India was never on the agenda. Though born and brought up in Delhi, sisters Mamta and Vidhi Gupta moved to the US for higher studies. Vidhi studied finance at Kelley School of Business in Indiana, while Mamta did her MBA from Rochester. Mamta lived in Chicago for nine years before the sisters started their own line of jewellery for retail in 2010. They called it Zariin, meaning ‘golden’. “We liked the resonance and the international flair of the Persian word,” says Mamta, a 36-year-old single mother to a young son.
Using uncut semi-precious stones in their fashion jewellery, they learnt to work with the nuances of the stones, and quickly found plenty of takers for their unconventional line, including one of the most prestigious clothing and accessories retailers in the US, Anthropologie. They were then picked up by others, including Neiman Marcus, and were also displayed at the Asia Society Museum in New York.
But the call of India became irresistible. By 2014, four years after their US launch, the duo found that they were getting plenty of media attention in India but didn’t have a retail presence in the country. So they decided to invest about 30 per cent of their stock towards the Indian market, and tied up with about 15 multi-brand outlets. “We were among the first 10 designers to retail from PerniasPopUpShop.com,” says Vidhi, who is 32. They also set up zariin.com and are now available at over 250 outlets worldwide, including their latest ones in China.
The sisters (pictured above, Mamta on left) frequently shuttle between the US and India, and have their hands full with jewellery production and the challenges of retail, PR and merchandising. “The Indian market is definitely high on our priority list this year,” says Mamta, who is a people-person with an engaging demeanour, but can also be business-like when the situation demands. Their website has a remarkable blog that not only showcases their own collections, but also features women from all walks of life who model in their jewellery. Scroll down to get a glimpse of some of them.