How difficult is it to keep up the heritage value in stores like yours?
 It is indeed a challenge, as Kishandas& Co. has been catering to demands of eclectic clients since 1870. I take care of the marketing and branding.The type of jewellery we make is more raw material oriented. The first ten years of my married life I was totally involved with design and store management. Now, for the past 15 years, I help with marketing and branding initiatives for our jewellery business. Now, my nieces and nephews too have joined the business. I study what clients want and current trends, after which I give my inputs. I ensure that our brand is in sync with the latest trends in the industry and caters to our niche segment of buyers. Alongside, I also practice architecture.
Is buying jewellery in this day and age a viable investment option?

In this day and age, jewellery is becoming a luxury. People are more concerned about the look, the fashion and trends in jewellery, apart from the fact that it is a viable investment option. Today, the fact that jewellery is an investment option is relegated to the back seat, and most buyers are looking for high aesthetic value. Youngsters are more concerned about how jewellery complements their attire. We are known for our bridal jewellery and often we find that brides don’t come alone or with their fiancées to buy jewellery. They come along with a lot of their female relatives. And the task for the salesperson is quite daunting, s/he has to keep all these women happy and offer them pieces that will interest them the most. A sales person has to strike a balance between tradition and trust. We offer heirloom pieces, most clients come to us for quality over and above trendy pieces. 

How important is product knowledge in this line of work?
Our sales personnel should know our products well. I prefer a clean slate, over and above someone who has immense pedantic knowledge about the jewellery business and bears the weight of this excess knowledge. I prefer a clean slate.  A person has to have maturity and also the willingness to learn what we teach him.

Our clients are well informed and have a thorough knowledge about gems and stones. So we would naturally want our sales staff to know more than what the clients know. And we train them accordingly. Sales persons should have passion for the product more than just selling.

We don’t believe in hard selling. It’s a major put off for anyone. We want our clients to come back to us and when they do buy from us, they should do that for love of the product and our brand, rather than out of the compulsion that just because they have a wedding they are buying jewellery.

How flexible is the buyer’s budget when it comes to buying jewellery?
Jewellery cannot be bought on impulse. Budget plays an important role. If a client has a low budget, a sales man should offer her pieces in her budget. A good sales person understands the client well, in every which way and offers products, which she cannot resist buying.

A good sales person will take into account the nature of all the people who accompany the bride for the purchase, their preferences, options, and budget and will offer items they all will like. We train people accordingly.

A well groomed personality and politeness go a long way in affecting buying decisions, especially in our field of work and with our kind of really elite clients. They are influencers in their own right and love to be pampered and treated with immense respect and dignity. So we ensure that our sales personnel put their best self forward.

With so much of variety offered on sale, everything looks tempting, how would you help buyers make the right choice?
I allow the clients to exercise their right of making a decision. We allow the client to enjoy their shopping experience with us. We never coax them into buying. We allow them complete freedom. If I were a buyer, I would want to take my own decisions and would not buy from a grumpy or pushy sales person. I want to interact with cheerful people, who make my shopping a very enjoyable exercise for me. They should help me arrive at the right decision. Keeping this in mind I tell all our sales staff to be cheerful and never push hard to make a sale happen. 

What are the basic traits of good sales persons?
Good sales persons are happy from within, their passion for the products and loyalty towards the brand, especially our kind of brand should reflect in the behaviour of the sales staff. In order to convince, all members of the buyers’ party a sales person should analyse why they are not convinced, whether it is the price or the design that they don’t like or they want the purchase to be made at another store altogether. Once these facts are ascertained a good sales person will convince the buyers why this is the best store for them to buy, and how we are different from the rest. Here too, excellent product knowledge alone will help the sales person to clinch the deal.

Do buyers come into the store only to examine types of jewellery?
Sometimes, a bride comes along with a friend to see the designs offered for sale, she has come to do a recce and the actual sale is going to happen later. Convincing is a talent, it is often inherent. So a shrewd sales person will ensure that she comes back to our store to make the actual purchase. When she comes back for the actual purchase, we often get a senior sales person to offer the best prices and discounts and ensure that the deal is made. Many buyers, want to meet the family and feel that we as members of the family will offer them the best price. Some of our clients have been buying from us for generations and at such times, they want to meet seniors in the family, sometimes they want to offer an old piece bought from our store, in exchange for a new one.  Every client is important and an effective technique is make them feel so. 

Are high-end buyers difficult to handle?

In our kind of store, where we indeed have celebrities from every field, coming to shop with us, we have to offer them the very best – in terms of service, treatment, deals, products, et al. Everything counts. Everything works together, it is the whole package that makes the difference.In this case, I remember as a young woman, when I used to see very important buyers coming to shop at our store, I used to be a bit hesitant to interact with them. But today, I see my nephews and nieces speak to them quite confidently and as if they were their equal. There is no power play at work, it’s a good thing, and that works best for both. The buyer and seller. 

What’s the topmost challenge in running a store like yours?
When it comes to store management, it’s a huge challenge for any store owner to pacify the egos of experienced sales staff and ensure that they are well motivated. We do not give monetary incentives, because it creates unhealthy competition among the sales staff. It’s tough to ensure that there’s perfect harmony and peace amongst all staff members. Good communication is vital here. We talk to all members of our staff and treat them with dignity and respect.