Manufacturers Meet spike in Demand against all ODDs

The Indian jewellery manufacturing fraternity is resilient and amidst a surge in Covid 19 cases in some states, lack of skilled artisans, liquidity issues and economic downturn, they are ploughing through the crisis to meet the ongoing festive and wedding demand

Post By : IJ News Service On 06 January 2021 5:17 PM

Ten Months after Coronavirus – Are Manufacturers back on their feet? How is the demand, by what percentage has sales increased? Are the karigars back? Is the situation as expected or better – what are some of the irrevocable changes that they are experiencing post Covid 19? How are they doing on liquidity? What are some of the demands they are witnessing from buyers?

From zero business in March, to grappling with the difficulties the pandemic had thrown at them, to slowly reopening while facing liquidity issues and dearth of karigars and now, trying to meet the surge in demand due to ongoing wedding season, jewellery manufacturers have come a full circle.

The strict lockdown prevented manufacturers from opening their units to complete orders taken before lockdown, thereafter post Dussehra as demand for jewellery increased rapidly, they were flooded with urgent orders – as all retailers wanted to re-stock their stores with new inventory. And this was when karigars had gone to their villages and were reluctant to report to work despite monetary incentives.

Dearth of Karigars
Informs Anand Shah of Anand Shah Jewels, Mumbai, “There is an acute shortage of karigars. Many are still in their native place in Bengal. It is therefore difficult to fulfill orders with less staff. We are trying our best, we are working overtime and somehow managing to do justice to the orders we have got.” Some karigars have reported to work and this has eased the workflow to some extent. However, with the second wave of Covid19 approaching menacingly, the future once again seems bleak. Bridal jewellery orders have started coming in. “At present we are combining temple jewellery in bridal sets. We haven’t reduced grammage or weight despite the pandemic. We did face some worker issues while fulfilling orders in time,” informs Meghal Shah, Sparkling Gold. “At one point of time, the demand was way higher than supply at that time things seemed quite difficult. Later, as lockdown rules were eased, things have now got back to normal,” explains Mehul Solanki, Solanki Jewellers, Mumbai.

There is an acute shortage of karigars. Many are still in their native place in Bengal. It is therefore difficult to fulfill orders with less staff. We are trying our best, we are working overtime and somehow managing to do justice to the orders we have got Anand Shah, Anand Shah Jewels, Mumbai

However, jadau karigars are mostly based in Jaipur where the highest number of jadau jewellery manufacturers are located. “We have fulfilled all orders in time, we had karigars working regularly. Right now, demand for traditional and antique jewellery is high,” informs Ankit Lodha, Jewels of Jaipur. Whereas according to Amish Kothari of Rosentiques Fine Jewellery, during July-August procuring karigars was a big challenge as no one wanted to report to work because of the fear of infection. Thereafter, as numbers of Covid19 cases reduced and Diwali orders started accumulating, they were able to get their workers back at work.

At present we are combining temple jewellery in bridal sets. We haven’t reduced grammage or weight despite the pandemic. We did face some worker issues while fulfilling orders in time Meghal Shah, Sparkling Gold

 

Some workers are local and we started work with the help of these local workers. Some are migrants, they went back to their villages and did not return even during Diwali – so they may not come back now. We have gone ahead with our local karigars because export orders had to be completed Vikas Mehta, Achal Jewels

“Some workers are local and we started work with the help of these local workers. Some were migrants, they went back to their villages and did not return even during Diwali – so they may not come back now. We have gone ahead with our local karigars because export orders had to be completed ,” recalls Vikas Mehta of Achal Jewels Pvt Ltd., Jaipur.

The Challenges in making Light Weight Jewellery
Jewellery, which looks heavy, is strong, retaining full purity of gold and yet light in weight is difficult to produce for any jeweller. “We are developing special collections for bridal jewellery – we are using special technology for the same,” informs K Srinivasan, Emerald Jewel

The second wave of Covid19 could be a major challenge. In TN cases are a few, but if cases increase, the state government may announce another lockdown – that could affect our business. We are rushing with completing all orders because at present the workers are there and logistics are in place K Srinivasan, Emerald Jewel Industry

Industry, Coimbatore. Some jewellers had a sound plan of action and therefore were able to tide over all challenges smoothly. “We are going to launch some light weight jewellery, at present we are going as per our original catalogue, which is quite vast,” informs Bharat Takhtani, ZAR Jewels. According to Anand Shah, reducing weight in case of bridal jewellery – while maintaining all other parameters constant is always a challenge for any jewellery manufacturer.

The jewellery manufacturing segment is perhaps the only segment in the jewellery supply chain, which works overtime, in challenging conditions and yet has to suffice with reasonable profits. They overcome a lot of difficulties on a regular basis and with the pandemic these have just increased

People want to buy jadau jewellery but are afraid of stepping out of their houses so at present, retailers have enough stock and aren’t placing new orders. In a month’s time the situation will improve Ankit Lodha, Jewels of Jaipur

Jadau jewellery is basically heavy in weight, because jadau craftsmanship needs purest of 22 or 24 carat gold and uncut precious stones, so invariably they need to be the best quality as they won’t look as attractive as they ought to. People aren’t spending much – considering the pandemic and also gold rate fluctuations – it has become challenging to make jadau in light weight – because in essence jadau needs a good amount of gold. “We have worked towards making light weight jadau jewellery. In the near future as pandemic subsides I hope demand will improve,” informs Vikas Mehta.

