Jul 28, 2016 | By Benedict

Indian online jewelry startup Melorra, which raised $5 million in a successful seed round earlier this year, is using 3D printing to carry out individual orders in a cost-efficient manner. 60% of Melorra designs are now available for under Rs 30,000 ($450).

Melorra CEO and founder Saroja Yeramilli

With its ability to facilitate on-the-spot manufacturing of one-off items, 3D printing is today enabling startups of all kinds to get off the ground quickly and efficiently. Gone are the days of big outlays on large and potentially risky orders, with businesses now choosing to 3D print their products as and when they are needed. The jewelry market is no exception to this additive manufacturing craze, with many entrepreneurs launching 3D printed jewelry businesses and selling their products online to an enthusiastic audience of futuristic fashionistas. One of the most promising jewelry startups of the year is Melorra, an online shop launched by Bengaluru-based Saroja Yeramilli earlier this year, which has been using 3D printing to produce high-end wares for the modern Indian woman.

According to Yeramilli, Melorra was created to address what the CEO calls the “wardrobe mismatch” in India. Although the national market is estimated to be worth around $60 billion, the third-largest in the world, jewelry in India is primarily produced for special occasions like weddings. Because of this, Yeramilli spotted an opportunity to launch an everyday range of jewelry which women could wear with their work or leisure clothes. In short, the Melorra founder believes her business is way ahead of the curve in terms of contemporary trends: “We understand global fashion trends and each of our collections is inspired by those same trends,” Yeramilli told The Economic Times. “The industry has always designed jewelry in a silo without being in touch with the changing needs of Indian women.”

By using a 3D printer to create many of its designs, Melorra has been able to cut out large and unnecessary expenditures. It has also been able to offer customers customized designs, at no extra cost to the customer or the company. Combine this with the fact that Melorra operates online through a smartphone app, and it is clear that Yeramilli has created an enterprise that could prove to be  highly profitable. “With 3D printing, we do not have to worry about the number of orders,” the CEO said. “It gives us the power to cater to an individual order and at the same time be very cost efficient about it.”

Melorra's online storefront

By using a “no inventory” model, Melorra is able to cut down on storage space requirements, and can also launch new collections at a moment’s notice, without having to offload old and unwanted stock. This on-demand element of additive manufacturing has long been touted as an important reason for companies to adopt the burgeoning technology, but few have actually made the leap into purely additive terrain. According to Yeramilli, this can be a potentially costly error of judgment: “Keeping inventory creates concerns about liquidation and jewelers are therefore not able to make way for new collections," she cautioned.

It is this futuristic 3D printing business model which has encouraged investors to back the young jewelry company, with venture capital firm Lightbox Ventures stumping up $5 million in January to support the company’s goal of expanding its staff, building its brand, and enhancing its technology platform. “Jewellery largely has been traditional and the industry has not evolved with the evolving woman’s fashion in the country. Melorra is looking to change that,” said Siddharth Talwar, co-founder and partner at Lightbox Ventures, back in January. “The problem with offline brands is distribution and for online brands distribution is a headache; Melorra is trying to solve that problem with technology. Also offline brands have not been able to do something on low-price points.”

Melorra currently has in-house designers in India, the US, and the UK, with all production taking place in India. Over 60% of the company’s designs are available for less than Rs 30,000, which converts to roughly $450. Delivery can be expected within 10 days of an order.



Posted in 3D Printer Company



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