If you were at JCK Las Vegas this year, you surely noticed the India Gallery, sponsored by the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). The gallery, in Bayside across from the food court in front of a wall of windows, was a dazzling, day-lit showcase of the jewels on offer in the Indian Pavilion, which, in 2015, featured 67 Indian companies. But it was not just the jewels that were shining in the gallery; their presentation was creative and exciting, and that was due to the visual merchandising done by one woman, Kshama Dalalkumar.
I had the pleasure of meeting Dalalkumar at Mumbai’s India International Jewellery Show in August. She designed eight booths at that show, and over masala chai tea in the café, she explained that the work she did in the India Gallery at JCK is what she sees as the future of her business. She is moving away from booth design and focusing her attention fully on visual merchandising, and she is looking to the U.S. market to help her do it.
Dalalkumar was trained as a graphic designer, and she has been working in the jewelry industry for nearly 30 years. She got her start helping a friend merchandise his booth at a trade show in Mumbai. She has done work at all the major trade shows, including Baselworld, Hong Kong, and, of course, JCK Las Vegas.
As we took a turn around the show floor in Mumbai, she pointed out the details of each of her booths and talked about her inspirations for each display. Inspiration can be small as a flower or as big as a building (one booth was inspired by the Excalibur Hotel in Las Vegas, which she fell in love with during her first visit to JCK Las Vegas).
Dalalkumar and her husband, Ajit Kumar, work together in the business. Kumar is also a graphic designer, and he focuses on the technical aspects of the business, sourcing materials and contractors to fabricate his wife’s elaborate designs. “He is truly my backbone,” Dalalkumar told JCK. “He has supported me to reach such heights. He has a technical base, while I take care of the creative and aesthetics in designs. We both complement each other.”
The pair have projects booked for all of the shows this year and are especially looking forward to Las Vegas in 2016.
“I would love to work more in America,” she said. “Designers there are creative and exciting, and I look forward to being a part of that.”
All photos courtesy Kshama Dalalkumar