When the Peshwas were defeated at the hands of Britishers in 1818, Maharashtra was filled with unrest. Families started migrating to different places in search for job or business. One of such families was Gadgil. They settled in Sangli and with the help of few people, Ganesh Gadgil started jewellery business. Perhaps they are the only jeweller in India to have a shop at same location for last 186 years. The business which started from a small hamlet in Sangli, has reached Dubai as well as United States today. Bollywood heartthrob Salman Khan and timeless beauty Madhuri Dixit are endorsing their brand.
The brand became popular in Sangli as Purshottam Narayan Gadgil (PNG). Why can’t a Marathi manoos become a successful businessman? This urged them to come to Pune and start jewellery business. As all family members joined same business they had to accommodate all of them in it as well, for which size of the business had to be increased. This was also one of the major reasons to migrate to a bigger city. Gadgil’s next generation –Vishwanath,Nanasaheb and Dajikaka took the challenge of growing the business.
During those days all jewellers had their shops at Sonya maruti chowk. One of Gadgil’s relatives, who practised astrology, advised them to start a shop on Laxmi road. He predicted more success at this place and his prediction was true. Within a year, Gadgils received an overwhelming success. Unfortunately, Dajikaka lost his brothers at an early age. So, he had to shoulder a big responsibility of retaining the success and growing the business.
“Dajikaka was an extra ordinary man. He is my idol. I learnt tricks and trades of business from him. He was extremely good in maintaining public relations”, says Saurabh Gadgil, grandson of Dajikaka and current chairman of PNG jewellers.
Dajikaka knew the pulse of the market. When they migrated from Sangli to Pune he immediately realised the difference in the consumer psychology of both the cities. Punekars are very selective and product sensitive. They would first comment on the product and then on price. Not only the customers but also the shopkeepers were very different.
Some of the shopkeeperswere so arrogant that customers would get scared to even enter their shop, while some would not dare to ask queries. The customer-shopkeeper relationship of yesteryear and that of present dayis as different as chalk and cheese. Dajikaka changed this scenario. He was a people’s man. His customers were like his family members. There never used to be business meet but always an informal meet. People would love his company and would insist to buy only from him. During those days, there were hardly any options of savings and investments. Dajikaka would advise people to buy gold for emergency. “Today, customers admit that the gold that they bought then was later used to pay medical bills, used as mortgage to procure loanetc.”, averred Mr. Saurabh.
“The customers who would purchase from our shop for their marriage would also invite Dajikaka for the function. He would make it a point to go to their weddings. Such was his rapport with the customers. This trust was developed because of the purity in business”, added Mr. Saurabh. In gold business, trust is very important. “Dajikaka would always tell us that buying gold is a precious moment of everyone’s life. People spend their hard earned savings on gold. One should respect the sentiments of buyer and try to make his moment memorable! If you fail to deliver pure gold then you will not remain in the market for a longer time”,explained Mr. Saurabh.
“Initially, many people would check the purity of gold bought from PNG in some other showroom but PNG always passed the quality test. By gaining the confidence of people, the customers themselves became the brand ambassadors of PNG. Customer’s certification is the best certification. By word of mouth publicity and effective advertising, PNG became a part of every household. PNG became synonymous to gold. And when it came to buying gold, people did not look for anything else but PNG. Such was the credibility of our brand”, iterates Mr. Gadgil.
Mr. Saurabh who had completed MBA – Finance (Foreign Trade), started assisting his grandfather and father in the business. During late 1990s, PNG was facing some export problems. Saurabh went to Singapore and resolved the exports issues.
Under the able aegis of Mr. Saurabh, the expansion began in early 2000. It was the turning point for PNG. It was because of this young entrepreneur, PNG today has become a global name.
Despite fierce competition, people from far off would come to PNG’s Laxmi Road showroom. For customers’ convenience, Saurabh urged to start a showroom in Paud. In 2001, they inaugurated their showroom in Paud and rest is history. Today PNG has 16 showrooms which include overseas showrooms in the US and Dubai.
Apart from purity and transparency in business, PNG is popular for its craftsmanship. People are lured by the designs they offer. Even Salman Khan couldn’t resist getting associated with them. PNG will launch jewellery line in the name of Salman Khan’s foundation ‘Being Human’ jewellery.
“I strongly believe till the time you are enjoying the business, you should be in it. The day you start getting bored you should quit. One shouldn’t be unfair with business. The secret of our success is also our deep market research and consistency. Though we have lesser showrooms but all of them are doing extremely well and as a company, we are growing fast,” added Mr. Saurabh.
When asked about brand colour, Mr. Gadgil answered, “Purple is considered to be a rich colour which is extensively used by royal families of kings and queens in France”.
Mr. Saurabh reminisced, “Dajikaka is an ideal businessman. He had no enemies. He always wanted to meet new people and make new friends. At the age of 85, he joined Rotary club. He was so active that in his late nineties he accompanied me to Thane to find a place for showroom. He retired after my father”.
One can’t grow business without such passion and zest. Young businessmen should take inspiration from Dajikaka.