“Today's consumers are eagerly embracing everyday pieces as powerful style statements”: BlueStone’s Vipin Sharma

“Today's consumers are eagerly embracing everyday pieces as powerful style statements”: BlueStone’s Vipin Sharma

He speaks about the journey of the brand, its USP, upcoming trends, & more.

Vipin Sharma

Mumbai: Gone are the days when adorning jewellery was restricted to opulent events and lavish occasions. Nowadays, locker jewellery is being replaced with minimalistic, lightweight daily wear jewellery. This trend has helped jewellery take on a more versatile image while retaining its key essence and joy as a piece of embellishment for daily purposes and special occasions, alike. One such brand trying to champion this trend is BlueStone.

BlueStone, founded in Bangalore in 2011, is one of India's largest omnichannel fine jewellery brands. The culmination of a rapidly-evolving consumer preference to shop online and the legacy jewellery industry's low digital adoption, the trusted brand is synonymous with modernity and digitisation.

BlueStone has revolutionised the jewellery space by creating an endless aisle online with experiential stores offline, delivering a seamless omnichannel journey for cosmopolitan couples. Their proprietary tech stack enables consumers to customise their purchases from design to delivery, thus making the brand an intimate part of celebrating momentous milestones.

With over 150 retail stores nationwide, BlueStone has satiated the customers' desires by crafting an endless aisle of exclusive designs across 100+ collections - each with its own unique story and inspiration.

Indiantelevision.com spoke to BlueStone chief merchandising officer Vipin Sharma on the evolution of the brand, its USP, positioning itself as the destination for everyday accessory wear, upcoming trends, and more

An alumnus of SPJIMR, Sharma started his career with Tanishq. Soon after, he co-founded Oyzterbay, a jewellery retailer for young and working women. A stalwart with nearly two and a half decades' experience, Sharma was instrumental in developing Azva, a World Gold Council brand featuring contemporary alternatives for Indian weddings.

As the merchandising chief, Sharma is leveraging his jewellery and luxury goods expertise to keep pace with today’s customer-driven retail environment and advance the scale of BlueStone's design story by pioneering new categories, furthering product development and creative merchandising.

Apart from creations that catch the eye, he's also designing an innovative digital ecosystem that enables data-driven decisions to redefine a largely instinctive category.

Edited excerpts:

On the evolution and journey of BlueStone

BlueStone, founded in Bangalore in 2011 by Gaurav Singh Kushwaha, is one of India's largest omnichannel fine jewellery brands. The trusted brand has transformed the legacy jewellery industry’s low digital adoption into a landscape that caters to a rapidly-evolving consumer preference to browse and shop online.

At the core of their creative journey, BlueStone placed design as its guiding star. Today, it stands proudly as one of the nation's largest omnichannel jewellery brands, boasting an impressive online presence, an expansive network of 175+ brick-and-mortar stores spanning India, and an exceptional "Try At Home" service.

Our jewellery is not destined to be locked away in a vault; it's designed to be cherished as a vital part of one's everyday personal style. We embrace technology in every facet of our journey, from the inception of a design to the final delivery process across channels. With an extraordinary team of in-house designers, we conceive and craft each of our pieces from scratch. What sets us apart is our unwavering commitment to doing things differently, challenging the traditional norms that have long defined the world of jewellery.

On BlueStone's USP in terms of brand positioning, and offerings – its collections and designs

Our focus on modern and contemporary designs aligns perfectly with today's consumers who seek jewellery that complements their lifestyles. Our collections serve as a vivid illustration of our commitment to blending global trends with a touch of Indian essence. Take, for instance, our Viva Pride Collection, which features designs inspired by the resplendent peacock, interwoven with gemstones in the colour Viva Magenta, The Pantone Colour of the Year for 2023. We take pride in not only our design philosophy but also our crafting techniques. We employ exquisite techniques such as ceramic enamel and 3D printing, skillfully combining them with the finest materials, including gold and a stunning array of diamonds and other gemstones, to create jewellery that reflects the epitome of artistry and innovation.

Beyond our designs, our commitment to customer experience sets us apart. We believe that jewellery shopping should be a pleasurable experience, not an overwhelming one. Our stores are designed to be welcoming, creating an environment where customers can explore our offerings with ease. At the core of our brand is our omnichannel experience. Our online and offline channels work seamlessly together, offering customers the flexibility to engage with our brand in the way that suits them best. Our product range is also contemporary and versatile, catering to a wide range of styles and occasions.

On BlueStone positioning itself as the destination for everyday accessory wear - the perspective shift towards jewellery from locker to daily use

As we observe the transformation of locker jewellery to wardrobe jewellery, we recognize that today's consumers are eagerly embracing everyday pieces as powerful style statements. BlueStone is at the forefront of this movement, constantly innovating to offer designs that seamlessly integrate into modern wardrobes.

