Innovation is at the core of our business, says Saroja Yeramilli, founder, Melorra
Melorra is a fashion-forward, real gold and diamond jewellery brand that styles for the western wardrobe of modern women. Inspired by international fashion trends, our designs are lightweight and trendy, keeping modern women’s changing needs in mind, says Saroja Yeramilli.
Saroja Yeramilli, founder and CEO of Melorra, an online startup which makes trendy jewellery pieces, talked to Zee Business Online about various aspects of the startup ecosystem in India and the company's growth plans. She also spoke about how the online fashion market space is changing fast.
Do you think the startup ecosystem in India is improving?
The Indian startup ecosystem is witnessing an influx of investors. According to statistics by NASSCOM, the investment in startups has increased by over 100 percent since 2017 -- from $2 billion in 2017 to $4.2 billion in 2018. There is renewed investor confidence in the Indian startup ecosystem. It will thus continue to thrive and grow as long as there are companies that understand existing market demands and bring in solutions to address them. Apart from this, the digital transformation in India is also becoming a big enabler for startups in the country. The need of the hour is the right guidance and funding for many of them to become scalable.
What is your idea behind this startup? How do you stand out from traditional jewellers?
Melorra is a fashion-forward, real gold and diamond jewellery brand that styles for the western wardrobe of modern women. Inspired by international fashion trends, our designs are lightweight and trendy, keeping modern women’s changing needs in mind. It was during a visit to one of the well-known jewellery stores a few years ago that I chanced upon a conversation between a mother-daughter duo on buying jewellery. It was the daughter’s reluctance to buy jewellery she couldn’t wear on a daily basis that gave me the idea for Melorra – a startup that had the potential to disrupt the Indian jewellery market as it stands today. The conversation I overheard made me aware of the huge gap in what young women expect the jewellery industry to provide and what the traditional jewellery industry is offering.
People want to touch and feel while buying fine jewellery. Do you think people would buy jewellery without seeing them physically?
This is a misconception. The fact that so many women across India buy Melorra jewellery online is a testament to the changing consumer buying behaviour. We are also seeing an encouraging response from consumers in Tier II and Tier III cities. We also offer consumers a 30-day return option through a simple, hassle-free process.
How difficult it is to find the right talent for startups?
Our business is based out of Bengaluru, the Silicon Valley of India, which helps us attract the best talent across all functions – from technology to digital marketing. We have a refined leadership team from top-notch institutions like Purdue, IIM and NIFT with a healthy gender diversity ratio.
What do you think is the key to sustain in the startup space?
At Melorra, innovation is at the core of our business, which reflects in all aspects - our brand ideology, business model and product manufacturing. We are the only fine jewellery brand that uses fashion trends for its design inspiration. Our jewellery designs reflect global runway trends of Paris, Milan, New York and London. No other brand in this space is creating trend-inspired fine jewellery designs.
We have a zero-inventory business model. This concept of doing away with inventory allows us to offer an exhaustive range of designs and constantly refresh the variety of offerings in sync with the latest trends, since we don’t have to deal with an inventory comprising older designs. At a product level, we are disrupting the manufacturing process of the jewellery industry with Just-in-Time production. We innovate by using cutting-edge 3D printing technology and direct casting method.
How is your company's growth and what is your target?
We have a footprint in over 1000 towns and cities in the country, and are adding more than 100 towns per month. Our company is expected to cross a revenue of Rs. 150 crore in FY 2019.