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RJ Market Watch

Where Women Break The Glass Ceiling With (Gem)Stones!

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Being a woman trying to break the glass ceiling in a male-dominated industry has never been a cakewalk. However, hackneyed it may sound, but there are several struggles that women face in their professional and personal spheres, to achieve success at both the fronts. While the Indian jewellery market runs on the women population, the retail industry however, continues to be a male-dominated domain. On the occasion of Women’s Day, Retail Jeweller India spoke to some stakeholders to get their viewpoints of their stints in the industry and how they swam through them all, while maintaining a credible work-life balance. Each of them; Krishaa Ghana Singh, Director, Ghana Jewellers, Prerna Khurana, Owner Khurana Jewellers, Vaijanthi Kaigaonkar, Director of Chintamanis, and Ritu Seth, Owner & Designer, Belisma had unique perspectives to share.

On Professional Hurdles…

Eight years ago, when Krishaa Ghana Singh, Director, Ghana Singh Be True stepped into the industry, it had more male-heads to battle in comparison to today. Coming from a corporate banking background and a decade of know-how in investment banking, her working style was entirely different from the usual retail sector that was honestly ill-famed for being unorganised. Krishaa shared, “When I entered the business, I made changes and I started our brand-Ghana Singh Be True. People really couldn’t understand the way I was working. To bring out the changes in this industry, was very challenging.”

Prerna Khurana, Owner Khurana Jewellers, too faced similar hurdles in spite of having her family’s full support. Her biggest professional challenge was not just helming reluctant employees, but also customers who did not take her seriously. As a leader, she noticed how employees were open to take constructive criticism from a man but not really from a woman.

That said, Krishaa’s luck proved to veer on her side, as she had the advantage of the rich legacy of Ghana Jewellers with her. Thus, it was not so difficult to attract clients, when she established Ghana Singh Be True. For Ritu Seth though, the roadblocks were of a different kind, especially because he did not have jewellery family lineage to back her up. She had to build her brand from the scratch. On the other hand, there was a sigh of relief for Vaijanthi Kaigaonkar, as she never felt differentiated in a man’s world. Maybe a starting point in the right direction, we presume.

On the Art of Balancing Work & Personal Life…

Balancing work and personal commitments have always been a juggle for most working women, especially for women who were also mothers. When Vaijanthi started 15 years back, the pressure to be the ideal woman on the personal side was far greater then, though these paradigms are shifting now. She voiced that such expectations of the society or the family is gradually shrinking, allowing women to devote more time on work.

Seth has a valid point to make here. Depending on the situation, a woman should have the freedom to pick her priority, so that she can balance both. However, each individual is different. For Krishaa, work is her priority because the competition is really high and one always has to be on her toes to keep innovating and churning something new.

Advice To Budding Women Entering The Industry…

Earlier this industry dwelled on nepotism, and outsiders faced barriers when they tried to enter it, irrespective of their gender. But with the introduction of specific courses and with many companies getting corporatized, the tables have turned for the better. In order to shine, and make a name in this industry, it is therefore, important to be in cahoots with changes over time and never be afraid of trying new things. Putting adequate amount of hard work in research and learning about technology, helps to broaden one’s horizon.

These women have made a mark in this sector with their dedicated approach and zest to taste success. Retail Jeweller India salutes this spirit and gusto to make a mark and wishes all its readers a very Happy Women’s Day!

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