Mr. N. Anantha Padmanabhan, took over the business in 1979 while studying for his graduation. After taking over the mantle of Managing Director, NAC . It was his initiative, drive and passion that transformed this small store into a grand store in Mylapore. Mr. N. Anantha Padmanabhan shares with us the journey:
1)NAC opened its first store in 1973, today it is a leading brand in the jewelry business. How did you get your start?
My father, Mr. Anjaneyulu Chetty started NAC jewelers in the year 1973 with a seed capital of Rs.10,000. The beginning was very tough. Initially, we had to work very hard interacting with the customers, showing them the catalogue and sample pieces. Convincing them to buy jewelry was the most challenging part.
2) Are you targeting only the premium segment ?
NAC targets the mid-premium and the premium segments of the Market. We have an exquisite range of light-weight pieces in the Antique jewelry collection. If you see our regular stock of Chains, Bangles, Necklaces, they are quite affordable. The bangles are available for as low as Rs.7000 at the ” NAC Bangle festival”. At the same time we have Golden and Diamond bangles ranging from Rs. 10 to 15 lakhs.
3) Ms. Trisha Krishnan has been the face of NAC jewelry since 2013. A few words on your association.
Brand Recognition is very important for any business. Since we had our families involved in the same business, it demanded for an identity. The brand NAC is under the family name of Nathella so there has been a bit of confusion amongst the buyers. In order to stand apart, we wanted to have our own brand ambassador and Ms.Trisha Krishnan has been a great value addition to NAC.
4) Your son Mr.N.Anandha Ramanujam is taking care of the sub-brands. How do you think the next generation is handling the business?
I plunged into the business immediately after graduating. Since the exposure was very limited, it took longer time for me to take over the business. Having graduated in Gemology from GIA, one of the finest universities abroad, My son, Shri. N. Anandha Ramanujam has been handling the business with great confidence and passion…that he probably inherited from his parents and grandparents. The confidence level and the authority at which they work are like real professionals.. nothing more to say.
5) How has the jewelry consumption pattern changed over the years?
There has been a huge change in the consumption pattern…Like how we have moved to pizzas from idlys (laughs). But the love for gold is always there with the customers. So as long as the love for jewelry exists, our survival is guaranteed. Unlike before, It has become very challenging to satisfy the customers. From casual wear, wedding wear to home wear, they want something new for every occasion.
Earlier there were only about 10-15 items, i.e; ‘Thaali’ chain, ‘Kaasu Maalai’, 4-stoned diamond ‘Adigai’ , single-lined diamond bangle and a gold bangle. But today people ask for VARIETY.
In the ‘Bangle Festival’ we are presenting jewelry from Rajasthan, Gujarat, , Rajkot, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andra Pradesh, Kerala and West Bengal.
6) Share with us a few thoughts on the ‘Big Golden Bangle’ outside your shop in North Usman road. How do you conceptualize such campaigns? What is your agency’s role?
We have been the trend-setters in creating activities like the Antique jewelry festival, Thousand diamond bangle, Thousand diamond necklace festival, Silver lamp festival (13.5ft) which nobody else has done in this space and that has been our unique style for a decade now.
A lot of companies list out their needs and the agencies would just execute it. At NAC, we have discussions across the board and collectively decide on what is good for the brand. We give equal importance to the agencies as well.
7) You have been creating a lot of sub-brands like breeze and young ones, what more is in the pipeline?
From “Young ones” to “Breeze”, it was all my son’s creation. He also launched the online store- ‘Stylori’, the ultimate online store for everyday fashion jewellery. In my opinion, creating too many sub-brands also might not work out because the agencies will not know which one to promote.
8) A recent study by the leading industry body in the country says that the gem and jewelry market could double in the next five years. What is your take on that ?
Absolutely, there’s no doubt about it. The earning community is increasing day by day. The love for jewelry is in our DNA and it’s not going to fade away. Earlier the city had only 1 or 2 stores from the same brand but with the development we will be witnessing more stores.
9) What do you think is chennai’s most favourite piece of jewelry?
‘Kaasu Malai’ is evergreen and is loved by everyone. ‘Kajadiga’ is the next favourite among people. Wearable for types of occasion.
10) Do you have expansion plans?
Yes. We are coming up with 7-8 stores in the next 7 months and that includes Perambur, Kanchipuram, Chrompet, Thiruvallur and a few more stores in the North of chennai.
11) Pan India?
Pan India, not so soon. We would like to concentrate on Tamil Nadu first.
12) What was the idea behind launching antique jewelry. How are they priced at?
Antique jewellery has been my favourite. I have been collecting a lot of antique pieces in the last 15 years. In 2005- 2007, I happened to take a lot of collection to exhibit it in the US and it was a great success. Since then we have been collecting and re-designing without spoiling the original look. Today we have grown to the level of having a dedicated creative team of 3 designers to re-work on our antique jewelry collection.
Each piece of jewellery from the collection boasts of fine, intricate designs crafted in gold. The jewellery line up consists of Moppu, thalai billa, thalai set, Pendant, earrings, neck pieces and many more. Crafted with fine Rubies from the mines of Burma, each of these pieces have been manufactured predominantly by the artisans from Nagarkoil and Karaikudi.
For instance, If it’s a ‘Rakodi’ , we know it for a fact that people are not going to wear it for every occasion. So at NAC, we make these antique pieces more wearable by re-designing it like a pendant/armlet/bracelet. We take pride in saying that NAC has one of the largest range of curated original antique masterpieces dating back to anywhere between 75 to 100 year. The collection comprises of a great variety of finest and exquisite Chettinad ornaments.
13) Do you have your own manufacturing unit?
Yes, we have a small workshop unit where we create our own jewelry. Manufacturing is very difficult in the jewelry business. Unless it’s a unique piece, we mostly out-source it.
14) Is there a particular vision that you are working towards?
Having completed generations of serving customers, Our Vision is to expand and to go to the next level without compromising on the quality and to always give the best to our customers.
Majority of jewelers today claim to be hallmark certified, but what is important is to maintain the quality and workmanship. It’s possible to manufacture a jewelry with a wastage of 1 percent. Although the purity will be the same, the jewelry might not last longer.
People say not to buy Chinese products because it will not last longer, it’s the same here (laughs!).
15) There’s been a dip in the price of gold. what do you have to say about that? Is this the best time to invest?
The prices will be fluctuating until the American Federal Reserve Bank fix their interest rates. There has been a lot of rumors that they are going to increase their rates, however there has been no official information on that. Overall the prices are going to be in the lower side and this is the best time for people to invest, as well.