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THE TRANSITION FROM SOFTWARE CREATION TO HAND-CRAFTED ART IS DESCRIBED IN RISHAM BY SRUTIZA MOHANTY.

Published: November 1, 2022
Author: Fashion Value Chain

Jewelry is an essential component of any modern woman’s wardrobe. However, the thriving
social life for women has led to a scenario where most of them go out and study or work
every day. The chunky conventional gold and diamond Jewelry proves to be impractical for
daily wearing. That’s where a rapidly growing fashion Jewelry market is plugging this
coverage gap. Women aspire to look good and make a statement through their ensembles,
such as uniquely designed earrings, rings, necklaces, bracelets, etc.

It is not as if fashion or costume Jewelry, as it is sometimes called, is a novel invention. The
art of handcrafted bead Jewelry has existed in India for over a millennium. However, in the
industrial era, the quality and durability of less costly and lightweight Jewelry items had
decreased considerably. The same designs and patterns are manufactured in factories and
available in flea markets at throwaway prices. This mass-produced and low-cost approach to
Jewelry made of metal, wood, or beads has led to a scenario where consumers see such
products as suitable for teenagers or beachwear that can be worn and disposed of without
care.

This is a perception that software-developer turned entrepreneur Srutiza Mohanty, the
founder of Risham Jewellery, a unique fashion Jewelry start-up, is determined to alter
through her head-turning, handcrafted Jewelry products. Risham is a one-of-its-kind brand
that is not only changing the approach towards fashion Jewelry but is also achieving the
goals of women empowerment and revival of ancient Indian art. The young entrepreneur
fell in love with bead Jewelry more than 12 years back when she worked in the IT sector as a
software developer. She felt intrigued by the complexity and finer aspects of the 1000+-
year-old art of bead weaving that has been integral to ethnic costume Jewelry across India.
Starting with curiosity, she learned the art and honed it by crafting Jewelry pieces for her
consumption in her spare time. One thing led to another, and today, Srutiza is on a mission
to give voice to the inner persona of every woman through customized and captivating
Jewelry designs. Recently, the petite entrepreneur had an extensive discussion about her
business, the vision behind Risham, and the impact she is making.

What would you like to tell young women entrepreneurs in India?
Entrepreneurship is anything but easy. Therefore, if you are aiming to launch a start-up, you
need to examine things minutely and do your research. For instance, digging deeper into
your business idea and its uniqueness and finding out how much impact it can make. You
must consider your USPs, identify your audience, and know how to reach them. When I
started Risham, I needed more experience with commercial activities. Even basic tasks such
as reaching out to people or talking to them about our offerings were challenging for me.

To make a product, you must also determine the procurement of raw materials and the
delivery logistics. In the case of a bootstrapped venture like Risham, one also needs to know
precisely how much financial input can be committed to the business. Last but not least, entrepreneurship is a lot of grind and uncertainty. You don’t have an assured income even after putting in all the effort, unlike a job where a salary is almost guaranteed. Thus, the ups and downs and risks are there. After working for over 15 years in the IT sector, I took the plunge, and it was a significant step out of my comfort zone. However, the passion that I had for my vision of empowering women and reviving the art of bead weaving kept me going through the initial struggles. If you are innovative, ready to
overcome challenges, and optimistic, there is no reason why you shouldn’t take up entrepreneurship.

What are the challenges young entrepreneurs face, and what kind of mental approach is
needed?
The challenges are diverse, and they test the mettle of each young entrepreneur out there.
For me, it was an entirely new journey and well out of my comfort zone as I had never
engaged in people interactions regularly or sales activities. At the same time, one needs to
overcome hurdles like sourcing raw materials, setting up facilities, hiring the right personnel,
and dealing with financial uncertainties. Thus, remaining optimistic and faithful to your
ideas and convictions is essential. Listening to the target audience is extremely important
because we need to fulfill their needs and expectations as entrepreneurs. It is possible to
achieve anything with a resolute and innovative bent of mind.

All-women team, empowering women, reviving ancient art. How did Srutiza manage to do
all this?
The key to my success lies in my unwavering faith in what I am doing and what I aspire to achieve. Women are the under-represented gender in the workforce despite having at par or even superior talent than their male counterparts in most areas. By providing women with equal employment opportunities by training them in bead-weaving and flexible working, I have managed to build a core team of highly skilled women artisans. I am passionate about bead weaving, and this ancient art’s potential has driven me forward. Starting with just the vision, I started testing the waters through pop-up events, participating in exhibitions, and personally monitoring and managing every aspect of the
business. The quality and uniqueness of the Jewelry designed for me constantly received encouragement from the audience. Eventually, I managed to launch Risham after bidding farewell to my corporate career as a software expert. Today, I wish to empower many more women to achieve empowerment and create a national-level brand that enables all women to make a personal style statement through Risham Jewellery.

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