Driven by the entrepreneurial forces of Mamta and Vidhi, Zariin’s journey has been experimental with one of a kind collections with one common thread – each of these were extremely wearable and occasionally neutral. The sisters focussed on the collections that would seep into the everyday dressing of women and not just be limited to a few selected occasions, and they succeeded.
The sister duo behind the handcrafted brand shares with us about the brand and how it came about.
What are your individual roles in the organization?
Vidhi’s the Creative Director and the design backbone of the label, and Mamta is the Marketing and Global Sales Director.
What is the story of Zariin? How did it come about? When did it begin?
Established in 2010, the brand introduced itself with its signature look of raw, uncut gemstones dipped in 22kt gold, an approach that was taken in defiance of the prevailing industry standard of polished, smooth and “perfect looking” crystals and stones. With the “uncut and unpolished” gemstone approach, the brand defined its muse loud and clear- the modern Zariin woman who is unrepentantly herself, embracing her flaws and imperfections.
Interestingly, neither of the sisters have formally studied jewelry design, and are self-trained fashion entrepreneurs. Zariin is a way of life where they translate their creative energies and personal expressions to eclectic, sophisticated and relatable jewelry. Vidhi studied Finance at Kelley School of Business at Indiana University and Mamta studied Economics at Sriram College of Commerce–their entrepreneurial spirit and passion for jewelry ultimately drove them to follow their dreams.
How is your brand different from the others? What is your USP?
Zariin is a brand romancing the East and the West, in subtle, nuanced ways such that it appeals to the global woman. Using the Indian techniques and artisanal craftsmanship, blending it with the aesthetics of the contemporary West, the brand has taken a unique approach to design which spells Modern Indian. Fashion advocates look at Zariin as striking a fine balance between culturally inspired detailed designs and minimalism. The brand is known for its signature look of raw, uncut gemstones dipped in 22kt gold, an approach that was taken in defiance of the prevailing industry standard of polished, smooth and “perfect looking” crystals and stones. With the “uncut and unpolished” gemstone approach, the brand defined its muse loud and clear- the modern Zariin woman who is unrepentantly herself, embracing her flaws and imperfections.
Do you feel that the market for accessories is over-saturated? Or does talent still shine?
There is always competition, no matter what you do. A strong product with a unique point of view always and sound marketing fundamentals makes its place and stands out, amidst all noise. The market size for accessories, especially jewelry, has also been expanding and the Indian consumer is embracing everyday jewelry into their lifestyle. Labels and brands are tapping into the strength of Indian crafts and presenting it in the most fascinating ways that is very relevant to the modern way of life. Currently, labels in India are presenting such diverse outlooks and developing a niche for themselves. It’s truly inspiring, and as a community, we must continue to support each other and the industry by being authentic, collaborative and have respect for the intellectual property of design.
Please share a few memories/ rewarding moments from your entrepreneurial journey so far?
Founded in 2010, the label was quick to gain international acclaim, picked by boutiques like Anthropologie and Calypso St. Barth in the United States, and Babylone and Hankyu department stores in Japan. With roots in India, Zariin was the proud recipient of the GRAZIA Young Fashion Award for excellence in accessory design in 2013 and was also awarded the ELLE Graduate in Jewelry. Zariin has been adorned by celebrities like Sonam Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra, Nargis Fakhri, Soha Ali Khan, Kalki Koechlin, and the stars of hit TV series –All My Children and Gossip Girl.
Does Zariin have an international presence? If yes, how did that come about and which countries do your steadfast customers belong to?
Interestingly, even though Zariin always had its roots in India, the label first established itself in the USA. Eventually, we shifted base to India. Today Zariin is available in 21 countries and retails in over 200 stores worldwide. The major international markets for Zariin are Japan, China, Korea, United States, UAE, Bahrain, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Australia, Mexico, etc. Some of the reputed stores stocking Zariin are Anthropologie (United States), Hankyu Department Store, Isetan, Takashimaya, Tomorrowland (Japan), Saks 5th Avenue (UAE and Bahrain), Husk Chain Stores (Australia), among others.
What were the initial challenges that you faced?
Since the international market has been one of our primary markets initially, we had to encounter several bureaucratic delays on account of import-export and customs. Sometimes the system seems to be working against the entrepreneur instead of abetting the machinery. Additionally, we had launched the uncut stone jewelry against the prevailing industry standards of polished and symmetrical gemstone jewelry. So we had the challenge of educating the customer that this form of designing is more about the celebration of the imperfections and rawness of stones than about flawlessness and every piece being the same. In fact, as part of our marketing messages, we took this opportunity to take this designing philosophy to a metaphorical level wherein we urged women to celebrate their uniqueness and rawness, and being unapologetically themselves. And it resonated!
How did the pandemic impact you?
The pandemic and the initial lockdown forced us to go back to the drawing board and re-look at all our pendancies of to-do items, one of which was that our website needed a makeover and a technology update. We immediately got cracking on that and relaunched our website with more enhancements both on the aesthetics and technological side. By the end of the lockdown, we were raring to go! With the retail customer increasingly and exponentially moving online, we took the challenge of launching more collections that would make excellent work from home accessories, and a medium to drive the pandemic blues away. We ramped up customer service that is always eager to help our customers to enhance their experiences and focused on creating content that was both feel good as well as proved to be a reference for styling. Our business grew over 2X in the pandemic year with all these sustained efforts.
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