Your Bangalore stores have opened. How has the response been?

People are coming to purchase jewellery. That is the great thing about our industry. Once the showrooms open, the demand is definitely there. However, because of lack of clarity, we are not inviting customers ourselves. People who are coming are doing so on their own. We don’t want a situation where we invite customers and within a few days we have to go on a lockdown again. Now, those who are coming in are buying jewellery that they have already pre-ordered. There is a lot of panic buying. However, people don’t walk into the stores by chance because they happened to be in the vicinity. We don’t expect casual purchases to happen for some days anyway.

 

That is the great thing about our industry. Once the showrooms open, the demand is definitely there. However, because of lack of clarity, we are not inviting customers ourselves.

 

 

How do you think the jewellery retail business will change post Covid-19?

Globally there are a lot of changes happening. But in India, celebrations and functions will continue to happen and people will continue to buy and wear jewellery. Every small town has a jewellery store in India and people will go there to purchase jewellery. So, I am not worried about demand for jewellery decreasing in this country.  What concerns me is the lack of clarity as to when we can open for business. Even in Kerala where Covid-19 cases are almost nil, jewellery stores are not allowed to open. Even if your store is in a Green Zone, you are not allowed to open. In Green Zones if they are now allowing us to open, then where will we go?

 

Even in Kerala where Covid-19 cases are almost nil, jewellery stores are not allowed to open. Even if your store is in a Green Zone, you are not allowed to open. In Green Zones if they are now allowing us to open, then where will we go?

 

Are jewellers with e-commerce portal better positioned to handle this situation?

We need to see how lifestyle of people will change after Covid-19. India is a big country and ours is a huge market and it is difficult to predict. However, I don’t foresee things changing to such an extent where people will sit at home and buy jewellery online at the click of a button. But when it comes to gifting, people are placing orders online. 5-10 per cent of our sales comes from gifting and people are buying online as someone who lives in Mumbai may not be able to travel to Hyderabad and he may still want to gift someone.  We can predict to a certain extent but the reality of the actual scenario will kick in only after the jewellery stores completely open.

 

 

I don’t foresee things changing to such an extent where people will sit at home and buy jewellery online at the click of a button. But when it comes to gifting, people are placing orders online.

 

 

What is the biggest lesson you have learnt in this pandemic?

When the waves are very strong, don’t try to fight it. You should find yourself a place, sit down and wait for it to pass. The biggest lesson I have learnt is when to let go – in cricket, when a bouncer comes, you should learn to leave it. As leaders, this is the time you should relax, take your mind away from business and you should be able to give peace of mind to all your staff. Don’t get too worried, the world is not going to come to an end.

 

 

As leaders, this is the time you should relax, take your mind away from business and you should be able to give peace of mind to all your staff. Don’t get too worried, the world is not going to come to an end.

 

 

What advice would you like to give to small and mid-scale jewellers who are worried about their businesses?

We should all be positive. Unlike travel and hospitality, one of the greatest advantages of our industry is that people are going to be thinking about savings going forward. All this while those who buy cars and gadgets on EMIs are now going to think about savings and purchasing things from an investment point of view that they can pass on to their future generations.  Even at the time of lockdown and a pandemic, the value of gold has only increased and this is good news. People are going to come back and things will become normal. In the mean time, spend time with your family, read good books and chat with your friends! Don’t worry too much!

 

 

All this while those who buy cars and gadgets on EMIs are now going to think about savings and purchasing things from an investment point of view that they can pass on to their future generations.  Even at the time of lockdown and a pandemic, the value of gold has only increased and this is good news.