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Women Achievers

For Vijaya Kapoor, Kays Jewels is a manifestation of her creativity

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Vijaya Kapoor, Managing Director of the Kanpur-based Kays Jewels, says her sense of aesthetics and deep understanding of the customer, along with her focus on the quality of the product, have been the key differentiators for the brand

In 1979, an enterprise that began as an exporter of jewellery to the Gulf and other countries including the UK and USA, felt compelled to set up its own manufacturing operations at Noida out of a need to control quality. A conducive business environment in India encouraged them to set up a retail outlet in Kanpur. That was 2003. From then to now, Kays Jewels, helmed by its Managing Director Vijaya Kapoor, has scripted a success story. Her daughter, Saumya Kapoor, has joined the business, and the mother-daughter duo are torch-bearers for woman power in the company.

The Retail Jeweller (TRJ): When you started Kays Jewels, how did you differentiate yourself from other jewellery retailers?

Vijaya Kapoor (VK): When we started Kays, we maintained the 916-hallmark standard for all our products, at a time when there was no concept of hallmarked jewellery. Initially, customers were reluctant to pay for purity, but they later recognized the value of our jewellery. With this success, I also wanted to set a benchmark for my three daughters, showing them that we are capable of achieving anything we want. I am proud that one of my daughters is now working in the jewellery business, and the other two are successful in their own fields.

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TRJ: What are the strategies or influences that have contributed to the growth of Kays Jewels?

VK: When we started out, educating people about buying hallmarked jewellery and introducing social media were significant steps. I brought in a distinctive creative flair and sense of aesthetics, along with insights on what women actually want, to make sure that buying of jewellery became an experience for the customer, instead of just a product purchase. It made a big difference.

“Women are blessed with innate strength, empathy and a sense of calm – this transcends into my work and is my major contribution to the company”

VIJAYA KAPOOR, Managing Director, kays jewels

Women are blessed with innate strength, empathy and a sense of calm – this transcends into my work and is my major contribution to the company. Overall, we believe in a multi-pronged approach focusing on quality of our product, uniqueness of our designs, our wide approach to marketing, regular and timely staff training and our commitment to give customers the best. We regularly collect customers’ feedback and routinely implement their suggestions.

TRJ: How has Kays Jewels expanded its offerings over the years?

VK: Initially, we focused on antique gold, gold and kundan jewellery. Over time, we have moved to polki jewellery and diamonds, ensuring that all our pieces are IGI certified. We opened our factory outlet in Noida in 2007, and our flagship store in the Emerald locality of Kanpur two years ago. This expansion allowed us to cater to a wider range of customers, as Emerald is Kanpur’s high-end locality. At our new flagship store, we focus on high-end jewellery, with 60% diamonds and polki stock, while our older store in the Birhana Road jewellery hub maintains a 50-50 balance to cater to a diverse range of customers.

TRJ: How do you market Kays Jewels?

VK: We use a combination of traditional and modern marketing methods ranging from billboards to social media reels. A lot of social media queries translate into business. We stand up to the competition in the market on the strength of our product. As an aside, I wear a lot of Kays jewellery that evokes curiosity among prospective customers! In a small city like Kanpur, personal rapport with customers is very important.

TRJ: Do women face specific challenges in the jewellery industry? Do they have enough mentorship and support networks?

VK: Support and mentorship are crucial, regardless of gender. Personally, my mother has been my biggest support. It is essential for jewellers, especially women in the business, to stay informed about what is selling and keep in touch with other industry professionals.

“I made sure that buying of jewellery became an experience for the customer, instead of just a product purchase. It made a big difference”

VIJAYA KAPOOR, Managing Director, kays jewels

TRJ: How have you promoted inclusivity within your company?

VK: We have a majority of women in the team. Women’s opinions matter in our Sales department, as we believe in putting them at the forefront. About 80% of our sales staff comprises women. Women who buy jewellery tend to trust a female salesperson more than a male; they take opinions from them, and get a certain sense of comfort as well.

At Kays Jewels, a majority of team members comprise women

TRJ: What is your vision for the brand?

VK: With commitment to top-notch customer service, and our focus on quality combined with the anticipated growth of the Indian economy, we are looking at an estimated 15-20% growth in the next five years. We plan to expand our retail presence in Kanpur and nearby cities, perhaps add franchisee stores too. We will focus on increasing our in-house manufacturing capacity and expand our exports.

Written by Maithili Patange
The Retail Jeweller India Magazine

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