How a discussion about surgical equipment over a cup of tea turned into Rs 15 crore turnover demi fine jewelry startup idea

Pune based entrepreneur Pallavi Mohadikar and orthopedic surgeon-turned-entrepreneur Amol Patwari launched demi fine jewelry brand- Palmonas in 2022 that sells varieties of jewelry made of Sterling silver and stainless steel coated with 18 carat gold that lasts for decades. 

In 15 months the brand has clocked Rs 15 crore in revenue. 

The aha moment

One evening in 2022, Pallavi Mohadikar and her husband Dr. Amol Patwari were sipping tea when a discussion over durability of medical surgical equipment came up. Since Dr. Amol Patwari is an Orthopedic surgeon he said that the equipment lasts for years. “We have been using the same surgical equipment for about a decade and they are not yet rusted or corroded,” Amol told Pallavi that evening.

Pallavi Mohadikar & Amol Patwari
Pallavi Mohadikar & Amol Patwari

This information astonished Pallavi and made her realize how durable and harmless the stainless steel is for the human body. The couple’s discussion continued where they also discussed the harmful effects of imitation jewelry on skin. Whereas, pure gold is made of very fine materials, which are very expensive. 

Almost 60% of women in India face skin issue while using imitation jewelry. “Even I have been facing the same issues,” said Pallavi while talking to Startup Pedia.

That casual discussion over evening tea turned into a business discussion and hence a demi fine jewelry brand Palmonas was brewed in March 2022.

Demi-fine jewelry  is a very new category in India. However, looking at the cost of gold and skin issues of imitation jewelry,  it fits as a category perfectly well.

While talking about the manufacturing process of Palmonas wide range of jewelleries, Pallavi said that first they insert materials like Sterling silver and stainless steel and then secret sauce is added which is coating.

These materials are then plated with a 2.5 micron layer of gold (18 carat gold). The final products of demi fine jewelries of Palmonas  look exactly like gold.

“The finish is so premium that you will not be able to differentiate Palmonas jewelry from gold jewelry. Moreover, because the layer of plating that we do is very thick, it does not wear off very easily. Hence it is long lasting. Moreover, it is perfect for daily use,” said Palmonas co-founder Pallavi during the exclusive conversation with  Startup Pedia.

Demi fine jewelries of Palmonas are perfectly crafted for Gen Z and  millennials who go to college and work in corporates for regular use. The average selling price is Rs. 2500. Palmonas jewelries also have lifetime warranty and buyback value. It has varieties ranging from necklaces, earrings, rings, bracelets, mangalsutra, and a few men’s jewelry.

Palmonas was started with just the duo couple- Pallavi and Amol that too from home.  While Pallavi was working on designs, her husband was looking after the operations. She got the website designed and launched 30 designs of demi fine jewelleries. To their surprise, the sales began pouring in. The manufacturing used to be done on demand.

Today Palmonas has more than 1300 designs across all the categories. The demi fine jewelry brand  currently has more than 35 employees to work from design team to marketing and packaging etc. There are different teams all together in their manufacturing factory. The office of Palmonas is located at Koregaon Park, Pune. 

The Palmonas brand’s jewelleries are sold on the brand’s website and other e-commerce platforms such as  Myntra, Nykaa and Ajio. It also has one flagship store in Koregaon Park, Pune. One more store of Palmonas is all set to be launched in January 2024.  It has been just 16 months ever since the brand was started and it has already crossed Rs. 15 crore of Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR).

“The sales come from across India. 75% of the total sale come  from Palmonas’s website. Another 23-24% sales come from e-commerce marketplaces and 1 to 2% sales come from the store because it’s just one store right now. We have a 30% repeat purchase rate on the website right now, which is way higher than the average ecommerce repeat purchase rate,” said Pallavi while talking to Startup Pedia. 

A serial entrepreneur

Pallavi Mohadikar is a serial entrepreneur, though she hails from a humble family of tussar silk saree weavers. Her grandparents were weavers from Nagpur. However, since it was hard for them to make ends meet Pallavi’s parents broke the chain of weavers’ families and pursued government jobs for stable life. She was raised in Nashik.

Pallavi Mohadikar with Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt
Pallavi Mohadikar with Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt

Pallavi said while talking to Startup Pedia, “I have grown up seeing my grandparents weaving beautiful sarees but struggle to make ends meet because they would not get fair share of remuneration. So, I always wanted to do something for the weavers community.”

Pallavi did her schooling from Nashik. Then she did her graduation in electronics and telecommunications from COEP Technological University, Pune. She went on to pursue MBA from IIM Lucknow, in 2014 that is where her journey of entrepreneurship began.

In the first year of her MBA in IIM Lucknow, Pallavi began selling hand embroidered Lucknowi Chikankari Sarees on an e-commerce platform called eBay. She was doing so well that she took care of all her expenses from college fee to other usual expenses throughout her IIM Lucknow management degree. 

However, her parents were not convinced that is why she opted for a well paying job at Goldman Sachs as Business Analyst. But her heart was always into entrepreneurship. She left her job within a year and then resumed her business with the name Indofash Ethnic Private Limited. She ran the business for two years and then shut it down. During the next two years, she got married to orthopedic surgeon, Amol,  and had enough time to ponder upon how she could use her entrepreneurship acumen for betterment of the weaver artisans at a large scale. 

Pallavi launched a new brand called Karagiri in July 2017 with an initial investment of Rs. 3 Lakh only. It is a saree brand that sells beautiful handcrafted sarees weaved by underprivileged artisans from across India. The artisans get fair prices for their remarkable work. The brand offers varieties of sarees such as Kosa Silk, Ikkat, Handwoven Kanjivarams, Banarasi Silk Sarees and much more across the world.

It was started with 40 designs on Karagiri and currently it has more than 15,000 designs on its website right now. It started with just 5 weavers and now it has 2500 weavers families.

By September 2021 Karagiri clocked Rs. 22 crore. In 2022, the couple Pallavi and Amol sold a majority stake to brand aggregator Mensa when Karagiri’s turnover reached Rs. 30 crore.   

FAQ

1. What is meant by “demi fine jewelry”?

Demi-fine jewelry sits between high-end fine jewelry and more affordable fashion jewelry. It’s made with quality materials like sterling silver, gold plating, and semi-precious stones, offering a balance between elegance and affordability.

2. What kinds of products does Palmonas offer?

A large selection of demifine jewelry, including rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and mangalsutra that are skin-friendly and coated in 18k gold, is available at Palmonas.

3. Where can I purchase Palmonas jewelry?

Customers can buy products via their website, as well as from other e-commerce sites like Myntra and Ajio, as well as from their one physical store, which is located in Pune’s Koregaon Park.

4. Who is the owner of Palmonas?

Dr. Amol Patwari, an orthopaedic surgeon by profession, is the company’s founder, and Pallavi Mohadikar, an IIM Lucknow graduate, is co-founder and CEO of Plamonas.