Pune, 25th August 2023: Orthopaedic surgeon-turned-entrepreneur Dr Amol Patwari and IIM Lucknow alumna Pallavi Mohadikar, a Pune-based couplepreneur, is disrupting the Indian jewellery industry with their direct-to-customer (D2C) startup ‘Palmonas’ offering quintessential designs of demi-fine jewellery, which looks like gold, feels like gold and stays gold.
Dr Amol Patwari hails from a small-town Udgir located in Latur district, while Pallavi is from Nagpur but raised in Nashik. After his MBBS and post-graduation specialisation in Orthopaedics Dr Amol settled in Pune in 2015 along with Pallavi, a Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering graduate from College of Engineering Pune (COEP), who completed her MBA from IIM Lucknow in 2014. Inspired by a seemingly casual conversation with his wife Pallavi, Dr Amol incorporated Palmonas, the fastest growing non-precious jewellery brand, in early 2022. The name Palmonas was derived from a combination of names Pallavi, Amol, and their daughter Anaya. Palmonas uses ‘surgical stainless steel’ or sterling silver, plated with 18-carat gold with product range including bracelet with hearts all over, a delicate solitaire ring, a chain woven like wheat and a pair of earrings in the shape of a snake, a cascading diamond set among others.
Says Dr Amol, “Our vision for Palmonas is to establish it as an international brand, particularly targeting the thriving demi-fine jewellery segment in the US and UK. Starting with 30 unique designs, primarily focusing on necklaces and earrings within two categories, now after 15 months, we have expanded significantly with 1000 different SKUs available on our website. In the jewellery we create, the base metal is gold plated. Unlike other gold-plated jewellery that requires careful handling, avoiding contact with water and perfume, our aim was to ensure that the plating remains intact. We came up with a concept of New Age Gold, having 18Karat gold vermeil plating. In typical flash-plated jewellery, the gold layer is only 0.5 microns thick. However, in our jewellery, we use a layer that is 2.5 microns thick, making it significantly thicker than regular gold-plated jewellery. As a result, our jewellery looks identical to gold and has a premium finish.”
Pallavi says, “In India, people are fond of gold, buy it on every occasion but often keep it locked away, only to wear during special occasions. Gold jewellery becomes a stagnant investment with limited use. On the other hand, imitation jewellery, which is available cheap on the streets for around Rs 50-100, is neither skin-friendly nor elegant in appearance. For the millennial crowd, college-going girls, and working women, wearing gold is a status symbol. They want to appear affluent and expensive. People often choose gold as it does not cause adverse reactions like rashes or skin-turning green. This was an ‘aha’ moment for us and we delved into research to find artisans who could craft jewellery using surgical stainless steel. We pondered over the idea of creating something that closely resembles gold but comes at a fraction of the price.”
Pallavi and Dr Amol derive their D2C go-to-market strategy and experience from their earlier successful ventures like IndoFash and Karagiri. “In our first two ventures, we were ahead of our times as we had attempted to create a marketplace model while competing with giants like Amazon and Flipkart. Later we pivoted to the brand model and got strategic market insights. Considering the evolving market trends, we now want to scale up our direct-to-consumer (D2C) sales and marketplace presence. In about a year, we are considering launching 9 Karat and 12 Karat gold products designed for daily wear, incorporating international designs and at affordable prices. In next few years, the millennial population in India will not necessarily view gold as an investment but would instead opt for gold bonds and allocate the saved making charges towards purchasing multiple pieces of Demi-fine jewellery. This indicates a changing trend in the jewellery industry, where Demi-fine, the new age gold jewellery which looks like gold, feels like gold and stays gold, represents the future due to its affordability, elegance, and wider range of designs and aesthetics,” the duo added.