Thursday, September 15, 2011

When Ex-Banker Turns Jeweller

The following article was first written for and published on the website It's reprinted here with permission.


After the birth of her son, Neetu gladly hung up her corporate suits to be a stay-at-home mom. When her boy turned two and started attending school, she felt it was opportune to explore her career options and do something meaningful with her time. Soon after, an “eureka” moment helped birth her jewellery business.

Her business idea came by chance.

“My friends always appreciated the kind of jewellery I wore at various occasions, which were gifts from my mom,” recalls Neetu Khanchandani. This interest she received for her made-in-India jewellery sparked an idea.

“I started looking for stores that provide affordable, trendy as well as authentic India-designed jewellery and came to a conclusion that this market was hardly tapped,” elaborates the 31 year-old former banker from India. Spotting the gap in the market, she felt she had chanced upon a good business opportunity and started Entice Jewellery n Accessories.

She reckoned Singapore is a good place to start her business as the wide range of jewellery, from traditional to trendy, modern pieces produced by Indian artisans can cater to the diverse customer base comprising Singaporeans and the expatriate community.

Building the Business

In the beginning, she sold her products at fairs and events. She was heartened by positive responses from customers – both locals and expatriates, and the feedback also helped her gained greater clarity about which segment of the market to target and events to participate in.

To grow the business, she ensured a proper brand image of Entice products is established. “I started putting lot of time and effort in clicking best pictures for online product catalogues, calculating the right pricing, providing good packaging and offering prompt delivery,” she reveals.

Few months later, she launched an online store. “To reach more customers, I started offering the convenience of a web store so customers can order online and I also do home deliveries island-wide,” says Neetu. Then this year, she rented a small retail space at a concept store in City Square Mall.

Meanwhile, she also started developing an online presence through Facebook and Twitter to connect with clients and give them more channels for feedback.

In fact, social media marketing is a crucial part of the business as it allows her to hold continuous dialogue with regular customers as well as prospective clients. “Through my website and Facebook page, I keep my clients updated with interesting facts about jewellery market trends, jewellery-making art and new promotional offers,” she says.

Through these efforts, she was able to create brand awareness and build a pool of regular customers in a relatively short span of time. To date, her sales have increased by more than 50% compared to last year.

No Effort is Ever Wasted

But before you think the business was smooth-sailing and easy, Neetu would tell you it’s not the case.

“Like all entrepreneurs, I had times when I felt like giving up, such as when there were a few decisions that went wrong.

She recalls those times when she would book many events and invested a lot of money in marketing yet ended up with disappointing sales. It was worse that she had left her son in the care of her husband for a whole day and they didn’t have a domestic helper then.

But she also learnt an encouraging lesson through these ‘mistakes’.

“I realized no effort and hard work goes wasted – I got leads from these events and they later contacted me for big orders,” she highlights.

She also has an interesting approach to competition. “I don’t try to fight the competition – I feel that’s waste of time and energy. Instead, I like to look at them as a source of information, improvement and motivation.”

Reflecting on what she thought are personal qualities that contributed to her business growth, she believed her ability to engage the customers, thoughtful choice of products – where each design is hand-picked from manufacturers and are not repeated to offer customers truly unique products, and the courage to experiment with new strategies and marketing trends to build a strong brand image are factors that contributed to her success.

Looking ahead, Neetu has exciting plans for her business. She is planning to establish physical presence in different parts of Singapore while at the same time expand the international market. She currently has customers from Malaysia, Indonesia and Japan, and hopes to reach out to potential customers in US, UK and other parts of the world.

Advice for Aspiring Mumpreneurs:

  1. Be prepared to put in lots of hard work and be patient – success takes time to build.
  2. Think about your business from customer’s perspective – satisfied customers bring more business.
  3. Dare to experiment with new ideas, new marketing concepts and new trends in social networking.


Do visit Neetu's website or Facebook page and check out the accessories. To give you a peek of her collection, I've picked some designs which I personally like, and here are the pictures:

I hope you have enjoyed this story. 
If you (or someone you know) have taken a leap of faith to pursue your passion and are now doing something you love, I would very much like to hear your story. Please email me at and share with me your experience!

Stay tuned next week for more inspiring stories and articles on work and entrepreneurship.


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