Saroja Yeramilli spent over a decade at Tanishq, one of India’s largest jewelry brands owned by the Tatas. In 2016, she launched Melorra, a digital-first jewelry brand, to “bridge the wardrobe mismatch” by offering jewelry designs that complement western wear for young Indian women. Bengaluru-based Melorra, which this month raised $24 million, has so far delivered to over 2,700 towns in India as it ramps up to become a “fast fashion” jewelry brand.

What is the one big misconception about e-commerce in India?

The biggest misconception about internet businesses in India is that people assume most of the buyers are from metros or from tier 2 cities. The truth is that a lot of buying is happening from semi-urban India and also rural India because they lack access to great products and brands with good quality.

How have you seen a shift in Indian shoppers’ appetite to buy gold online? 

Gold is integral to Indian society and throughout Melorra’s journey, we have seen the love for gold only grow. Online sales of jewelry are growing at a tremendous pace. We witness an almost equal demand from both metro cities as well as smaller towns and semi-rural areas. However, the rural and tier-II, tier-III markets are growing much faster than the urban markets. 

You recently opened your eighth store. As an online brand, why do you feel the need to have an offline presence? 

Melorra will always remain an online-first brand. We have grown 200% year on year in our online business and have seen average price points go up 100%. This shows the consumer is comfortable with shopping for jewelry online. Our opening of physical stores is a strategic move to deliver greater access and experience to our consumers and increase brand awareness. Consumers are seamlessly navigating from online to offline and vice-versa.

How has the pandemic impacted the demand for gold in India?

We have seen an increased demand for lightweight, functional and trendy gold jewelry from across India over the past two years. With a revenue of over 350 crore rupees (~ $47 million), we are among the largest direct-to-customer brands in India. Our aim is to touch $1 billion in revenue within five years.

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