Traditional yet top-notch
Every generation adds a new chapter to the family business and that’s what the three generation of Shringar House of Mangalsutra’s longstanding history spells out. From founder Shri Natwarlal Thadeshwar to second generation Chetan Thadeshwar who made insightful shifts in the original model and third generation Viraj who introduced technology into the traditional set-up, each one took the business to a newer height. Team Floroscent visited the iconic manufacturer at their head office in Zaveri Bazaar, Mumbai to know more about Shringar’s illustrious journey and the back stories of each landmark move in the course.
Established in 1963, Shringar House of Mangalsutra was founded by Shri Natwarlal Thadeshwar in Mumbai, Maharashtra. Hailing from Vichhiya – a small town near Rajkot in Gujarat and belonging to a community renowned for the art of crafting gold jewellery – the Sonis, he set up a small workshop, making unique gold jewellery. With time and great talent, his workshop gained prominence and a loyal clientele, eventually evolving into what it is today – a traditional business with international acclaim – Shringar.
A trendy makeover
The business underwent a major revival when senior Thadeshwar’s son Chetan took the reins of the family business at the young age of 18 years in 1981. Disrupting the way mangalsutras were perceived back then, he changed the concept of Mangalsutra from a traditional jewellery piece to a fashionable product.
Recounting how much he enjoyed exploring this uncharted territory, Chetan said: “In those days, there was no design element in mangalsutras. Made of a thin chain with a small pendant, mangalsutra would come without any variety. Agreed the trends did not change at the pace at which they do today, still every other jewellery was getting a regular update in its design, except for mangalsutras. So when I decided to bring innovation in Mangalsutras, I started off with minor changes to understand if retailers will accept it or not. To my surprise, both retailers and the end consumers lapped it up.”
He went on to add – “Later, I introduced gradual changes in the length, components and weight of Mangalsutras. This time again, the response was good. That boosted my confidence and I started designing mangalsutras by deviating drastically from the traditional design. I enjoyed this whole process, as mangalsutra was an unexplored product and nobody had done any innovation in it before.”
Overcoming the roadblocks
Although Chetan was sure of his move, he had tough time convincing his family. “They were skeptical about the change I intended to bring in this segment. However, I followed my heart and went ahead. I could see that the consumers wanted the change in mangalsutras but the industry was reluctant to touch this product. Eventually, I succeed in giving mangalsutras a 360 degree makeover,” he proudly beamed.
Chetan’s calculated risk paid off and how! It not only catapulted his business to a new height but also opened new avenues in the world of jewellery by creating a whole new segment – mangalsutra. “Today, mangalsutras are at par with any other jewellery product. It is now designed with all the components that other jewellery products are made of such as Kundan, diamonds, gemstones, CZs, beads in different variety and shapes, etc. Every state has its own tradition and style of mangalsutras. With subtle changes in its design, slowly we mainstreamed mangalsutra as a lifestyle product. Even the designers now think of mangalsutra as a separate entity. Moreover, it is now considered as a fashion wear as well. Earlier, women bought just one mangalsutra in lifetime. But today, they buy multiple designs for different occasions,” he updated.
In tune with time
Not resting on their laurels, with a team of over 50 people, modern workshops and skilled karigars, the company is continually reinventing its offerings. In order to bring the essence of all the regional speciality of the Indian jewellery craft into the mangalsutras, Shringar also outsources manufacturing on job-work basis. Their big assembling plant helps in creating a single product that carry the nuances of different Indian jewellery craft.
That’s not all. “We have a dedicated team to study global trends and understand what the consumers are looking for. Basis on that, we brainstorm over new design ideas which are further evaluated for practicability. Since mangalsutras is made only in India, we also put an international spin on it. For designing, we have professional designers and karigars with over 40 years of experience,” Chetan informed.
Customer focus is central to Shringar’s philosophy. “Many times customers seek for customisation in design. We make note of what changes they are suggesting and in the future, included them in our designs. If customers don’t challenge us, we may get complacent and stick to the same old designs that are convenient for us. This way, we are compelled to educate ourselves and stay abreast of the ever-changing trends,” he added.
A landmark shift
Initially, the company would also manufacture jewellery other than mangalsutra. But when Chetan’s pilot collection with variations in mangalsutra designs became a hit, he decided to specialise just in mangalsutra while discontinuing other jewellery. In 2001, the company finally took a call and evolved from being a manufacturer to a wholesaler, exclusively selling mangalsutras. “When I first presented my design at the India International Jewellery Show (IIJS), even though I was having a single stall at that time, I got a phenomenal response. That is when I decided to discontinue making other products and solely focus on mangalsutras,” he shared.
Next-gen in business
In 2010, the third generation member Viraj Thadeshwar joined the family business, exactly when corporate culture and boutique stores made way in to the GJ industry. To reach out to a new-age buyers, Viraj diversified the company’s offerings by introducing 19 different mangalsutra categories which appealed to women from all walks of life.
Following his vision, the company also started exporting mangalsutra to Middle-East, UK, US, Singapore, Fiji, Malaysia and hopes to map many more countries soon. That’s not all. Viraj has also launched a new concept called ‘Shringar Virtual Store’ – an online place where one can see live videos of all of the brand’s collections and make multiple purchases easily.
Though it was a natural transition for Viraj, his father has instilled a strong work ethic early on in life. “I used to make Viraj attend the IIJS for many years before he entered the business. It is the best place in our industry to learn the nuances of the trade. With that, he got a stronghold on how the GJ industry actually functions,” Chetan revealed.
Way to go
Viraj is as visionary as his father but what sets him apart is his global vision. “In terms of exposure, there is still to break many new grounds. In products also, we have to innovate more. My focus is to tempt the new generation to buy mangalsutras. Moreover, why only India or Hindus, mangalsutra is associated to bonding and other religions and cultures can also relate to it. If we can accept China’s Feng Shui in India, why not the other way round for mangalsutra,” he stressed on.
Pleased with the way his son is taking the business forward, Chetan urged the new generation jewellers to join the family business. “My message to other kids of jewellers is that after finishing their studies, they must join our industry. There is so much scope in our industry. It took years to develop a business, even a start up takes times to establish. So why go elsewhere. Bring your knowledge, expertise and vision to the family business so that the business and family values can grow,” he signed off.