Alyssa's Fine Jewelry | Take Risks Fearlessly
Meet Vedika, a Mumbaite and serial entrepreneur. Vedika is the founder of two companies, Alyssa’s Fine Jewelry and The Pancakery. She graduated from Regents University in London, with a degree in Financial Management yet always knew the 9-5 was not something she was cut out to do. It’s not every day you meet a founder who is a jewelry designer and an owner of a pancake shop.
How did you start Alyssa’s Fine Jewelry?
My family business is in investment banking & jewelry manufacturing, and I knew that I was going to join one of them back home and become an entrepreneur. Apart from attending classes & participating in various finance societies, I was trying my hand at creativity and created a few minimalistic jewelry designs. I managed to produce a few samples through my production facility in India. I showed a family friend samples, and she happened to love the concept and placed an order.
What was your first step?
I came back to Bombay, executed my first order successfully & inclined myself towards this industry. After a lot of brainstorming and conceptualization, I decided to go forward in this field. Two months down the line, I had graduated with a diamond grading degree by GIA & started my brain-child “Alyssa Fine Jewellery” - a brand which bridges the gap between artificial and luxury jewelry. It focuses on everyday wear products such as evil eyes, monogrammed bracelets & other contemporary jewelry - with the added touch of being able to personalize any piece.
How did you finance your idea?
Financing a jewelry company requires a lot of capital, and I didn’t want to start off with huge debt, so I started small. The business started off as a ‘made to order’ model where the initial funding was minimal and then slowly created stock. Now two years later we successfully participate in exhibitions all over India. It is currently a self-owned brand, but a percentage of the profits are donated to an NGO - Helping Hands.
Why Helping Hands? What made you pick this NGO?
The first exhibition I ever participated in was a fundraiser organized by the Helping Hands Foundation, and the response was overwhelming. This NGO has after that, carved a niche for itself in my life and Alyssa is seen at their event twice a year where I genuinely look forward to my customer experiences and opportunities. We donate a portion of the annual sales proceeds to Helping Hands Foundation as a symbol of support and appreciation towards this noble cause.
From jewelry to pancakes, what ignited the switch in the industry?
I have always been a food fanatic and was confident that I wanted to pursue an element of this riveting industry at some point. During a recent trip to London, I saw a horde of people enjoying fresh mini pancakes with customized toppings, and I recognized a gap in the market for this enterprise in India. I started small and The Pancakery is now well established in Mumbai and expansion to other cities is on the cards.
In both businesses, how do you market yourselves? How do you attract new customers?
For Alyssa, we concentrate on social media marketing as our primary medium along with country-wide exhibitions and pop-ups. The key element with a concept like Alyssa is the creation and maintenance of trust and loyalty in the mind of our customers.
For Pancakery, being different from our competitors, acing the visibility factor by being at flea markets and other buzzing locations and by continually innovating our products by incorporating seasonal / trending preferences is how we stay ahead in the game.
Our work ethos has always focused on flexibility, price sensitivity, and easy purchase and returns methods for all. Being available to our customer and the age-old mantra of ‘Customer is King’ dominates our workplace culture.
Do you have a team or anyone helping you run these businesses?
For Alyssa, I have been lucky to have an existing setup of craftsmen from my family business who work round the clock to marry my vision with the actual product at hand. Additionally, I have an accountant (to manage the big bucks!) and have found a fantastic freelance social media manager who has been with me since the inception of the brand. My mom overlooks all my decisions and is my pillar of stability at all times.
For Pancakery, I have the endless support of my brother who is also a food enthusiast, and we together have trained two other people to assist us during our pop-ups and at other events.
If there was one piece of advice that you could give to another woman going out on her own, what would you say?
Even though I take immense pride in what I have built for myself, I must acknowledge the support system around me that allows me to execute my imagination. My advice to all women achievers would be to take risks fearlessly. Ask for help and guidance. And recognize that real leadership requires seamless delegation.