Maithree Venkatesan 1 August, 2022
Plume Jewelry was founded by Rupali Gupta and Rakshit Jargad, with the vision of redefining trends in fine silver jewelry, through creative reinterpretation of heritage crafts and design. They create ethno-contemporary designs executed with heritage craftsmanship.
Plume has a ready line of products that can be curated and made as per the quantities needed in the material of the customer’s choice. Furthermore, they can convert the customer’s designs into CAD models, and into final pieces with their in-house design expertise.
Follow our conversation with Rupali to find out how Plume is working with contemporary Indian crafts in the Jewelry space.
I did my undergraduate studies in accessory design at NIFT in 1997 and specialized in jewelry. I then worked as a jewelry design consultant for 15 years, primarily in the diamond space and various crafts fields. I soon realized that there is scope for us to develop Indian crafts and skills rather than just do very hardcore manufacturing. Furthermore, since seepage had begun towards factories in overseas manufacturing hubs due to the cost of labor, I began to wonder what would happen to our Kaarigars and their heritage skillsets. I then decided to start Plume Jewelry with my business partner Rakshit. We focus on developing Indian crafts in a contemporary way in order to sync with today’s requirements.
We aim to bring traditions to the modern-day client by shifting the design sensibility. For instance, historically enamel is a traditional art in India and is done with Kundan and gold. We revamp it by changing the styling and material used. Thus, Plume brings a high-end, quality product to the market that takes forward Indian skillsets on a global platform.
At Plume, we go through a process of well-thought design intervention instead of sourcing from different places. My design background comes into place to help identify a niche in the market, understand the needs of our clients, and discern what is trending in the fashion space. We then assemble the jewelry with the help of our in-house kaarigars.
Plume Jewelry began by working in the enamel and stone cutting space. Rakshit’s family has been working with stone cutting in Jaipur for 70-80 years. Thus, he has a deep knowledge of the industry and access to expertise. Enamel jewelry is trending globally, and we are making it contemporary with the colors and forms we use.
We are currently working on developing a Bidri collection, which is made with a limited unique black metal alloy and an intricate silver wire inlay. I was introduced to this niche skill when I attended Abhushan, a GJEPC workshop. We feel like Bidri is a craft that has the potential to be premium and appealing on a global scale. We are also looking toward picking up Filigree, which consists of fine silver wires folded and woven into intricate patterns.
We also integrate our process with technology to provide top-quality finessing of the product. In order to make the product last longer, the coating is micron plated and tarnish-proof. Together, Rakshit and I understand the craft, the skills required, and the cluster of artisans. So it’s easy to take it forward and build collections.
Plume stands apart by meeting the requirement of developing something new from the old while retaining the sensibility of our roots. For example, one can only wear a traditional filigree or meenakari piece with an ethnic attire on celebratory occasions such as a Sangeet or Wedding. We are trying to revamp the piece to make it relevant on a day-to-day basis by introducing fresher products such as ear studs or a charm bracelet. Our style sensibility and design intervention help us be the differentiator in the market. We hope to keep upgrading ourselves constantly.
Our collections target the 25+ age group, as it is a more mature product. We are not looking at this as costume jewelry but rather as a replacement for precious pieces. We primarily work with real semi-precious stones and silver, making it more expensive than your average daily wear item. The starting range is from 4000INR.
Since people constantly want to upgrade their wardrobe to maintain versatility in their look, there is a gap in the market for a contemporary luxury jewelry brand. Plume is an affordable luxury brand, and provides an alternative to gold and diamond jewellery.
Our objective is to bring in as much exposure and demand as possible for our dying crafts and broaden our reach through any channel, B2B or B2C. We launched Plume Jewelry during the pandemic and are trying to get into the India Luxe category. We have just launched with Perniaspopup and are in talks with Jaypore and other premium online portals. Our website is also currently in the making.
We understand the importance of influencer marketing. We are currently doing strategic tie-ups and styling shoots with multiple bloggers. We are also establishing our PR presence by gifting celebrity speakers. We hope to start doing shows in September, such as the Flo Ficci show that will take place all across the country.
We have a large vision for Plume and see it as a potential leader in Indian craft jewelry. We want to work with upcoming designers who do good work in this space once we stabilize and have our own portal.
We are not looking at opening a physical storefront as we believe it will tie us down. We want to maximize our centralized inventory, which will be in Jaipur, and then work to create a presence for the following year. We will continue to do pop-up stores and travel shows in areas where we find a match in client sensibility. We are tying up with other multi-design stores with an existing client basis and list on their website.
We have set up our R and D unit to stay in touch with market trends and design our pieces. I see Plume as a vibrant platform for designers to come together, create exciting jewelry pieces, and put their work across.
NICEorg wishes Plume Jewelry the best of luck in its journey ahead!