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Mia is looking to partner with OTT platforms for branded content: Bhavishya Kelappan

The Indian jewellery market has responded well to Mia since its inception eight years ago, when it introduced a separate category for working women – smaller, delicate, classy and more western looking jewellery that could be worn with all kinds of apparel. 

Two years ago, Mia opened up for a deeper insight into the kind of jewellery that women wear. After conducting a research, the brand decided to find its foothold as a fine fashion jewellery brand. As Bhavishya Kelappan, Business Head, Mia by Tanishq, explained, “We believe that today’s women are always in action and hence, we focussed on them for our brand. That’s where the brand attitude came into play.” 

Mia targets the young discerning Indian women who expect a seamless shopping experience, both online and offline. Industry insights reveal that 8 million shop for apparel online and ~6.5 million women in the 25-35 age group shop online. Mia uses omni-channel route to reach out to its customers – through its own website, online marketplace players like Myntra, Tata Cliq, Caratlane and recently with Amazon. The partnership with Amazon enables customers to access over 350 styles of Mia’s jewellery. This also helps Mia reach out to a much wider audience and take the brand to many more women, especially in markets that currently do not have a Mia store. 

When asked about the market size of the Indian jewellery industry today, Kelappan replied, “There are very few branded players in the Indian jewellery industry. While Tanishq is a very big branded player, we at Mia are more of a fashion brand. We don’t size the market of the jewellery industry, we size the market of the fashion industry. The youth is unapologetic about shopping because they believe in experiences rather than investments.” 

The growth story 

Mia has witnessed a healthy double digit growth y-o-y, and according to Kelappan, the brand is expected to grow at the rate of 45 per cent over the next 5 years. 

Mia is earmarking a significant amount of its budget towards the growth of brand, including product development, retail expansion and advertising and marketing efforts. The growth will be triggered by creating more visibility, accessibility and creating more categories and occasions for the brand. “Our collections attempt to target not only at her workplace, but also occasions, activities and hobbies that she pursues after work,” Kelappan added. 

Mia has 20 standalone stores all over the country and also has aggressive retail plans to expand further into new towns. 

Speaking about the key market for Brand Mia, Kelappan said, “The metro cities work for us the best. But we have just started our expansion. In FY2018, Mia had 12 stores, which grew to 29 stores in FY2019.  The aspirational markets like Ranchi, Bhopal, too, have accepted the brand in a big way. We are going to add more stores and take our count to 50 stores in the country.” 

The marketing strategy 

At the core of Mia’s marketing strategy is to transition to being a digital-first brand from this year onwards. “While we will do some forms of traditional marketing when we need it for practical reasons, we will primarily use the digital medium. We will also make long format content of our own and we will also be involved with OTT platforms. We are looking to partner with OTT platforms for the content they already have. This will basically involve branded advertising,” informed Kelappan. 

To support these activities, Mia has increased its marketing budget by 15-20 per cent. 

Along with these, e-commerce forms a significant part of Mia’s growth strategy, creating a lot many opportunities for the brand. Kelappan explained, “It’s a two-fold strategy here. One thing that e-commerce does is that it generates a lot of interest in your product and brand. It’s a lead generating medium. We are available on our brand site, which is Mia by Tanishq. We are also on Amazon, Tata Cliq and Myntra and we are hoping to be on two more platforms by the end of the year. It’s a huge focus for the brand.” 

The design aspect 

Kelappan further informed that Mia is 14 karat jewellery, hence the first challenge was to overcome the mindblock that gold jewellery should be of 22 karat. She added, “We will always compete with the lower end of any big traditional jewellery brands. People in the market are only now buying into the concept of 14 karat jewellery. There is always a price comparison, but it doesn’t really bother us because we believe that the person who wants to buy Mia doesn’t really care about the karats of the jewellery. For our customers, it is differentiated design that attracts them to Mia. Right now, Mia wants to create awareness first and then desirability.” 

The market situation has evolved in the eight years of Mia’s existence. As Kelappan observed, “Today’s customer is highly evolved. Women today, because of travel and the internet, know a lot about jewellery and that makes us work harder. But if my product is good and my designs are innovative, the customer will buy my product and that is what matters.” 

At the same time, she agreed that India has been a very gold obsessed market, where jewellery has equaled tradition. Here she mentioned about the challenge of winning over a market like Chennai, which is traditional in its outlook of jewellery. However, she claimed that the response to the launch of Mia’s first store in Chennai’s Phoenix Mall in February 2019 “has been overwhelming, so much so that we are already working on our second store”. 

Other major South markets like Bangalore and Hyderabad are big metropolitan cities, and winning over these cities have been comparatively easier. As Kelappan explained, “These IT cities see many young women come in from smaller surrounding cities. These people have been sent abroad, where they gained a lot of exposure. These people also have a lot of disposable income. So, convincing these people to buy from a brand like Mia wasn’t a difficult task. People have become fashionable in the true sense because of global trends and the Internet.” 

She made an important observation when she said, “Today, every jewellery that a woman wears has to be ‘Instagramable’. It is even more important for Mia, because people come to us not for an investment, but to buy our products as a way of self-expression. There is a need for people to reflect who they are as a person.”

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