Rohit Gupta has jewelry making in his blood. His grandfather started a business when he was just 14 years old. As the company evolved from focusing on brass to a wider array of metals, scores of Gupta’s family members — uncles, cousins, even his own father — contributed their hard work, creating APPL Silver as it exists today.
In the late 1990s, Gupta had a vision: he recognized that the family business was not flourishing as it could, largely due to its slightly isolated location in Agra, India. He knew that there was much more economic opportunity, especially for exports, just 150 miles away in India’s capital, Delhi.
So when he took over the family jewelry manufacturing business in 1997, he offered the entire factory staff (more than 600 employees) triple their salaries if they moved with him to Delhi. The staff eagerly agreed, and also agreed to Gupta’s request for dramatically increased productivity.
APPL has constantly changed over the years, adapting materials and metals and, more recently, focusing on fine art jewelry. Gupta has found ways to reward his loyal employees beyond increased pay, such as retraining them for new jobs as the business shifts gears and processes are redefined.
The strength of APPL is that everything is done in the factory — chains, stamping, even design. It’s not uncommon for the staff to reengineer a product to fit a certain price point. “Would you believe that we create 500 designs a month? My customers are my designers,” Gupta says.
Another of the keys to success for APPL is the strong relationship that Gupta has developed with large retailers, creating a direct link between his manufacturing operations and retail outlets all over the U.S. and EU.
Gaining this trust and building these relationships was not easy, Gupta says.
“Not too long ago, the ‘Made in India’ tag didn’t stand for the quality that it stands for today,” he says. “There were concerns about purity, quality and conditions. But we’ve come a long way in a short time, and now no one questions the quality of our work.”
One of the ways APPL Silver has made progress in establishing itself with the U.S. and EU jewelry market has been through the help of FedEx. With retailers you don’t get a second chance, so there is little room for error with merchandise issues or delays.
Gupta approached FedEx several years ago and worked very closely with the FedEx team to create a new process for high-value shipments from India, as the service wasn’t yet available in India. He says, “After all of that work, FedEx is like family to us now.”
APPL now exports to more than 35 countries around the world. The company recently wrote another chapter in their story by starting a wholesale jewelry store in the U.S., with plans for an online store soon.
The volatility of the silver industry will be a risk for the company. Since 1997 the price of silver has increased sixfold. Faster FedEx® shipments mean that APPL Silver’s inventory is turned over more quickly — and that more orders are received. Thanks to a very efficient supply chain, APPL has almost no holding costs now. Gupta says, “It’s because of FedEx that we can offer essentially a just-in-time delivery process for our jewelry.”
It’s hard to miss the passion that Gupta has for his business and his growing workforce. His eyes simply sparkle when he talks about it, and it’s no surprise at all to hear him say, “If you want to be a successful jeweler, you have to fall in love with your jewelry.”