Creative Confluence

Bunty and Samarth Bajaj

Emerging out of a sheer passion for jewellery design, Krsala recently celebrated its 10th anniversary in Hyderabad. To commemorate the occasion, the brand launched a new collection inspired by ace badminton player P.V. Sindhu’s recent achievements. We caught up with the brains behind Krsala, Bunty Bajaj, and her son Samarth, who heads the company’s management and production,
to learn about their experience so far.

What have the 10 years of Krsala been like?
Bunty: It has been a wonderful and a happy journey. I’ve learnt and grown a lot over the years. I’m extremely humbled at the response and acceptance I’ve got from people. So many people have appreciated our designs and our concepts. Everybody, right from family and friends to the customers and media, have all supported us tremendously. The journey has been with everybody, not mine alone. Krsala has grown with each passing year.

What were the challenges you faced at the beginning?
Bunty: I didn’t know what price range and designs appealed to people. Every state and city has its own sensibilities, so to create pieces that were universally appealing was a challenge. But I stuck to my marketing strategy of being unique and different, and that helped. We also had to perfect the craftsmanship, which we did with ease.

Samarth: Gaining people’s trust was a challenge in the beginning, but we did that by making sure everything was certified, orders were delivered on time, and customers got value for their money. We ended up projecting ourselves as a highly reliable brand. Gaining the customer’s trust is a big concern in the jewellery market for any new jeweller. Luckily, now people can blindly trust Krsala’s product. Thankfully mum always had a knack for creativity, so it was comparatively easy for us.

Was jewellery design always on the cards?
Bunty: Yes. I’m from an event management background, but I designed jewellery for many years prior to that. My parents loved antique jewellery so I got the taste from my mother. Prior to getting into the jewellery business, I used to take old jewellery, reassemble it and sell it to friends and family, clients from Mumbai and Hyderabad, and a lot of people from Bollywood. I even used to have one exhibition a year until my events became very big and I couldn’t handle it all. However, I always had a good design sensibility. One day during an event, somebody who saw my design sensibility approached me to open a store with them, and that’s how the journey actually began.  

Earlier it was a one-woman show. It must be great to have Samarth join you in Krsala.
Bunty: Yes, Samarth coming on board has been a great relief for me. He has taken over a lot of my production hassles. He’s also launched a website for jewellery called jewellerybazaar.com, and a couple of other things which he’s heading completely. I’m sure in another two years I can relax and go on holidays to the mountains while he takes over completely!

Did you ever think you’d join the company?
Samarth: I was always interested in the brand because it’s a great brand. I majored in marketing so I’ve taken over the marketing and production side of things. Mum has already done such a great job with the brand, so now we’re trying to make it bigger and better and get a national presence.

What would you say is your speciality?
Bunty: Everything! I design any form of jewellery that pleases my eye. I never sell anything the way it comes; I always break it, redo it and then sell it.
Samarth: Our USP is to make unique jewellery, whether it’s Polki, gold, or diamond jewellery. It’s never a run-of-the-mill kind. At Krsala, you won’t see the typical gold or diamond jewellery that you’ll see in other stores.

Do you see a change in the market from when you began?
Bunty: Yes, people have become more adventurous with their designs and they’re actually willing to try new, out-of-the-box designs. Of course, on the day of the wedding they want to be a typical traditional bride, but they like to experiment with their jewellery for other occasions. Also, the customer has more knowledge now. Unlike earlier when they would just go to their family jewellery, the customer actually asks us questions about the jewellery they’re buying.

Samarth: Of course customers have become more knowledgeable about jewellery nowadays. And that’s a good thing because now they actually know what they’re buying, and they prefer to buy jewellery from people or brands they trust.

Is it challenging to come out with new designs all the time?
Bunty: It’s a blessing for me! I’m happy that I can actually use my creativity. If I was stagnant I would be bored and would’ve hated my work. Being a Gemini, I like changes in life. I have to do something that keeps me on my toes all the time, and that’s exactly what keeps me going. Luckily, Samarth has the same traits as I do, so I’m sure he will also go the same way.

What are the current trends in jewellery?
Bunty: Nowadays accessories have become a big hit. Something new comes up every season, and this season the haathphool is doing the rounds. I personally love to experiment and create new accessories; it’s fun.

Samarth: We’re also working on nail rings for our online website. The trend is followed extensively abroad, but not too many people in India know about it.

Tell us more about the website.
Samarth: It’s an online portal for jewellery that deals with smaller pieces. The average ticket price on jewellerybazaar.com is Rs 15,000. We’re trying to be innovative with our designs and give customers services that they can’t get on other portals. We have celebrities like Kunal Rawal design exclusive collections for us. Of course, all designs are approved by mum. The website is however completely independent and has no connect with Krsala.

Men’s jewellery has become a trend now. What’s your take on it?
Bunty: I actually designed jewellery for Samarth’s wedding: brooch, kalagi, sherwani buttons, and rings. I would love to come up with a line for men; in fact, I am working on it and it should be ready hopefully by next year.

Do you plan to open stores elsewhere too?
Bunty: We were planning to open a store in Mumbai, but since we have a lot on our plate right now we’ll probably go ahead with that in a year or so. We have great clientele from Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata, but since we make unique jewellery I don’t want to have too many stores and become mass. Krsala is a boutique store, not a chain.

Samarth: Expansion is definitely on the cards. We’re planning to do a lot more exhibitions across the country, too. Having said that, we don’t want to compromise on the quality or style of our product, so there will only be limited stores.

Tell us about the special range you launched as part of your 10th anniversary celebrations.
Samarth: We’ve come out with a new range called Éclat collection. It’s a French word meaning brilliant display. The collection was inspired by P.V. Sindhu’s recent achievements. That’s why we felicitated her during the 10th anniversary event, too. The collection is made of diamonds, uncut diamonds, sapphires and tanzanites, all set in gold. We did a study on Greek mythology and colours, and based on that we’ve carefully selected the stones for the collection. White denotes a successful beginning, which is what Sindhu’s win at the Olympics has got her. Blue denotes honour, which she has brought to the city and country. So using that as the inspiration, we came up with the combination of blue and white, and set it in Jadau and gold.

Tell us something that most people don’t know about Krsala.
Samarth: Whether it’s larger or smaller jewellery, we have it all. Also, we’re completely on par with the market. There is a misconception that Krsala is more expensive than other jewellery stores owing to its unique store setting, but that’s not true. It’s the exclusivity that gets misconstrued as expensive.

Where do you find inspiration?
Bunty: It could be anything – a motif, a scene during my travels. You just have to give me stones and pieces and I will start assembling them. I often tell my staff in the office to give me some stones and that’s how I come up with a lot of my designs. It’s a god’s gift. I’m a commercial artist, trained in art from JNTU. Even when I was into events I was always complemented for my creativity.
Samarth: Anyone who knows my mother can tell how creative she is. It’s in almost every aspect of her life – whether jewellery, events, art or anything else.    -- as told to Niharika