00:30 Victoria and Rob introduce their guest Mithun Sacheti, CEO of CaratLane.
07:17 Mithun compares CaratLane to Blue Nile.
10:15 Victoria asks about his early business.
14:42 Mithun describes his most recent experience at the JCK show.
16:09 Mithun talks about Tanishq purchasing majority share of CaratLane.
21:00 Rob asks about CaratLane’s brick-and-mortar stores.
Introducing Mithun Sacheti
Mithun Sacheti is the CEO of CaratLane, which is often described as the Indian version of Blue Nile. He spoke to JCK from the southeastern coast of India. His mother and father were in the jewelry business, and Mithun describes it as a “generational business,” which is how he got into it himself. Mithun studied at GIA and worked briefly in San Diego. When he returned to India, he opened his own jewelry store.
Blue Nile Inspiration
Mithun compares the Indian jewelry business model to the business in the United States. Mithun says he learned from Blue Nile that you have to find the easiest place to enter the industry. In India, while diamonds are fine to sell, its real strong point is selling jewelry as opposed to loose diamonds and engagement rings. In the early days, Mithun describes a hostility similar to what Blue Nile faced in its early days.
Building the Business
Victoria asks how Mithun coaxed people to buy originally, and he said initially consumers were resistant. CaratLane built a try-at-home model in an attempt to get people to buy their diamonds, which ended up being successful. Mithun doesn’t think this model would necessarily work in America.
The JCK Show
Mithun was just at the most recent JCK show—the first one he attended was back in 1998. Victoria asks for his take on this year’s JCK show, and Mithun said it was all about making connections.
In 2016, Tanishq purchased a majority share in CaratLane. Tanishq is the largest jewelry company in India and has been around for 25 years now, with a market capitalization close to $1 billion. Mithun says Tanishq has been a great partner, and CaratLane has been able to grow on a much faster scale thanks to its involvement. Victoria asked what other kinds of things CaratLane has tried as a company, and Mithun describes a virtual try-on, different from augmented reality, that didn’t pan out. One thing that worked very well was building an omnichannel network.
Rob asks why CaratLane believed it needed a brick-and-mortar store when it was successful online. Mithun believes there is a need for tactile jewelry shopping, even though consumers find jewelry online.
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