In Conversation with Slisha Kankariya of With Clarity
Describe your business in a few words?
With Clarity is the only online, direct to consumer home try-on engagement ring company that marries affordability with expertise and convenience with a personal touch. Because getting engaged is exceptional and how you shop for a ring should be too. We craft all jewelry in house with purity, quality and authenticity. With our Free Home Preview, you can try replicas of over 8000 different combinations of your favorite engagement ring styles at home. Then return to our site to fully customize your ring with a diamond. Rings you can browse online and try at home. Free Home Preview, Free Engraving, Free Resizing, Conflict-Free Diamonds. We’re deliberately different.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
Becoming an entrepreneur was all about positively disrupting the industry I grew up in. I’m a third generation jeweler in the diamond industry. My company With Clarity bridges the gap between online and offline shopping, replacing the uncertainties of traditional shopping with a hands on experience at home. Consumers try replicas of their favorite ring styles before they buy. I decided to start this company to change the way consumers think about and shop for jewelry online and eliminate the need to ever walk into a jewelry store again. Being an entrepreneur is not just about having an idea, it’s about effectively using industry knowledge and customer insights to solve a problem for a customer. In this way, you’re transforming and causing positive changes within an industry and carving out a place for yourself.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
Prior to starting With Clarity, I was working at The Knot Ecommerce shop, which is the largest supply of wedding related items in the world. During this time, I met and got engaged to my co-founder Anubh. We decided to blend his background of finance and diamonds with mine of marketing and ecommerce to provide a completely new and transformative way to shop for engagement rings.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Having a family entrepreneurial background and being brought up around it, I’ve always known that I have wanted to do something transformative and exciting in the world of business.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
The future of retail is seamlessly blending online and offline to create the best shopping experience. While it is stress-free to purchase a low cost item online, it can be stress inducing to purchase something that has a high dollar value and emotional value sight unseen online. The best retailers will be able to offer an online experience that alleviates the concerns about purchasing something a consumer hasn’t held in their hands. We offer a free at home preview that allows customers to see a highly realistic 3D printed ring customized for metal color, carat weight and diamond shape. Because we offer this service for free, customers gain confidence in our design and quality. This blend of online and offline that brings convenience to their doorstep goes a long way in blending the best of online and offline.
From the beginning we have positioned our brand as customer focused as opposed to a store that functions behind an opaque wall. This has really helped with the relatability of the brand as well as the trust that is needed for such a high value purchase.
Having a consistent and transparent story is the best way to ensure long term growth and a sustained brand image that builds upon itself- instead of one that confuses or has to be reinvented with the changing times.
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
1. Building consumer trust is difficult. People have high expectations and high doubt when it comes to purchasing a high ticket/luxury item and assuaging those fears while winning their business requires persistence and determination.
2. Perfecting the quality of your product to ensure that you can be on par with other luxury brands that have a perfected product. Product perfection is an iterative process. So a startup must work at a furious pace to make their product and shopping experience perfect.
3. Competing with the big budget marketing campaigns that other luxury brands have. It is tough to establish a startup within the luxury space, as successful luxury brands already have a large budget. In order to compete a startup must differentiate itself with a unique shopping experience/product.
4. Establishing an Organic Presence. In the saturated online space, the only way to have a consistent flow of traffic and orders coming in is to have organic presence. This requires establishing industry expertise, rapidly creating unique content and publishing it. This can take time and resources.
5. Building a Team With Expertise: Building a brand requires attracting the best talent available. It can be difficult to attract the best talent as a startup since many may not want to work with a small team or a young business.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
Seeing the positive customer reviews pour in is the best and most honest evaluation of the fact that we were doing something right. For people to take the time to write paragraphs worth of reviews detailing their happy moments as they got engaged, was a great validation of the fact that we had nailed it in terms of product market fit and a shopping experience that resonated well with our core audience.
When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?
Do you thrive in an environment where you will have to learn something new everyday?
Invest in a talented team that is innovating constantly. You need to ensure that the team that you surround yourself with is talented and capable and constantly coming up with new ideas. It helps to have new ideas to overcome challenges that you will encounter along the way. Idea people who can execute are the best to hire. They don’t have to be geniuses but they do have to take initiative.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
There is no such thing as over-communicating with a customer. Treat each customer and each order like you’re making it for a friend. Communicate with customers to ensure that they are getting every update possible. This will ensure that customers are happy and alleviate their stresses even in the case of a delay or change to their order. Proactively address concerns without your customer having to reach out to you.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
Taking risks and doing experiments is a worthwhile use of time. It’s always better to try, record data and then assess how to move forward. Trying to perfect an idea before launch is not a good way to make progress.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
Focusing on goals and family.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
Work life balance isn’t about time, schedules and calendars, nor is it about blocking out time to do things. It’s more of a mental balance that you achieve in terms of being able to push whatever items need to be prioritized up to the top of the list. It’s also knowing how to multitask so nothing gets lost in the shuffle.
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
I was a radio show host for one summer.
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
Lists! Calendar alerts for recurring tasks. Tackle the task you want to do least, first. It will create a sense of accomplishment and get you over the hurdle of procrastinating.
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
Making each day a learning opportunity so that in sum, your days lead you down a path of growth.