An engineer-turned-jeweller, Sunaina Ramisetty, founder Tarinika and Paksha, is successfully catering to the Indian and South Asian diaspora in many countries, including the US, Canada, Australia, Europe, and the UK.
Sunaina Ramisetty, owner of Tarnika and the recently launched Paksha brand, hails from a family of jewellers settled in Hyderabad, India. Her design-centric yet affordable silver lines celebrate Indianness and lend a modern spin that appeals to consumers around the globe. In an interview with Solitaire International, Sunaina speaks about her expansion plans in India.
You are an engineer by profession. What drew you to the world of jewellery design?
The transition from engineer to the jewellery industry is not as difficult as one might think … the design process in both the streams is quite similar.
When I was pursuing my Master’s degree in engineering in America, I got involved in my family’s jewellery business and began exhibiting at local jewellery and crafts shows. To my surprise, my small-scale, part-time initiative turned out to be a huge success and I realised there was so much white space for Indian jewellery in the US.
Tell us about your brand Tarinika and when it was launched? Is Paksha your sub-brand?
Tarinika was launched in 2014 in business-to-business space, and the online store was launched in 2017.
The journey of Paksha started with an aim to introduce high quality 925 silver jewellery into the market as a competition for luxury products. We have a big percentage of affluent customers in the USA, and they prefer silver jewellery over fashion jewellery.
Demand drove us to enter the silver jewellery space under the name of Paksha. We launched it in October 2021 and are excited to partner with actor Shruti Haasan as our brand ambassador. We had a great start … With just couple of months in the USA market, the response has been overwhelming.
How different are the two in terms of catering to your customers?
It all comes down to the customer needs and materials. Both types of jewellery are preferred for different reasons, including budget and aesthetic.
Tarinika makes high-quality gold-plated jewellery with base metal, and the lines are more affordable and accessible. It’s ideal for modern women who want trendy pieces.
On the other hand, Paksha is a semi-fine 925 silver jewellery brand that bridges the gap between fashion and fine jewellery. With increasing gold prices, demand for silver jewellery is only rising. It is for someone who wants to invest in jewellery that lasts longer than costume jewellery and yet is affordable in comparison to fine jewellery. It is also great for anyone who has allergies to brass or nickel.
What steps did you take to turn around your family jewellery business by taking it globally?
Jewellery has been a part of my life for as long as I could remember. From my father, I learnt to be ambitious and hardworking. With three generations of our family already into the business, it’s only natural for me to follow suit.
When I first started off in the USA, it was meant to be part time but to my surprise the response was amazing, and it opened doors to a lot of opportunities. It was then I decided to expand the family business in the States. My focus has always been to deliver high quality product with a premium shopping experience where a customer feels they’ve made the best purchase ever. This mantra has helped Tarinika to grow globally with a customer retention rate of over 50%.
Which are your major export markets?
We export to the USA, Canada, the UK, Europe, and Australia. We have our workshop in Kolkata that also acts as the backend warehouse for logistics and operations. Our location in Houston, Texas, primarily serves our customers in the US and Canada, handles order fulfilments, returns and customer service operations. We are also exploring setting up back offices in Europe and Australia to better serve our customers there. We cater to Indian and Asian women across the world.
What inspires your collections?
Most of our jewellery is inspired by India’s rich culture and heritage. Our jewellery ranges are also inspired by nature and vintage motifs.
Tell us about your latest collection Loka.
The Loka collection bears a subtle modern tribal charm to it. The pieces are crafted with oxidised 925 silver … Something about raw silver has a global relevance across many cultures. The collection is crafted with tribal motifs and nature-inspired design elements.
What’s your design philosophy?
Our design philosophy is to make designs that can be worn by every generation in the form of pure elegance. We work very closely with designers and artisans that are experienced in working only with high-quality materials, and most of our products are made to order.
Do you also cater to Hollywood celebrities/ influencers, and what do they love most about Indian jewellery and design?
After the launch of my jewellery brand Paksha, I have learnt that celebrities and influencers add credibility and value to a brand especially in the luxury sector. Recently, we got a great opportunity to style some powerful women at Mindy Kaling’s Diwali party. It was quite exciting to see them wear Paksha. They loved our rings and earrings. We have lots of interesting collaborations lined up in the near future.
How has the pandemic affected the jewellery business?
When the pandemic hit in 2020, it not only affected people across the world but made a big impact on fashion businesses and commercial interests all over. Once the lockdowns were lifted and markets opened up in the second half of the year, we saw a historical shift in our e-commerce sales. While our offline retail sales have declined, the online store has seen over 200% growth. So, we have shifted our focus from offline to online in order to survive the ongoing pandemic.