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Hailing from a family of diamantaires who has traded natural diamonds for over thirty years, Disha Shah, Founder of DiAi Designs, tells The Retail Jeweller about her conviction in lab-grown diamonds, attracting customers to the designs rather than the diamonds per se and taking the service to a whole new level to create long-term associations.

Launched in the pre-COVID era, Shah talks about battling scepticism associated with online jewellery buying, why the brand is gaining customers from India and around the globe, and how introducing personalization in jewellery is becoming one of the critical reasons for brand stickiness

“DiAi is about designs and, more so, about personalized designs on a new level. We run
a hashtag #CustomDiAi”

– Disha Shah, Founder of DiAi Designs

Edited Excerpts:

Megha Iyer (MI): What motivated you to launch DiAi Designs?

Disha Shah (DS): Much to my family’s dismay, DiAi Designs was launched in 2018 when almost no players were in the market, and the category was already prevalent in the USA. I decided to venture into it because I felt it would be the next big thing in India. For me, it was not only about the lab-grown diamonds but also about the jewellery. There weren’t good daily-wear options or minimal jewellery options in the market. Thus, I envisioned affordable, modern jewellery perfectly filling this gap. Additionally, backed by the green diamond narrative, it seemed an attractive alternative for future generations.

MI: You launched when the online market was very nascent. How have the markets developed since then?

DS: It took us two years to get steady business. In the pre-COVID period, many customers questioned the authenticity of online jewellery purchases, expressing concerns about the quality and reliability. Post-COVID, we experienced accelerated growth as more consumers turned to e-commerce, leading to new buying behaviour.


MI: You talk about being inspired by the USA market. How has it influenced your product offering?
DS: Our brand does not promote lab-grown diamonds as its key proposition. Our focus remains on wearability and variation. For example, we introduced pretty designs in earrings that can be worn in 3 ways and are available in 7 shapes. For the brand to succeed, customers must be attracted to the jewellery. Our modern and global design aesthetic appeals to many Indian and NRI clients. We are very cost-effective compared to international pricing, particularly for the latter.

Versatile jewellery by DiAi Designs that can be worn in 3 different ways

MI: The brand focuses on personalization. Can you discuss how you are engaging customers through this service?

DS: Yes, we are hardwired to service customers. Our staff maintains a robust service approach even if customers buy ready-to-ship goods off the website. DiAi is about designs and, more so, about personalized designs on a new level. We run a hashtag# CustomDiAi. We have introduced signet rings, which customers can choose to have engraved with the symbol of a letter of their liking. We do small personalizations, like putting a diamond crown on a gold name pendant. We have done wedding logo pendants and mangalsutra personalized with partners’ initials. We emphasise unique designs and exceptional customer experience irrespective of product value. We also offer a lifetime warranty.

Dainty mangalsutras with partner’s initials by DiAi Designs

MI: What marketing strategies are working the best for your brand? Have you collaborated with celebrities or social media influencers for branding?

DS: Customers often discover our designs through Instagram and Google advertisements. Instagram has become an effective tool for talking to consumers. Our Instagram followers frequently visit our website to explore new designs, contributing to our steady traffic flow and conversions. We often introduce campaigns for special occasions, as we recently did for Women’s Day and Mother’s Day. However, we refrain from celebrity endorsements and instead focus on building relatable connections with our customers. We occasionally collaborate with influencers to stay aligned with social media trends; our emphasis remains on providing value and authenticity to our customers.

MI: How are customer queries and conversions across channels? Which platforms are working the best for the brand?
DS: We have done a few exhibitions, but digital has worked the best for us from a sales and visibility perspective. The understanding is that customers do not want to immediately make an impulsive purchase from an unknown brand at shows. They like to take in the brand at their own pace. They regularly scroll and browse the brand handles. Here, the regularity of your posts and content is essential. The conversion ratio from online queries is 30-40%, which is not very high as one gets a mix of customers online. However, once they purchase, they continue for the long term. We have 20-25 active users on our website every hour and 45% repeat purchases.

MI: Bridal is a big occasion to make a purchase. How are you catering to this clientele?

DS: We recently introduced a bridal styling service, offering a comprehensive shopping experience. When you go to the jeweller, you can choose from 200+ ready designs that are not necessarily curated for you. At DiAi Designs, we create their dream look with varied designs customized for your occasion, attire, and personality. Our bridal styling service includes virtual try-ons and an in-studio experience by appointment.

“We have introduced #appointment exclusives, a weekly segment on our social media handles where we showcase designs not on our website”

MI: Have you considered launching a store, as omnichannel is the new format most brands adopt?

DS: We remain committed to our digital-only business model and have no plans to establish physical stores. Though physical experience completes the customer’s journey. To that end, we have promoted the idea of in-store appointments. We have introduced #appointment exclusives, a weekly segment on our social media handles where we showcase designs not on our website. These pieces can be viewed only in our studio or virtually. We have min 2-3 such appointments daily.

Virtual appointments by the brand

By Megha Iyer

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