Neha Lulla Kripalani dabbled in all spheres of jewellery designing, manufacturing and retail before setting up her own brand in 2009. The young designer has found a niche for herself in the contemporary Indian jewellery segment.
The Mumbai-based designer talks about harnessing her strong designing capabilities by recently launching a jewellery conceptualisation vertical. She believes affordable, wearable and meaningful jewellery that is value for money will continue to dictate trends. Also, anything to do with solitaires is doing well … consumers consider it as a great investment!
How did you get into the field of jewellery?
As a child, I would always notice and observe my mother’s jewellery – the materials used, different forms and colours. I knew that I wanted to get into jewellery design. So, I signed up for a formal education in jewellery design and manufacturing post college. I worked in exports, as a trainee designer, in manufacturing, behind the counter in sales and managed an entire store before I started my own brand in November 2009.
Could you share some highlights in your brand’s journey?
I got my first award from the Gem and Jewellery Trade Council of India in 2014 as the Jewellery Designer Of The Year. Subsequently, I received many awards over the years and have also been a jury member for a jewellery awards platform.
I think my major breakthrough was in 2016 when we opened our exclusive franchise store in Hyderabad, which is doing fantastically well.
Getting A-listers of Bollywood, right from Priyanka Chopra to Madhuri Dixit, to wear our jewellery has also given our brand credibility in the industry.
What inspires your designs?
I am a globetrotter and love observing different cultures, lifestyles, and cuisine – it really intrigues me and influences my designs.
My jewellery is a combination of flamboyance and simplicity. The silhouette is simple but powerful so that it enhances the personality of the wearer. My pieces are versatile and fuss-free.
Could you tell us about your latest jewellery collection?
I love working with different gold textures and tones. In my latest Alana collection, I have included charm bracelets which are not only detachable but can also be worn as a necklace. Some of the textured pieces are studded with white and champagne diamonds, and others are highlighted with enamel.
Keeping the ongoing pandemic in mind, the Athena collection, named after the Goddess of the Sea represents strength, power and nobility. We have used blue topaz that evokes a sense of calm as the recurring theme in the collection.
We are also working on another collection with different shades of opal. Most of are pieces are currently priced below Rs. 1.5 lakh.
How have you pivoted your business during the pandemic?
The pandemic has impacted us but because of the eco-system and the business model we have developed over the years, we could sustain. We have also expanded our business and set up a new vertical called jewellery conceptualisation for B2B clients.
We are offering to create design concepts with a story behind it and providing manual or CAD designs depending on the client’s preference. We also offer guidance on colour combination and gemstones, use of enamel colours, assistance in manufacturing as well placement of stones, setting, etc. It is doing well and we have plans to expand this vertical further. We are targeting jewellery chains across the country and even international jewellers.