Adapting To Thrive: Strategies Behind Shobha Shringar’s Success

Shobha Shringar Jewellers is a renowned family-owned independent house that has been in business for 40 years. No two jewellery pieces are alike at this showroom, which is situated at Mumbai’s strategic area overlooking the Queen’s Necklace. Founded by a gritty Shobha Choksey, who broke the glass ceiling and started by selling handcrafted jewellery from her home, Shobha Shringar has come a long way and today is a brand to reckon with. Her son Snehal Choksey, Director, and daughter-in-law Nisha, Creative Head, help her in running the showroom and the two franchisee stores in Surat and Hyderabad, that attract not just repeat customers but engage the new-age customer with equal ease.

Snehal Choksey sheds light on the strategies that enabled their growth in a highly competitive environment, amidst a proliferation of multi-chain stores across the country. Choksey’s company has managed to adapt and thrive by implementing effective tactics to succeed and sustain in a competitive market.

The world of retail has transitioned to a hybrid mode of doing business. How has Shobha Shringar, an independent jewellery retail house, managed to perform in this new business environment?

We have managed exceptionally well. During the last two years, we got the opportunity to chalk out the roadmap to the future, and all the plans have helped our business tremendously.

After the pandemic, we witnessed revenge buying and it was a bumper year for not just us, but the entire industry.

There were no complaints after the pandemic because we were well-stocked with good merchandise, as we had anticipated a very strong buying season after things got normal.

Snehal Choksey

So, what kind of retail innovations did you introduce in your firm?

We introduced a lot of small-ticket designer merchandise, which was not our forte earlier. We innovated in terms of designing and controlling metal weight and resorted to enamelling and set diamonds with less gold.  The new sub-brand Theia (bright in Greek) starts from Rs.20,000 to a little over a lakh, has given us good returns.

We also moved on to e-tailing for small-ticket items. It may take a little time to mature and yield results.

We also entered markets like Surat and Hyderabad, through franchisee, and both the showrooms are doing extremely well.

Again, it was during the pandemic we researched to figure which markets we could enter.

Do consumer preferences differ in terms of aesthetics in both these cities?  

Hyderabad customers are open to accepting new designs and innovations. They value jewellery that is offbeat and pay for new concepts which they have never seen. We make special inventory for Hyderabad … it is fun to develop lines for evolved consumers.

The Surat market still has traditional preferences, and consumers here love heritage gold. However, it’s a huge market with lot of appetite.

Shobha Shringar is catering to both the markets, and we are doing very well. We have evolved as an independent store.

On model: Designer diamond jewellery. By Shobha Shringar Jewellers

Tell us more about your diversified lines that Shobha Shringar has introduced.

We have created zipper necklaces studded with diamonds and the demand is so high that we are finding it difficult to cope with the orders.

Do you have an in-house design team?

We have four of designers in our core team, headed by my wife Nisha. She’s an instinctive designer and does not go by the rule book. That, I guess, is the reason why we tend to create jewellery that is distinct and one-off.

Also, it’s been my passion for many years to travel across India and source antique jewellery ‘ingredients’ from the southern states, Jaipur, Kolkata with distinct craftsmanship. These pieces are later assembled or added into designs at our atelier.

These days, we are using a lot of Basra pearls sourced from Mumbai and Pune. We also source old jewellery/articles set with Basra pearls and repurpose old jewellery into new.

We also have been using a lot of rose cuts with antique jewellery, rose cuts with diamond Art Deco and consumers are loving the fusion of rose cuts with different gemstones, and this is going to be our mainstay for the coming season.

The gold necklace composed of gem-studded hoops. By Shobha Shringar Jewellers

With gold prices surging to a new high, do you see any impact on your bridal and couture inventory, which is your specialisation?

The rise in gold prices only reinforces people’s belief in the yellow metal, and they buy gold as an investment as well. We had a good bridal season and now are preparing for the May-June wedding phase. Creating new pieces takes time and we are currently concentrating on it.

What are the strategies that independent stores can adopt to thrive in an era where corporate multi-chain stores are dominant?

I strongly believe that in the next three or four years, multi-chain showrooms will proliferate at a still rapid rate because of huge capital backing. To sustain the onslaught of corporate jewellers, independent stores like ours will have to really be on our toes by offering special, one-off pieces, get more into bespoke commissions, upgrade after-sales services, and aim for retailing with a personal touch – all of which we are already doing.

As an independent retail store, do you also customise for the brides to-be?

With the advent of the digital media, young brides monitor different sites for jewellery patterns. They usually come with some ideas for jewellery. Of course, we have one-on-one sessions with them, guiding them about what would suit their personality, and design jewellery accordingly.

Antique-finish gold studs centred on ruby, emerald and polki stars surrounded by paisleys. By Shobha Shringar Jewellers

For the third time, Shobha Shringar has collaborated with Femina Miss India, to design the crown.  Can such partnerships enhance brand image and translate into increased sales? 

Being the official jewellery partner to Femina Miss India 2017, 2021 and 2022 is something we will cherish forever. We have got a huge mileage in terms of brand exposure and are now recognised as the jewellers who designed the coveted crown.

Whenever we host exhibitions in cities other than Mumbai, we make sure to showcase a replica of the crown. This simple act instantly alters the perspective of potential buyers. They are reassured of our brand’s credibility, having designed the crown for Miss Femina. The exposure serves as an excellent opportunity for us to connect with individuals who may not have been familiar with our brand previously.

Are any other collaborations in the offing?

For now, we are concentrating on our two franchisee stores, as well as our flagship store. Honestly, we are overstretched. We believe in working systematically and we have more than enough on our plate. We have always thought of quality over quantity, and don’t want to compromise on design, on quality and finish, and the after-sales service.

How do you manage to retain your regular customers and engage new younger clients?

For the bigger bridal pieces, we, as a brand, stick to our core design DNA. We don’t try to make it contemporary as these are heirloom pieces that tend to be passed down generations.

However, we had made these statement pieces more versatile. These modular or detachable jewels can be worn in different ways for different occasions.

Experiential retail is what draws our customers to our store. On festive occasions, we bring out a genuine offer for clients.  invite them to enjoy activities that go beyond jewellery buying, which could include tarot reading sessions, spa, mehndi designs for customers’ hands and more. We constantly strive to innovate and add more unique experiences for our customers. Our approach is to never become complacent and continuously seek new ways to enhance the overall shopping experience.

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