As Indian marriages are always associated with gold – lots of it, most intricate and heavy jewellery are usually worn for rituals, and then kept in a bank locker for safekeeping. They are rarely used due to the nature of design, heavy work, and also take into consideration the safety aspect.
Thankfully, the trend is changing as light jewellery is getting more used in favour of heavy and traditionally designed women.
Saroja Yeramilli noticed this during a visit to a jewellery store. She overheard her mother at the age of twenty, saying that her design would only complement the Indian dress like the lehenga and she could not be worn with jeans or other western clothing.
“It struck me that young women, Jane Z and the millennial population, if accurate, would not find the jewelery of their choice to wear on a daily basis. Saroja says,” Traditional jewelery industry for various weddings Very good at designing, but today women are different from their grandmothers. “
She laid the foundation for launching her jewellery brand Mallorca in May 2016, keeping in mind a clear target group and her needs. The Bengaluru-based startup now claims to be the largest distributed jewellery company in India, reaching over 1,700 cities within three years.
It has accessed 25 percent of all PIN codes in India since April 2018. In particular, the brand has also become attractive to small towns and villages and metro cities including every part of India.
As a direct-to-consumer (DTC) brand, “We are making gold fashionable.” The same old gold that women love, we make it fashionable and contemporary for the time being. She is the USP of Melorra, ”.
According to the entrepreneur, the origin of the word Melorra can be found in the Nordic anthology and Greek anthology, where it means ‘forever young and beautiful’ and ‘apple of gold’.
Business Sans Inventory
The entrepreneur notes that the Indian market is an important part of Western fashion. The success of international fast-fashion brands such as Point in Case, Zara and H&Min. However, she says that while Western fashion is reaching every part of the country, fine jewellery has taken a backseat and Mellorra aims to fill this gap.
The startup sends fashion experts to the prestigious Paris and Milan Fashion Week and produces a special report on global fashion trends for the autumn-winter and spring-summer seasons. From this, it churns out a fresh weekly collection of 300 designs every Friday, “offering fine jewelry as a fine accessory.”
However, it also follows a unique business model with no prior inventory. Users can choose from the designs depicted on the website and app, and the startup starts building once an order is placed. It also allows for customization options and the product is usually delivered between nine and 12 days.
With necklaces, chains, bracelets, rings, earrings and pendants, precious and semi-precious gemstones, light jewelery costs up to Rs 3 lakh. However, Saroja emphasizes that the wide range of products is available for less than Rs 50,000.
April and May proved to be a challenging time for Mallorca as a non-essential e-commerce company during the COVID-19 inspired nationwide lockout earlier this year. However, operations and logistics manufacturing resumed after 17 May.
Funding and Revenue
Starting with a $ 5 million seed round from Venture Capital Lightbox in January 2016, the startup has an excellent record of fund raising, the highest amount raised on a seed stage in Saroja, India She says. This was followed by two internal rounds of fund raising from Venture Capital Company.
In October, Mellorra announced a $ 12 million fundraise from Lightbox, Blacksoil Capital and the family offices of some of India’s largest business houses, as part of its Series C round.
The Seed Fund paved the way for a comfortable start for the entrepreneur “unlike most startups to offer good market benchmark salaries and attract their talent.” The startup has projected a revenue rate of Rs 160 crore in 3.5 years and has recorded an annual growth of 400 percent in FY 2019.
30 percent of buyers 25 or younger have no qualms in stating that young women of this generation are definitely interested in gold jewellery. Saroja’s idea is clear: “If you provide them with fashionable design in gold, then women have no problem.”
Clarity of thought
Speaking of the obstacles to building a startup from scratch, she says, “It mostly has to do with raising funds, hiring people, building a culture, making a competitive difference, and scaling. These are challenges that face Any entrepreneur will do. ”
However, she insists that a founder must have clarity of thought. “Investors know that they are not going to run your business, but are simply investing and providing support. There should be clarity in your mission. They should prioritize the customer relationship and take feedback with humility, ”she advises, adding that with these talents, investors will respect the entrepreneur even if they do not pay the money.
The success of the brand comes from Saroja’s experience of over two decades in building consumer brands in India. An MBA graduate from Xavier Institute of Management (1989–1991), She has worked in the advertising wing of Ogilvy & Mather and Mudra Communications before joining executive roles at Titan Industries Limited, Dell and Kaya Clinic.
At Titan, Saroja joined Tanishq Jewellery as Sales and Marketing Head when she struggled as a brand. She was part of the turnaround team that made the brand profitable. She also launched Tanishq Jewellery in the US.
Now leading a team of 160 people in Melorra, the entrepreneur hopes to venture into the global market soon.