The Best Mistake I Ever Made – Series I

Two industry stalwarts talk to Suneeta Kaul, explaining that what looked like a mistake initially has paid them rich dividends in due course of time

Post By : IJ News Service On 24 November 2022 12:13 PM

Running a business is a daunting proposition – one has to think of just about everything, take all kinds of decisions, and take full responsibility if those decisions turn out to be mistakes. But every so often, a decision that seems to be a mistake and appears to be the wrong step, turns out to be a blessing in due course of time.

Two veterans of the retail jewellery industry go down the memory lane and reminisce about how what looked like a mistake has eventually given them windfall gains.

Vastupal Ranka, Ranka Jewellers, Pune

We have been in the business of retail for a long time, and there have been times when we thought that we might have taken a wrong decision, but it eventually turned out to have been the right one.  We took one such decision in 2009 when we decided to open a new showroom on the highway in Hadapsar, Pune. Four months after starting the furniture work, a flyover came up right in front of our showroom, covering half the showroom.  

Initially, we were disheartened, thinking this was a huge mistake, but soon, the flyover became an advantage. We got ample parking below the bridge! People who wanted to pass away from the highway would cross the flyover and use the main road, and those who really wanted to shop at Ranka would take a turn on the side, and they would find ample parking. So, it turned out to be an advantage. The store is doing fantastically well now, and we think much of it has to do with the ample parking space customers have when they visit this showroom of ours.

There is another incident that I recall. We started out in 2002-03, coming up with a showroom outside the market area. Earlier, the retail jewellery business was concentrated in a hub within the city, but we had ventured 5 km away from the hub. There were no jewellers around us. For two years, it was a struggle to call people to visit the showroom, and it looked like we might have made a mistake by opening a showroom away from the hub. But then, the city started developing very fast, and soon, other showrooms came up near us, and these showrooms were much better than the city showrooms. So, this decision also worked very well for us.

There is yet another incident I would like to share. Once, a customer, who had been with us for quite some time, bought a solitaire from us. After two days, he came back and said the solitaire had fallen from the socket in the ring, and he could not find it. We immediately took the ring back and decided to replace the solitaire, without saying a word about the amount involved. We simply took the ring back, thinking we must first satisfy the customer. He had gifted it to his wife, and he was upset about the whole incident.

The next day, he came back and said he had found the solitaire. We fixed it, and gave the ring back to him. He was very touched by our gesture of not talking about money, and immediately agreeing to replace the solitaire. He then became a very good, very loyal customer of ours. From a business point of view, it might have been a mistake on our part not to talk about the amount he would have to pay for getting the solitaire replaced. But that same decision won us a very loyal customer. It’s another thing that no one suffered a loss as he found the solitaire. So, that decision also worked out well for us.

Every decision teaches you something – one should consider a bad decision a price we pay to learn something. So, there is no such thing as a wrong decision.

Sanjay Gupta, Tibarumals Jewellers, Hyderabad

We are basically from Haryana – my grandfather migrated to Hyderabad 95 years ago. He started a gemstone business, but we gradually got into retail. Our company became quite successful, and when I joined the business, after some time, I too started dealing in gemstones. But for some reason, customers were not inclined towards it.

People asked me why I am taking the trouble to deal with gemstones when I already have a successful business, and it looked like a mistake to them. But I kept on procuring gemstones -- it was like an investment for me. I had a passion for high-value gemstones. The suddenly, there was a growth in the value of gemstones, and demand also increased when the Nizam’s jewellery was put on display. People started getting interested in gemstone-studded jewellery, and I already had a good collection of gemstones. I got a good response, and also generated a lot of goodwill as my collection was pretty big. So, what looked like a mistake at one point of time gave me very good results a little while later.

Another thing I did was to create fusion jewellery – I gave a twist to antique pieces and created a new kind of jewellery. It was a risk, but soon enough, people started demanding more and more of it. For the first two to three years, I had a monopoly in this segment, and then gradually, others also started coming out with fusion jewellery. So again, what might have seemed to be a mistake turned out to be a profitable venture for me.


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