Imagine having your fiancée’s image engraved on your wedding ring? Thanks to Vivek Krishna, 29, and Surya Manickam Krishna, 26, you can personalise your gold jewellery for your special moments. These jewels are made using technologies like 3D printing and laser engraving. With more than 10 lakh revenues in the first six months of operations, Augrav.com has proved to be a viable business that has takers although the founders had their doubts in the initial stages. A Computer Science Engineer from Coimbatore Institute of Technology, Vivek completed his MS at Indiana University and has worked with IBM and General Sentiment, a social media and news media analytics company in New York. Surya has an MSc degree in Software engineering from PSG Tech, Coimbatore, after which he worked with Adobe for three years.
Augrav.com was started in October 2014 before which there were two iterations in the business model. Surya says, “When we built the first version, Sachin Tendulkar was retiring from test cricket and we thought it would be a good idea to circulate gold coins with his face on it. The idea of putting anybody’s face on a coin germinated then. Initially, we used dye and it took more than two-three weeks for it to get done. We found that using lasers minimised time. We did manage to sell a few coins but nothing that would make us sit up and concentrate all our energy on this” It was when they got an email from an old customer requesting a coin with his face on it, they realised that this could be something big. They started work all over again. Vivek says, “That one email gave birth to Augrav.com”.
They immediately made a one page website selling gold coins and marketed it. Vivek adds, “There is this ‘my photo’ factor involved in it which has caught the fancy of people”. Augrav is even planning to add a new line of products that would add value to its brand philosophy of “personalised jewellery”, including glow-in-the-dark pendants with kids’ names and making unique jewellery. Augrav is the only brand in the country which makes personalised jewellery, and Vivek and Surya believe their competitors are Shapeways in the US and Polychemy, a Singapore company that specialises in making 3D jewellery.
Surya says when they were selling initially, understanding the market, negotiating with vendors, charting marketing plans, and all the processes were all difficult. But everything improved given time. They now use online marketing as a means of reaching out to customers other than putting up their wares on display at premium hotels. Augrav was started with an initial capital of `5 lakh and they are aiming to break the `1 crore cordon by the end of the year.