Juwelina Paris bets big on sustainable jewellery for growth, aims to refine category with sustainable alternatives
Priya Jajoo launched her sustainable jewellery brand Juwelina Paris in 2019 out of a desire to disrupt and clean up the jewellery industry with an affordable luxury jewellery offering. Jajoo has seen success in just two years with a growth rate of 1,200 percent. Such is the growth that the brand is unperturbed about biggies like Pandora entering the segment and, on the contrary, feels that big players will only help in growth of the sustainable jewellery industry.
Juwelina, which uses lab-created stones to offer its customers a guilt-free jewellery experience, plans to scale up in South East Asia, the UK and the U.S. through strategic retail partnerships and is banking on millennials to drive growth.
Priya Jajoo, founder of Juwelina Paris, talks to FashionNetwork.com about the sustainable jewellery market, expansion and the affects of Covid-19 on the brand.
Fashionnetwork.com: Most diamond and jewellery brands across the globe make a fortune by claiming their stones are ethically sourced. Talk us through the ethical and sustainable benefits of Juwelina Paris, how it is different and how customers respond to the brand.
Priya Jajoo: A real lack of innovation in a very traditional jewellery industry has opened the market up to disruption. Diamond mining often results in changing the course of rivers, which destabilizes entire ecosystems, leads to soil erosion, deforestation, forced migration, and animal species endangerment. In Angola for instance, 90 years of mining has devastated large tracts of land and poisoned local water. There are also societal implications. Africa is known for having the worst working conditions and wages for miners, as low as $1 a day.
Juwelina Paris is redefining the jewellery category with a sustainable alternative that prevents the environmental damages caused because of mining. We use science to disrupt the industry, by using lab-created stones that result in completely removing mining as a component of the supply chain. We alleviate the need to disturb the earth's surface and ensure a guilt-free jewellery experience. Juwelina Paris has taken a step towards creating an ethical option that consumers have been craving for a long time. With a direct-to-customer approach, we are tracking toward a growth rate of 1200 percent. Many designs including Lucia Blossom and Essie earrings sold out in the first week. With an inclusive price range of $200-$1400, our customers appreciate high-quality jewellery that does not impact the environment.
FNW: Also, is creating awareness the key to the success of a brand like Juwelina Paris, as sustainable jewellery is still a new concept?
PJ: Yes, awareness is the key. Consumers today are more conscious and are trying their best to be more sustainable and ethical. Moreover, we've seen the pandemic has further amplified the relevance of sustainability, as we can see a direct correlation between human impact and the environment. Remember dolphins in Venice? The pristine beaches in Mumbai? So, we use technology to create innovative content, that drives awareness of the detrimental impact of diamond mining and educates customers about their sustainable options. This has helped grow our community organically.
FNW: What is the biggest misconception around sustainable jewellery that you find amongst customers, and how do you debunk the myths?
PJ: The most common misconception we have found is that customers believe they must spend lots of money to be sustainable. That just isn't true. It is possible to purchase high-quality jewellery that is eco-friendly and affordable. The millennial consumers who form the bulk of our customers have a different set of values when buying jewellery. They are conscious consumers who place a high value on the quality and integrity of their pieces. Through authentic content, brand transparency, and working with global sustainable fashion advocates like Dana Thomas and Jodi Muter Hamilton, we're able to educate customers on how sustainable fashion is very much affordable. Moreover, by selling directly to customers online, Juwelina Pars is always able to offer high-quality jewellery, at inclusive prices.
FNW: Juwelina Paris sells globally through online/offline retailers. Which markets do you feel understand the concept of sustainability and contribute the most to your sales?
PJ: Today South East Asia and the UK are driving a big chunk of our sales. We found that women in both these markets are extremely concerned about the environmental impact of their purchases. With nearly 70 percent of millennials today looking for alternatives to traditional jewellery, they are setting the trend for conscious buying. Growing our existing customer base here and building out our team, will be a logical next step for Juwelina Paris.
FNW: What is the expansion plan for the brand in India and abroad?
PJ: Some of the early adopters of the brand in India, include Bollywood's Manushi Chillar and Bhumi Pednekar. India is a rapidly growing market for us, with independent women looking to curate their own sustainable jewellery collections. Apart from a direct-to-consumer route, we also partnered with the country's largest luxury retailers including Aditya Birla Fashion & Retail and Tata UniStores Ltd. Over the next year, we have plans to expand the current product offering and scale our brand distribution across South East Asia, the UK and the U.S. through strategic retail partnerships
FNW: What has been the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Juwelina Paris and what do you foresee for the brand and industry soon?
PJ: Covid-19 has accelerated the transition to sustainable brands. When the pandemic hit, we experienced an even stronger interest in our business. Moreover, with stores closing, we had a surge in our online traction and user engagement. We invested in using technology to translate the traditional store experience into the digital space.
Fashion for good continues to drive our growth, and the pandemic has pushed us to move quickly and think bigger. For our customers, the bottom line is bringing meaning to everything they purchase. By leveraging their feedback we've also been able to translate their expectations of eco-friendly packaging into a reality. We anticipate a further shift to greener and more sustainable supply chains across the industry. The team is currently looking at using recycled metals in production and partnering with DHL's Green Service soon, to promote ethical uses of renewable energy sources.
FNW: Pandora recently announced that it will only sell lab-grown diamonds in future and other companies in the jewellery space could follow suit. What is your take on the same, do you see it as competition or think with big players coming in, it will help the industry as a whole?
PJ: I think it’s very positive to see the bigger brands take a step in the right direction and start becoming more sustainable. It’s further reinforcement of the fact that conscious consumers are driving the increasing demand for sustainable alternatives. This expansion of the sustainable jewellery space will help create more awareness about eco-friendly jewellery as well as inspire more businesses to incorporate sustainable practices.
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