Sumeet Anand from Punjabi Saraf, Indore has been in the business for nearly three decades now. “Punjabi Saraf was started by my grandfather. My great grandfather and my grandfather used to reside in Rawalpindi (now in Pakistan). During partition we moved to India and have been residing in Indore since then,” he reminisces. They used to cater to the Sikh community – and used to design jewellery primarily for their weddings. “So here too, we were called Saraf (which means jewellers) for Punjabis – so the community gave us our name – Punjabi Saraf,” he informs.
Today, people from all communities buy from their stores – in fact a lot of NRIs from USA and Europe also buy from them. “We have trained our sales personnel to cater to NRIs over video calls,” he explains.
They try to bring about a difference in terms of design – something that is unique to Punjabi Saraf. He believes that online and ecommerce business will work in the long run. At the same time, online business is quite a challenge. You need to have an excellent IT team -- it is a full-time occupation. “For a bridal jewellery brand like ours, we can showcase our jewellery via Instagram and Facebook. However, ecommerce through the website does not work as well as we would want it to,” he confesses.
They have catered to bridal jewellery clients living in the USA or Europe quite often and their clients have been very happy each time. Not even a small ornament was ever returned. While selling jewellery over the digital media – being totally clear and explaining every detail, as it is seen in reality makes all the difference, believes the veteran jeweller.
It was a challenging year
The whole year – especially the initial months of lockdown were quite challenging. “We had firmly decided to remain positive irrespective of what is happening around us. We have to go with our own instinct and not let the spirit dampen because of the adverse market situations. We held our team quite close – we kept motivating ourselves despite the fact that there was no business for a few initial months and lockdown was quite strict. But we decided to make a comeback,” he beams. They had never really stopped working even during lockdown. They knew they all had to face this new challenge together.
“My brother, our three managers and myself we started calling our core clients – during the two months of lockdown – these were mostly general calls to keep in touch with them,” explains the astute businessman.
Then they had planned a digital Tambola during the month of May. It was organized on Facebook. It was solely for their clients, around 1000 plus clients participated in it and it was very successful. And it proved to be a great push for business and entertained all their clients during strict lockdown. Months later also people were appreciating their effort. “We improvised our digital interface. We all started forming a stronger rapport with all our associates and clients. We also offered to help our clients in terms of need. We looked after the needs of approximately 300-400 Bengali karigars for initial 2-3 months,” he recalls.
Later, during festival time – he designed a special Tambola with nearly 16,000 participants across Indore on My FM (radio channel). This was a unique attempt – it was organized on the Karva Chauth – the whole programme was broadcast without any interruption for 1.5 hours on the radio channel and it became quite an interesting case study for the radio channel as well.
All in all, Sumeet Anand believes that with strong will and iron grit one can overcome any challenge. The year 2021 promises to be good for the G & J business – as people are coming out of the pandemic, the vaccine is being rolled out and winds of change are sure to bring in prosperity for all.