Kohima: Following the nation-wide lockdown due to the coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a slowdown in economic activities across the country. Turning the lockdown into an opportunity, 18-year-old jeweler Thungchibemo Ezung, who owns ‘Pipo by Thung Ezung’, took the risk of launching three fresh collections during the lockdown period.
Established in 2016, ‘Pipo by Thung Ezung’ is a homegrown jewelry brand which now caters to international clients, reaching as far as the United Kingdom.
Speaking with EastMojo, Ezung recalled the time he launched a new collection in March this year.
“Just three days after it was launched, the nation-wide lockdown was called. I was able to make only about a 60% sale. That hit hard.”
Ezung’s clients are mostly from outside the state of Nagaland and the lockdown disrupted the delivery of goods and services. “I was also reluctant to take orders and dispatch the goods,” he said.
However, turning the lockdown as an opportunity, Ezung found time to create more contents and bring to life new ideas. Taking the risk, Ezung launched three fresh collections during the lockdown period.
Among the three collections launched during the lockdown period, one is a jewelry combo package, one is a pearl collection and the latest is a basic minimal collection.
Talking about his latest collection which was launched in August end, Ezung said “The collection is about crystals and something precious which looks high fashion but is affordable. The components used are crystals, semi precious stones, and hammered raw brass”.
The collection ranged from layered necklace to single drop crystal earrings. A basic and minimal inspired collection, he said that the current trend in the market is on handmade products which are aesthetic, minimal and basic. “People wants something that can match with any outfit,” he said.
Expressing gratitude to the clients, he revealed that some of the clients made pre-paid orders. “Some were very supportive to take pre-paid orders. When the movements began to ease, I started to dispatch the items. Some influencers were also really kind to buy the products and endorse it,” he added.
For the young entrepreneur, sourcing raw materials has also become a challenge as most resources are sourced from outside the state. He said that resources are even imported from China, however, due to the recent developments between India and China, it has become hard to source goods.
“There are ample resources in Kohima and Dimapur for beginners in jewelry making. But for us a a brand, we need to create something rare and different from others, keeping in mind the quality of the resources we use,” he said.
He revealed that some clients also gives ideas and suggestions for new creations. “I am open to ideas from clients. But I am also aware that they may suggest what they might have seen somewhere else. So, I do not necessarily do it because to maintain the uniqueness of my creations. I am also learning something new,” he added.
Amid the lockdown, Ezung also collaborated with other jewelry makers in the state for a project where they provided free service in up-cycling and repairing damaged jewelries from people who are not necessarily their clients.
Besides this collaboration, Ezung also caters to repairing damaged items from his clients at all times. In 2018, Ezung also trained students at Tening Baptist High school under Peren District in making basic earrings.
As he continues to create limited and personalized collections, he said that his sister helps in maintaining the social media accounts where it actively engages with followers.
A student of Dainty Buds School in Kohima, Ezung said that balancing work and studies has been a challenge. However, he said that the lockdown has given him an opportunity to also balance between the two.
According to him, one reason why most of his clients are from outside the state is because of the growing number of homegrown jewelry brands in the state. He also expressed how jewelry makers are very supportive of each other.
As he also continues to grow as an individual, trying his best to cope up in life, he comes to realization that one must focus on the positive things in life. “It depends on us as individuals whether to look at the positive or the negative. We must also ignore things and focus on ourselves. It is us who will help ourselves grow and not the ones looking down on us. It is equally important to do what we love to do for it will take us to where we want to be,” he optimistically added.
In October last year, Ezung organized the ‘Nagaland First Handmade Jewellery Exhibition’ at Japfü Hotel in Kohima where homegrown jewellery brands from the state came together to exhibit and sell their creations.