take up jewellery designing as a career option.
Floroscent: Do you feel that the trend of traditional family jewellery business is coming to an end?
Floroscent: Yes, the tradition of family jewellery business is vanishing, more attention is being paid to branding, marketing and PR these days instead of ensuing traditional family jewellery making.
Now everyone wants to ascertain his or her identity. The same is applicable to jewellery items. And here specialize jewellery designer play pivotal role.
Floroscent: How do you describe your brand Jewels of Jaipur?
Ankit Lodha: Innovation, magnificence and product quality are the three primary attributes of the brand. The idea behind creating this brand was to offer products with best possible quality with no flaws. Our products garnered appreciation from the start, however during recession we got displaced for time being on the designing part, though we got back on track soon. While I was setting up Jewellers of Jaipur (JOJ), during that time I was involved in organizing a private show in Jaipur which we named ‘Jewels of Jaipur’, hence the idea of brand name came from there. I feel that the brand is yet in nascent stage as the world is yet to know about our brand, a retail showroom is in works that could open in next 6 to 8 months in Jaipur. A website will also be floated soon, so we still have a lot coming up in tandem with expanding the reach of our brand.
Floroscent: How do you decide on launching a particular design in the market?
Ankit Lodha: We have a standard rule that whatever we have designed we keep it at one place and seek feedback from our customers and marketing team. At our factory also we keep a small exhibition of our designs, so whatever design gets most appreciation we use that in our new collection.
Floroscent: Please tell us about your latest collection.
Ankit Lodha: The current generation of fine jewellers in India brings together traditional techniques, influences from architectural and design movements, and the rarest of stones. Presently we are working on City Palace themed Kundan Meena jewellery inspired from the Mughal art used in City Palace. We have incorporated the intricate work done on the pillars in the jewellery and will soon launch the new collection that includes ear rings, bangles and necklace.
Floroscent: What inspired you to include Mughal art in your collection? What was so special about it?
Ankit Lodha: I love the use of pillars in the Mughal art that depicts the true essence of the culture of a place. Other than this, the motives, Jalee work and paintings used in the Mughal art imbued me to use it in jewellery. The fine work done on the handles of the gates or some metal work done on the gate that is usually not noticed but comes out very beautifully in Mughal art, can be used well in jewellery. City Palace is a great monument of Jaipur that tourists usually visit when they come to the city, in-fact, it is one of the first things tourists visit in Jaipur, henceforth I thought to use it in our new collection as City Palace embodies the true soul of Jaipur and its culture.
Floroscent: What is the unique thing about your jewellery that you deliver to your customers?
Ankit Lodha: Our main focus is quality, we want to offer very good products to our customers with good quality diamonds used in the jewellery and better quality of finishing and manufacturing, this is our core theme.
We use Diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires and a lot of pearls. And apart from that we have done some innovation on gem stone carts.
Floroscent: Do you have in-house designers?
Ankit Lodha: All the manufacturing is done in-house nothing is outsourced. We have some celebrity designers and some in-house designers as well working for us. We do lot of creative work in different segments.
Floroscent: How long does it take to design a particular piece of jewellery?
Ankit Lodha: It takes at least two and a half hours to get it from designing to final piece. We first design and then give it to model department which decides whether it requires hand work or autocad. Most of the work is done by hand work, post that it goes for meena work and then kundan setting after which it gradually it goes for final finishing.
Floroscent: How important is it for you to know details of the manufacturing of a product?
Ankit Lodha: It is very important. When we select a design we come across production and costing technicalities, so as the process is carried on we get an overall idea of the material (gold, diamond, color stones etc) that will be used in the manufacturing of that particular product or design. And this is how we decide on the basic costing of the product. While working on a particular collection we make sure to keep a balance of the design in the entire range and try to keep costing similar.
Floroscent: Who are your target customers and how do you promote your products?
Ankit Lodha: We still cater to the B2B sector and we still have not forayed into B2C sector yet. Our sales team attends B2B meetings, other than that we promote our brand through social media sites like facebook and through retail. There is no such target audience in terms of price, but I want people to buy my jewellery who want to buy something new in terms of creativity.
Trends and design preferences vary depending upon the client’s status level as well as their social circle. People want their jewellery to be appreciated. Moreover, preference of design highly depends upon the personality of the wearers as well as their lifestyle. The younger generation demands diamond jewellery to suit their lifestyles and apparels.
The customer should be satisfied while wearing our jewellery and feel the difference between our jewellery and others that is when I would be satisfied as a jewellery maker.
Floroscent: Have you noticed any interesting trend in jewellery in the last five years?
Ankit Lodha: Brand name works, ecommerce jewellery sales is booming in India. I think people will come with their own collection, and brand consciousness will increase, marketing, social media and ecommerce are going to play a very vital role in jewellery industry. Focus will shift to design. Designer will be “New Drivers of the Industry”.
Floroscent: What is the unique thing about manufacturing of your brand?
Ankit Lodha: Technology, our technology is updated, I don’t think any other factory manufacturing domestic jewellery has updated their technology and manufacturing machinery. We have advanced machinery, jewellery CAD, softwares, matrix, I think no one has these machineries in the entire country. In Jaipur, other than us only one jeweller has these machineries but that is also not the latest version, only we have the latest version.
Floroscent: What advice would you like to give to customers, what should they keep in mind while buying jewellery?
Ankit Lodha: Customers should first identify the intent of the jeweller, whether the person selling them jewellery is authentic or thugs. Relationship with a jeweller is more important, it is the trust between a jeweller and the customer that works. So it depends on the personal judgement, no jeweller is better or I am not claiming that I am better than others but then as I said it depends on the relationship of the customer with the jeweller. And most importantly, customers should buy certified jewellery; IGI certified jewellery suffices all the parameters of quality, so one should go for IGI certified jewellery or Hallmark certified jewellery.