Our product selection is a testament to our dedication to meeting these evolving preferences. We have shifted the focus from jewellery that languishes in lockers to versatile wearables that make a statement in daily life. Y necklaces, with their graceful and elongating lines, have become a symbol of contemporary elegance. The Chevron pattern, characterised by its chic design, adds a touch of flair to everyday outfits. Vanki rings, inspired by traditional Indian jewellery, effortlessly blend heritage with modernity, appealing to a diverse range of tastes. Additionally, our watch jewellery is an exciting new segment that  combines functionality with style, offering a fusion of classic timekeeping elements and trendy aesthetics. What sets our collection apart is its ability to transition seamlessly from day to night, effortlessly adapting to different occasions, ensuring you shine brilliantly at every moment.

On the advertising and marketing strategy, and media mix you have put in place for the brand

BlueStone's marketing strategy is deeply rooted in its online origins and brand identity. As an online jewellery brand from the outset, digital marketing remains at the core of our promotional efforts. This approach allows us to precisely target our audience, measure campaign performance, and engage with customers on various online platforms, contributing significantly to our brand's success. Recent campaigns, such as 'Love Is In The Little Things' and 'Big Gold Upgrade,' exemplify our digital focus, utilising a wide array of social media channels, video-sharing platforms, audio apps, and news apps for online promotion.

While digital marketing is in our brand DNA, we also recognize the value of offline marketing in certain contexts. Hence, we selectively incorporate offline elements such as TV advertising, print media, outdoor campaigns, and in-cinema promotions to reach a broader demographic and create a comprehensive brand presence. This balanced approach ensures that our digital and social media strategies continue to be the cornerstone of our marketing while allowing for offline initiatives to enhance brand visibility and engagement as needed.

On the usage of influencer marketing, tech-based marketing innovations to build brand saliency and awareness

Leveraging influencer marketing and tech-driven innovations is pivotal for enhancing brand awareness and saliency. Influencer collaborations can significantly boost credibility and engagement, although quantifying their ROI can be complex. Meanwhile, tech-based marketing innovations, such as AI personalization and chatbots, offer opportunities for improved customer retention and a seamless customer journey. These innovations are adaptable across the marketing funnel, from elevating brand awareness to nurturing customer loyalty.

Given BlueStone's innovative and tech-centric DNA, a proactive approach to exploring emerging marketing technologies aligns perfectly with the brand's identity, potentially positioning it as a pioneer in the industry and fostering lasting growth.

On the significant markets (geographically) for BlueStone and expansion in India

BlueStone has established a strong presence in India, currently serving customers in over 75 cities. Initially, our focus was on larger markets like Bangalore, where we have a well-established customer base. After making our mark in the big cities, we have recognized the potential in smaller towns and have started expanding into these areas. This shift in our approach aligns with our goal of having a wider presence across India, ensuring that our customers all over the country can experience our jewellery in person.

In the coming year, we plan to continue expanding our reach within India. While we will strengthen our position in existing markets, we are also exploring opportunities in new cities and towns.

On retail expansion

BlueStone has adopted a specific model for its retail expansion, primarily focusing on company-operated exclusive brand outlets (EBOs). Our strategy revolves around maintaining a consistent and controlled retail presence, ensuring that customers can expect the same high-quality experience and products across all our outlets. In the foreseeable future, our emphasis will predominantly remain on retail expansion through this exclusive brand outlet model.

On the upcoming trends and innovations that are expected to disrupt the jewellery category

The jewellery category is currently experiencing a significant transformation, marked by emerging trends and innovations that have the potential to disrupt the industry.

One notable trend is the increasing popularity of men's jewellery. Traditionally, jewellery has been primarily associated with women, but there is a growing acceptance of jewellery as a means of self-expression and style among men. This shift is creating a new market for masculine and genderless jewellery designs. Men are also more actively involved in the jewellery purchase process, both as buyers and influencers.

Jewellery is no longer solely about adornment; it has become an extension of one's personality. Customers are seeking unique pieces that reflect their individuality. Moreover, global fashion and cultural movements are increasingly influencing jewellery trends. Customers are drawn to jewellery styles that are in vogue internationally, reflecting the interconnected nature of today's world.

On your vision and way forward - BlueStone’s top priorities and roadmap for 2023

In 2023, BlueStone's vision is firmly centred on growth. As we navigate this year and beyond, our top priorities and roadmap are dedicated to further enhancing our brand's presence and offering an unparalleled customer experience.

Our foremost focus remains on growth across various facets of our business. This includes product expansion, where we continuously seek to diversify our offerings with innovative and captivating designs that cater to the ever-evolving preferences of our customers. We're committed to providing a wider range of choices to ensure that every individual finds a piece of jewellery that resonates with their unique style and personality.

As a technology-driven company in the jewellery industry, we are relentless in our pursuit of advanced solutions that will elevate the customer experience to new heights. This tech-focused approach encompasses various aspects, from enhancing the ease of online shopping to providing innovative in-store experiences that redefine how customers interact with our products. In summary, BlueStone's vision for 2023 revolves around robust growth and continuous innovation.