The City of Lakes and the capital of the erstwhile Kingdom of Mewar is synonymous with history, royalty, palaces, culture, and traditions.
Inspired by the rich culture of Udaipur, Jenny Chowdhary in 2019 launched Chokhahaar, an online and offline marketplace that offers a range of silver jewellery.
“Our silver jewellery collections personify royalty, opulence, and luxury. Every stunning piece is inspired by our heritage. We started this online silver jewellery store to resolve the issue of accessibility and reach, and to make it easy for people to buy from the comfort of their homes,” says Jenny, 27.
The silver jewellery startup has provided silver accessories for Indian celebrities and actors, including Madhuri Dixit and Mouni Roy.
Connecting with the past
An MBA graduate in finance from Ahmedabad, Jenny worked with S&P Global till November 2018. But her love for fashion and jewellery led to the idea of Chokhahaar, which draws its name from the words ‘Chokha’, which means ‘the best’ in Marwari, and ‘Haar’, which signifies jewellery.
Jenny hails from a family that has dealt with silver jewellery for long. Her father and uncle have been manufacturing and selling jewellery since 1980 at Silver Art Palace, a reputed store in Udaipur.
Chokhahaar, an offshoot of Silver Art Palace, began its journey with “the purpose of reconnecting modern women with the rich Indian traditions and culture.” The jewellery startup began with an investment of Rs 20 lakh.
“We all have grown up listening to the sagas of erstwhile maharajas and their rich lifestyle in the iconic palaces. The profound history and diverse cultures of India intrigued us. And, we thought of coming up with a silver jewellery store that is greatly inspired and influenced by Indian traditions,” Jenny says.
Chokhahaar offers a range of silver accessories, including earrings, necklaces, rings, bracelets, bangles, hand cuffs, foot kadas, and clutches. The 925 sterling silver accessories aim to “bring the stories of bygone eras to this generation”.
The startup also offers home décor items like inlay work mirrors, silver frames, wall panels, trays, prayer items, and more. Prices depend on the amount of silver used and the karigari.
Elaborating on the manufacturing process, Jenny says, “Our collection is the perfect amalgamation of manufacturing articles and curating pure silver accessories from skilled local craftsmen stationed in Udaipur. The moment a customer places an order, we accept and deliver in about 15 days across India, depending on the logistics.”
If a customer has specific requirements and wants a jewellery piece or product customised, the startup delivers in a one month.
The jewellery market and differentiator
India's gems and jewellery sector is one of the largest in the world, contributing around 29 percent to the global jewellery consumption. The market size is likely to reach $100 billion by 2025, as per a report by India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF).
The silver jewellery market has many players including Jaypore, Silverline Jewellery, Ahilya Jewels, and numerous small social commerce startups.
Competing with the many players and making a mark is a challenge for Chokhahaar.
“Staying afloat amidst the stiff competition isn’t easy. We continue to put in more efforts and offer unusual silver jewellery designs at fair prices. We try and stay on top of ever-evolving trends and demands to create designs that will appeal to modern women,” Jenny says.
Chokhahaar continues to refine itself in terms of convenient shopping experience and exclusive silver ornaments.
Jenny believes the startup's handpicked collection of pure silver jewellery helps it stand out in the market.
“Our expert craftsmanship, fine detailing, and beautiful intricate work inspired by the grandiosity of the palaces of the bygone era makes us unique.”
“Moreover, we curate accessories in pure silver from stores that have been working in this industry for more than 30 years. They have extensive experience in creating fine silver ornaments. Our ability to infuse traditional patterns into modern designs differentiates us from others,” she says.
Typically, a Chokhahaar product is targeted at the age group of 25 onwards, with majority of its customer base located in Tier I and Tier II cities across India.
“Initially, we had focused on social media, especially Instagram, and then we worked our way to website SEO and organic growth. We have witnessed considerable growth since January 2020,” Jenny says.
The startup has got 100 orders since then, with an average order size of Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000.
Chokhahaar sources its silver accessories from its own manufacturing unit as well as from other craftsmen. Thus, its revenue model is a combination - manufacturing customised pieces and the mark-up model. It claims to have seen a growth of 30 percent in revenue since the year of inception.
Jenny admits that amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the focus on essential products has increased and demand for luxury products has reduced.
However, the team, which is reinvesting the capital and revenue back into the business, believes the tide will turn and is eyeing further growth. Chokhahaar is also planning to expand its reach internationally.
“We are planning to aggressively work towards organic reach and influencer marketing in the near future. Our aim is to improve the brand value and reach a broader audience. We will go the extra mile abroad to make people aware of our craftsmanship and fine detailing,” Jenny says.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)
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