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BW Businessworld

Fashion Jewellery Queen

A fashion accessories business built on grit and creativity that is now growing at the amazing pace of 100 per cent y-o-y

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IN FLASHBACK Chinu Kala’s story could read like a movie script, except that it is real. She left home at the tender age of 15, after a bitter spat with her father. She juggled jobs, but life really changed when she took charge of it and followed a pas­sion − creating fashion jewellery. Chinu Kala poured all her energy and learnings into her fashion accessories business, known by the brand name, Rubans Accessories.

She bootstrapped her company, fonte fashions india, begin­ning with a starting capital of Rs 3 lakh, which ballooned manifold in the course of the ensuing six years since Kala went into business in 2014. Today Rubans Accessories is a well known brand in the fashion jewellery business and brags of close to a million happy customers across India.

The onset of the pandemic in 2020 caused a massive disruption across the economy and stung many businesses. For Chinu Kala, who markets her fashion jewellery online, it also had a silver lining. The pandemic proved a blessing in disguise for ecommerce, which wit­nessed a phenomenal growth over the last six months. According to Kala, the pace of growth evident in ecommerce in the latter half of 2020, would have taken another two or three years to occur, had social distancing and the ban on travel not diverted customers to the digital mode.

Trinket to Treasure

“I started this business with an investment of just Rs 3 lakh from a 36 square feet store and today we hope to close the fiscal on a revenue of Rs 30 crore,” says Kala. “We have built the business on our own and we are still boot-strapped, so the pandemic in that sense has not affected us. Being a 100 per cent online brand, we have seen a 400 per cent growth in revenues from June onwards as compared to the pre Covid-19 period. We also saw a huge surge in sales from tier-2 and tier-3 cities and all indications confirm that this growth is going to become stronger with time,” she goes on to say. 

Kala’s understanding of the market and the innovation of her com­pany’s offerings have been the key pillars of Rubans’ success story. “In view of the pandemic, we were quick to understand that the demand will go up, but the choice will change. Since peo­ple were not going out for par­ties or functions, the demand for lighter pieces spurred. Thus, we tweaked our offerings accordingly and today, we are selling huge quantities of daily wear accessories,” she says. 

Growing Market

The fashion jewellery market in India is worth Rs 15,000 crore and only eight per cent to 10 per cent of it is organised. Kala does not seem to be concerned about competition in her business. She points out that the market for fashion accessories was primarily unorganised, where there was room to “play and grow” for every brand. 

“Each one of us has to move the market towards the organised sec­tor and grow it inch by inch. We as a brand work on customer delight and grow our base. I don’t see much risk in the jewellery seg­ment as jewellery is part of our culture and the demand for it is going to grow stronger with time,” she says. 

Empowering Women

In addition to her excellent busi­ness intelligence, Kala is also a firm advocate of women’s empow­erment. With more than 70 per cent of her staff being women, she aims to make a difference to the life of every woman associated with Rubans, be they customers or her employees. 

Kala’s company, fonte fashions india, has had a tremendous growth over the last six years and is now growing 100 per cent year-on-year. Asked of her future plans, Kala says, “The next couple of years are going to be really excit­ing for Rubans as we have planned to reach (a turnover) of Rs 50 crore 2020- 22 and touch the magical figure of Rs 100 crore by 2022-23. We have our plans in place and are confident of hitting the target number for the next two years.” Rubans Accessories plans to part­ner with prominent brands and enter the international market.