Rank(a) no 1 in Jewellery!

Nikhil Ballal

Remove word ‘No’ from your directory then success will beckon you with ‘Yes’, says the Fatechand Ranka, owner of noted Ranka Jewellers. The jewellery brand which is currently in its 138th year had a very humble beginning with a meagre 20sq.feet showroom in Pune. Today they have 10 showrooms under their belt, out of which one is in Thane.

Rankas have their roots in a small remote village from Rajasthan. To earn a living, Fatechand’s great grandfather was compelled to come to Pune in early 19th century. He started working in a small jewellery shop with a salary of Rs 2. Though he was illiterate he knew the nuances of business. After working for few years he started his own shop in 1908. My father and step-uncle use to work together in his shop, tells Mr. Ranka, proudly.

In 1967, my brother and a Gujrathi person came together and started a jewellery shop in the name of Ranka Jewellers but unfortunately they incurred huge losses and were forced to pull down within a year. Later in 1968, Ranka Jewellers was started by my father and uncle on the auspicious occasion of Rakhi Poornima.

In the same year, our government implemented gold control act which prohibited citizens from owning gold in the form of bars and coins. During those days, gold biscuits business was lucrative. Gold prices had started increasing, so much that later in 1975, RBI started selling gold in auction. We purchased gold in auction and our business started flourishing.

Though my father is a school dropout he was always ahead of times. Pune’s first air conditioned showroom was started by him in 1979. During those days, when color television, semi-automatic washing machines were making an entry, he dared to buy an AC.  My father would tell us buying gold is a precious moment in anyone’s life. This moment should be made more memorable with convenience and comfort. So, the AC, quipped Mr. Fatechand.

On the inauguration day, there was a queue of customers. The line spread to almost two kilometres. When I was greeting all our customers I realised that collector of Pune was also standing in queue. That incident proved the goodwill earned by my father, proudly says Mr. Fatechand.

Family business was my second choice. After completing law I started practising. But the corruption and unethical practices compelled me to shed the black coat and I join our jewellery business, states Mr. Ranka.

We were the first one in Pune to introduce ‘bin dagyache dagine’ for the betterment of customers. It was an example of good craftsmanship where the making of ornaments was without any joints or soldiering, you can say.  Initially, we faced many oppositions and allegations within our industry. But such ornaments saved money of customers and also assured them purity.

My father is my idol. He underwent lot of sufferings, toiled hard to achieve this remarkable success. After working tirelessly for 18-20 hours, my step grandmother would hit him with a stick while he was sleeping, but he never complained. On the contrary, he respected her and he made her inaugurate our AC showroom, says Mr. Ranka, who had become visibly emotional.

I never wanted to get stranded in the boring equation of 10X6 =60! When asked what he meant by that, he smiled and replied, usually a person goes to office at 10 comes back by 6 and retires by 60. Today I am 60 plus but still working for 12 hours a day and enjoying my life. It helps me to do business and also indulge in social work, says Mr. Ranka. Mr. Ranka is a part of many social organisations like Lions and also office bearers of many traders and businessmen associations at state level.

We strongly believe that customers demand for quality supported with love and affection. Being Marwaris, initially it was difficult to adapt to the Maharashtrian culture, traditions and trends. Especially, when you are in Pune, you have to be extra careful about all these things, said Mr. Ranka naughtily.

But we were successful in creating a place in the heart of Punekars. Thousands of Maharashtrians are buying gold from us consistently from last six decades. Many tell us that it is not just buying gold in Ranka but buying prosperity. They believe that it is a good omen, many have worthwhile experiences to corroborate that smiles Mr.Ranka.

I always tell my jeweller friends. We should never compete with each other instead we should compete with other industries like real estate, automobile or stock market. Every person has a certain portfolio of spending money where jewellery is an indispensable part of their lives.

Never compromise with ethics. If you follow ethics you will get success, though little late but you will get it for sure. We don’t compromise with purity, many would recheck and challenge our purity but we always won that challenge, advises to upcoming members of his fraternity Mr. Ranka.

Change is inevitable in life. If you don’t change in business then you would be forced to change your business. Jewellery designs trends keep changing. After every 20 kilometres you have to designs change. Within Pune, we offer different designs catering to that particular locality. Prior to our opening showroom in Thane, we studied Thanekars, understood their tastes and preferences and according introduced new line of designer jewellery to them. Today, we are getting good response from Thane.

You have to be ready with everything. You can never predict which type of customer is coming to your showroom. People would be surprised to know that Kashmiri Mangal sutras have a huge demand in our Pune showrooms, tells Mr. Ranka.

Rankas next generation is also managing the show in full swing. Mr. Shailesh Ranka, son of Fatechand Ranka has taken the business to a next level with innovative approach. The bejewelled family is on its way to clinch one more landmark soon.



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