As a business owner and creative head for Mahesh Notandas, what is it that worries you the most in the current situation?

I am worried about our staff. As business owners we are responsible for the wellbeing of our staff. It is difficult, because there has been no business at all during this lockdown. It is therefore a challenge to meet the business overheads, with no business income, at present. This is a common challenge which every business owner must be facing, currently, we are no different in this. 

World over, business of luxury goods in  particular, has come to a total standstill and therefore it is my biggest worry – as to when the situation will ease and business will return to normal.

How can business owners brace themselves to meet the upcoming challenges?

Leading luxury brands, across the world are faced with a never-before crisis, soon after the health crisis we are heading towards a cash crunch. 

Business owners may have to put in extra effort to infuse cash from their savings into the business, it will take some time for returns on this investment to materialize.

The market will take time to normalize and one can only wait until then. It is important to exercise caution in business dealings, in the near future. Businesses will have to check their risk-taking habits. They may have to be stringent with spending and check cash outflows. 

What change will online buying of jewellery bring in?

Jewellery business in India is more like a fashion statement. It’s a function of sorts; where women – friends and family get together and shop for jewellery. It is not like any other shopping where women may venture out on their own, buy what they want and return to their routine lives. It’s akin to a celebration.
 

The market will take time to normalize and one can only wait until then. It is important to exercise caution in business dealings, in the near future. Businesses will have to check their risk-taking habits. They may have to be stringent with spending and check cash outflows 


And in case of brands like ours, it is more so. We take extra effort to make it an enjoyable experience for our clients. Our regular clients book their visiting timings in advance, inform us what they would be looking for and we too, take the effort to offer them the best of what they would like to buy.

Jewellery buying is not every-day shopping, the client has certain specifics in mind, before she enters the store. A good businessperson will have to keep in mind all of those.

I don’t know how online buying can compete with this kind of specialised service, which can be offered only in real time. No app, or digital interface can compete with reality – or offer the kind of joy that the real world does. So despite the threat of the virus, people will walk into jewellery stores and prefer real time buying as against online or digital shopping.

How do you think consumers’ preferences in jewellery will change after Covid-19?

People may go in for less extravagance. Their choices may be chic, yet minimalistic. They may want to check their spending on luxury goods, as market situations may be tight for some months after the lockdown. 

Businesses all over the world have been affected because of the pandemic, so invariably, the gems and jewellery industry too will experience some slack. Though as wedding season nears, and people get into the celebratory mood, things will improve.

I don’t know how online buying can compete with this kind of specialised service, which can be offered only in real time. No app, or digital interface can compete with reality – or offer the kind of joy that the real world does. So despite the threat of the virus, people will walk into jewellery stores and prefer real time buying as against online or digital shopping

What is the one leadership lesson this pandemic has taught you?

Responsibility. That is one quality that I think the pandemic has inspired in each one of us. As a business owner and creative head, I know my decisions and actions will affect lives of a lot of people – who are dependent on us. The staff, their families, et al. 

They are dependent on us and we have a responsibility towards them. So I am going to be extra cautious and exercise more discretion, when it comes to spending and making big decisions.

A lot of jewellers are worried about paying staff salaries without any income and even shutting down their businesses. What would you like to say to them?

I don’t think jewellery stores need to shutdown because of the pandemic. Give it time, the situation will get better. One has to show some patience and courage. These are difficult times. More so for workers, and people who work for us. If store owners shutdown, where will all these people go? 

Our decisions should not add to the crisis, they should ease it as much as possible. Therefore we have to go that extra mile to ensure that our staff does not suffer, and we all are able to bounce back before long. Resilience and courage are important in times like these.

Do you think there will be a change in spending habits after lockdown?

People will control spending habits, because their disposable income too may have reduced, because of the overall decline across industries – world over. Masses may want to spend more on necessities and buying luxury goods may be relegated to the backseat. 

As business owners, we need to know this and be prepared for such situations. The one constant in this world is CHANGE. And sometimes, it’s a good thing.
 

Our decisions should not add to the crisis, they should ease it as much as possible. Therefore we have to go that extra mile to ensure that our staff does not suffer, and we all are able to bounce back before long. Resilience and courage are important in times like these