Dwiti Bhuwalka is the creative force behind the jewelry brand Pretios. Through her label, Dwiti aims to offer fresh and contemporary sensibilities with a global appeal, yet retains her ethnic appeal through a decidedly Indian identity.
This is an Exclusive Interview with Dwiti, as a part of the #TimesStories initiative by The Times Blog.
What sector does Pretios operate in? What inspired you to launch a business in this domain?
Pretios operates within the fine jewelry space. What really prompted me to enter this segment was a steep surge in the number of destination weddings and the consequent inability of people to carry authentic jewellery overseas.
Also, people want to wear newer designs every day, and Pretios caters to that need perfectly.
When did you launch Pretios, and what challenges did you face initially while going about it?
I launched my label in October, 2017. The main challenge for me was to setup the right manufacturing units, because I had no exposure towards manufacturing as a business process before this.
How did your family react when you told them you wanted to run a jewelry business - an unconventional one at that?
The family where I grew up, and my in-laws have been equally supportive of my journey. The thing is, my extended family is full of entrepreneurs. So it was only natural, that I follow in their footsteps.
How important was the acquisition & targeting of a niche audience for Pretios? How did you go about it?
For a brand like Pretios, it was extremely important to acquire and cater to a niche segment - because only a select few within the jewelry consumer interface can value the fine designs and quality that we provide. My main focus has been on quality workmanship and innovative designs and that alone has allowed me to target this segment effectively.
Are there specific influences who have inspired you? Is there any advice from them, that you would like to share with our readers?
My father has influenced me a lot in our journey, as he operates in the same industry. I always look up to him for guidance and advice. The first thing that my father told me when I entered this line of busines, was to be genuine and loyal to my customers, to never cheat or overcharge them. That is something that Pretios as a brand will never do.
What are the Top 3 Business Takeaways that you did not know when you first started out?
Well... branding yourself as a designer has lots of moving parts. You need to understand why you’re doing this, and how the experience of your brand (and jewelry) delivers on that promise.
My top 3 takeaways have been:
Taking Risks Pays Off
Reaching out to potential clients sounds intimidating, but if you do it right, you’ll start loving it. Find the best fit for your brand, prepare yourself for questions that your customers will ask, and look for things that you have in common with them - such as your core values, or your philanthropic inclinations.
Make What You Love
When starting your jewelry business, you need to make every piece of your jewelry different from what your competitors have to offer. Apart from being visually appealing, you must take care of packaging, design, etc... The appearance of your product needs to be empirical and it needs to drive your customer to buy your product over any other competing brand.
Effectively Utilize Social Media
These days, everyone has social media accounts - be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. So, create and manage your own social media accounts to distribute as diversely as possible. Since the jewelry business relies more on showcasing a wide range of jewelry items, it makes sense to use Instagram and Pinterest, which are image-based social channels.
What advice would you give to your ten-year younger self, if given an opportunity?
I would go back and start my brand sooner so that I could capture a bigger chunk of the market. The first mover advantage matters. A lot.
Any words of advice to aspiring entrepreneurs in the jewelry business?
The only advice I would like to give is to think before you enter, because once you start off in this business, you have to give in your 110% at the very least.
Is there a product or service that doesn't exist yet, which you wished existed? To help your business?
I'd be interested in services that can help me manage my business better... Yeah, I want a device that stops me from making bad decisions!
How much of a role does consumer marketing/publicity play in your business segment? What are the key challenges that you have faced so far?
Publicity plays a major role in my type of business. The main challenge that I have faced is spreading the word on quality assurance as some of our consumers can't physically see or try the products if they are located in remote cities.
Is there someone whom you wish to thank on The Times Blog's platform?
That has to be my family. My parents, who always taught me to distinguish between what was right and what was plain wrong... teaching me the core ethical values that drive me today, and ensuring that I never, ever sway from my goals.
I would also like to thank my husband for being an omnipresent force, and for always giving me the strength to keep moving forward.
The Times RapidFire
Name One book that you would recommend today, without blinking.
Answer: The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari
An original quotation for your loyal customers?
Answer: Buy it, to believe it.
Do you operate with goals, or systems? Pick one.
Answer: Goals .
Cricket, or no Cricket?
Answer: Cricket, definitely.
Print, or Digital?
And finally... what comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘The Times Blog’?