Working amidst the Pandemic
At present, Jaipur seems to be at the peak of the pandemic. “People want to buy jadau jewellery but are afraid of stepping out of their houses so at present, retailers have enough stock and aren’t placing new orders. In say a month’s time the situation will improve ,” says Lodha. In Jaipur for a long time Coronavirus cases were at the lowest, since October they have steadily been increasing. Now, residents of the Pink City are scared to step out of their houses. “So even if they want to buy jewellery they may not want to take the risk,” informs Vikas Mehta.

There is also the fear of a second wave hitting in January 2021. Says K Srinivasan, “The second wave of Covid19 could be a major challenge. In TN cases are a few, but if cases increase, the state government may announce another lockdown – that could affect our business. We are rushing with completing all orders because at present the workers are there and logistics are in place.”

The fear, however is setting in, as one hears that in some parts of the country, state governments have ordered lockdown once again. It is therefore a reason for concern as lockdown does affect business adversely.

As the second wave of Covid 19 pandemic strikes the challenges are going to be different and difficult once again. “We specialise in antique jewellery and that takes time so it is always a challenge to fulfill orders in time, because of the pandemic, the pressure is indeed high,” explains Mehul Solanki. But it is a global phenomenon and one has to accept it. “I don’t think the second wave of Covid19 will cause any more damage to the business than the first wave did,” informs Bharat Takhtani.

We specialise in antique jewellery and that takes time so it is always a challenge to fulfill orders on time, because of the pandemic, the pressure is high Mehul Solanki, Solanki Jewellers

Many feel that the second wave may not be as bad as the first. “This time however, I feel the lockdown may not be as strict as before and they may order restaurants, pubs and such places where density of population is higher to shutdown. Lockdown may be announced during night and not during working hours, as the government too is aware of the effects of a 24 x 7 lockdown on the economy ,” explains Pramod Mehta, Shine Shilpi Jewellers. The second way of Covid19 could prove to be a dampener.

If there is another lock down, it may not be as strict as before and they may order restaurants, pubs and such places where density of population is higher to shut-down. Lockdown may be announced during night and not during working hours, as the government too is aware of the effects of a 24 x 7 lockdown on the economy Pramod Mehta, Shine Shilpi

Weddings drive Diamond Jewellery Demand
Post Dussehra, there has been some increase in sales, though it hasn’t reached last year’s sales levels, but overall business in Diwali and post Diwali has been good for many diamond jewellery manufacturers. “Bridal jewellery orders have been coming in so we arranged for karigars to come back to Mumbai from their villages. We also arranged for transport for them to reach the factory. We have been taking all the necessary pandemic-related precautions and therefore could complete all orders in time. We have called in only those who need to be there at the factory. Our clients are usually wholesalers – not even retailers. So our orders are placed over emails, whatsapp or phone calls. We deal with few select clients only,” says Dheeraj Menda of Studio Rêves, Mumbai.

Bridal jewellery orders have been coming in so we arranged for karigars to come back to Mumbai from their villages. We also arranged for transport for them to reach the factory. We have been taking all the necessary pandemicrelated precautions and therefore could complete all orders on time. We have called in only those who need to be there at the factory Dheeraj Menda, Studio Rêves

With increase in gold price and many consumers wanting to buy diamond jewellery bridal sets before Diwali, demand has been steady. Says Sumit Kamalia of Uma Ornaments, Mumbai, “After many months of no activity, we witnessed a surge in orders before Diwali. The number of orders was almost the same as last year. This has kept our spirits high and I believe that the sentiment will continue in the near future as well as the wedding season is going on.”

After many months of no activity, we witnessed a surge in orders before Diwali. The number of orders was almost the same as last year. This has kept our spirits high and I believe that the sentiment will continue in the near future as well as the wedding season is going on Sumit Kamalia, Uma Ornaments

 

 

 

Absence of Physical Exhibitions
When shows are cancelled, there is a slight reduction in demand. “We all understand the situation. So we have got special photographs taken of our jewellery and made a Google drive link which we share with our trusted clients. These photographs allow them to choose what they want and they place their orders,” explains Anand Shah.

Exhibitions and trade shows have always boosted businesses – but since they are not happening there is a some effect on business. Jewellery unlike other products has so much craftsmanship and intricate details and virtual shows don’t do justice to them, especially with heavy pieces. K Srinivasan adds “In absence of bridal jewellery shows, we are reaching out to our clients virtually – over Zoom.” Until the Coronavirus cure is found, it would be difficult for anyone to rest at ease and virtual trade seems to be the way ahead. The G & J business has become more and more challenging by the day, given the pandemic and the ever-changing demand-supply equation. Manufacturers need to brace themselves to meet several types of challenges. However, IIJS virtual helped create a stir in the market. “B2B shows are always larger than life and give manufacturers a window to showcase their work. In absence of such shows, this time no new clients were added to our clientele ,” informs Abhishek Raniwala of Raniwala 1881, Jaipur.

B2B shows are always larger than life and give manufacturers a window to showcase their work. In absence of such shows, this time no new clients were added to our clientele Abhishek Raniwala, Raniwala 1881

Trade shows affect business of manufacturers greatly. Says Kothari, “Trade shows are beneficial for networking you are able to display latest products and get to know the market better. But we know that trade shows hold a great risk of infection and virtual shows do not give the result of a physical show. People want to see and feel jadau jewellery .”

What 2021 looks like?
The industry is positive that 2021 will be better, barring any surprises. It is a given that the jewellery sector will take its time to recuperate from the challenges caused by the pandemic. Thankfully, jewellery has a stronghold in India’s cultural milieu. Pandemic or no pandemic, people believe in the sanctity and security of purchasing jewellery and what with gold proving to be the most recession proof asset, the demand will only continue to increase from here on. Having said that, jewellers need to make a concerted effort in making changes to the design, so as to suit the shift in consumer mindset. Affordable, aesthetically appealing jewellery will be the norm going forward.

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