Aditi Motla saw two sides of the jewelry industry when she was taking part in a fine jewelry show in Hong Kong on behalf of a diamond jewelry manufacturing company. An Applied Jewellery graduate from Gemological Institute of America, Aditi was awestruck by the plethora of fashion jewelry ranging from expensive unique pieces to affordable everyday wear. “There were so many interesting designs that I felt would be new to the Indian audience. I bought some pieces, did a small photoshoot, created a Facebook page, and that is how Tipsyfly really started,” Aditi tells HerStory. In her entrepreneurial journey, she was joined by her sister Aashna Sangani Parikh, who takes care of content creation and marketing, and her college friend, Ashish Virwani, who looks after finance operations, as co-founders.
Founded in 2015, the Mumbai-based brand began with a defined target audience of women between 18 to 40 yrs, sourcing its products from manufacturers in China. With e-commerce picking up in India at the time, most of their sales were driven by online marketplaces like Amazon, Flipkart, Jabong (which shut down in February 2020), and Myntra, besides a mild presence of its own website. Today, most of the sales are generated from its own website through the B2C model. Tipsyfly also works on B2B operations through several stores in Mumbai.
Aashna says the fashion jewelry market in India, large but fragmented, is considered one of the fastest-growing market segments. It is estimated to reach a whopping Rs 656 billion by the end of 2022.
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Make In India With The Help of India’s Karigars
“I have greater control over the inventory and manufacturing process by making in India with our own karigars, although one would assume it is easier to import from China. I can just sit down with the artisans and re-order trendy products in time for them to continue selling when there is still an appetite in the market. And vice versa with designs that aren’t doing great,” Aditi explains. Now the products reach the market within 25-30 days of ideation. Towards the end of 2018, Tipsyfly was completely dependent on about eight artisan clusters in Mumbai, Jaipur, and Kolkata.
Working with the artisans was not smooth sailing to begin with, as the jewelry manufacturing sector has always been male-dominated or “babu-driven”, as Aditi calls it. Not only were artisans very unwelcoming of a woman entrepreneur coming to talk design and place orders, but they were also not keen on working with materials other than gold or diamond, and especially much less so with online brands.
“But a lot has changed in the last five years, and they now experiment with different types of metals like brass. We have built trust and changed their mindset towards e-commerce acceptance. The artisans have grown with our business and in fact, some workshops run purely on our orders,” Aashna says.
Self-funded so far, the trio has infused about Rs 75 lakh together, which includes an initial investment of Rs 30 lakh. Tipsyfly claims to have recorded a 100 percent growth between FY 2018-2019, and a 40 percent growth in the following year despite losing an entire quarter of business to COVID-19. At present, it is clocking in monthly revenue of Rs 60 lakh and is targeting Rs 10 crore in revenue for the FY 2020-2021.