In conversation with Biren Vaidya, Managing Director of the Rose Group, who through his perseverance and application has transformed the face of niche jewellery craft in India.
Humble beginnings back in 1981 to a lavish legacy today; a small one-room office back in the day to magnificently sprawling salons in Mumbai and New Delhi today, apart from numerous private presentations for uber élite clientele across the world – the House of Rose has traversed the road to courting stellar success with much aplomb and poise.
Established by Purnima Sheth as a place that specialized in niche work for jewellers and retail stores and crafted personalized pieces for family and friends, the House of Rose was in for a major makeover when her younger brother Biren Vaidya joined the business in the capacity of a young apprentice in the year 1984.
Once Bee Vee [as he is fondly called] took over the reins of the company in 1986, things were never the same. Here’s Mr. Biren Vaidya himself, taking a fond look at his journey:
- Let us delve into the past and explore the very beginning of your fascinating journey. Please tell us about your initiation into this business.
Rose was started by my sister in 1981, and while she travelled I was always an intern filling in to help her with the business. That was where my first interaction with jewellery began. Purely being a young novice, my fascination with gems and reading more about the masters of jewellery brought in a lot of excitement and inspired me to dream of procuring important gems and making important pieces of jewellery for the superior sex.
I started off after graduating in Ayurvedic medicine and Commerce, since there was no jewellery school in India those days teaching jewellery manufacturing or design. I decided to take the first jump by going into the sweat shops in Zaveri Bazaar to learn the art of jewellery making. Back in the 80s, jewellery was a cottage industry where artisans were not educated and used 200-year-old tools.
Coming from an exposed background and lifestyle of South Mumbai, I was able to use my education in Science in understanding metals better. Having been exposed to the company of great craftsmen and artisans, I spent 2 years in mastering the technique of jewellery manufacturing. I was extremely blessed to have learnt from some of the best artisans of the time and therefore learnt the form and also the art of jewellery manufacturing.
I had the honour of learning from a client of ours who came in from Switzerland, Paul Binder, who also mentored me in techniques of modern and international design and manufacturing. Being a reputed designer, he taught me how to design and took my skills beyond just jewellery and trained me how to draw in 3D and free-hand. These techniques have paid off all through my career, as I could draw proportions and gems without the use of stencil and was able to create a design or sketch that would give a real life view in three dimensions. This made it easy for customers to understand the outcome to expect from the designs curated for them.
During my time in Zaveri Bazaar, I learnt the discipline of being able to sit and work for 12 hours at a stretch, something that was extremely difficult and the artisan had to have his mind and passion fully dedicated in it. I also learnt the art form that existed in the making of jewellery design. One important thing I learnt in these years of designing was that you have the attention of your customer for the first two to five minutes. If in that time frame you’ve not grasped her attention, you’ve lost a client.
- Please tell us about House of Rose’s latest summer collection.
Every year, I come up with new signature collections. The last two years, we’ve been focusing on this collection called the ‘Colours of Life’. This range uses gems of two or more colours, besides diamonds, that would complement the beauty of both the gems as well as the jewellery design.
We have used some very unique combinations such as using light coloured Siberian Emeralds with Zambian Emeralds, Tanzanites and Pink Rubies, Pink Tourmalines and Emeralds, and a lovely combination of Tanzanites and Emeralds which was extremely well received all throughout the country. These collections have been appreciated by our patrons significantly. With the same passion, we have worked on many collections in the past.
- In an unprecedented move, the House of Rose has recently introduced Kiara Advani as its new face. What prompted you to make this move? Also, what in your opinion makes Kiara the perfect ambassador for a state-of-the-art brand like Rose?
I have seen Kiara grow up in front of my eyes. She embodies the idea of family values and is a connoisseur of the finer things in life, both of which are intrinsic to Rose. Kiara is the perfect representation of Gen Y, and is a perfect fit as the new face of Rose. Rose today recognizes and addresses that its designs and its DNA now also represent the younger women of Gen Y.
- Any diktat or mantra for ground-breaking success that you would like to share with our readers and the young entrepreneurs out there?
For entrepreneurs, it is important to analyse the trends that have been in your particular retail store, category wise inventory that was sold, be it diamond necklaces, earrings, bracelets, etc.; analysing how much of it was in gold, the styles that sold the most, the collections that did really well and innovate and create a whole new line based on the information available to you.
You must be confident and buy into it yourself first – the concept, design, and most importantly the story. The consumer of today isn’t merely interested in buying a product. She is interested in buying into the experience and the story behind the collection, the inspiration and the design and is looking for quality. If you can express all these things to the customer, you have your sale.