Congrats on your brand-new website, valaya.com, JJ! Can you tell me about your first website that was launched in the 90s – was it about your brand, and information about the collection, as there was no e-commerce back then?
Thank you very much. Yes, we were amongst the first ones to create a website, when the Internet was born in the mid-90s and made its way to India. The whole concept of creating a website was unique at that time, but then, websites were not for e-commerce but for information. It was what most websites were in those days – one’s calling card. It was done in a very creative way, of course, and we were glad that we were there when it all started in the virtual world. Over time, we started paying more attention to real-time stores and the website took a backseat, to the extent that our online presence for the past 10 years has been non-existent, as we didn't pay attention to it. Last year, we went through a few business decisions and decided that everything from offline to online has to be taken to the next level.Valaya.com launch teaser
And now, with the launch of your new portal – why was this the perfect time to go online?
This launch is not in response to the pandemic, but part of our brand strategy. We are following a natural trajectory, which was planned a while back, and we have been working on it ever since. Of course, it coincides with the pandemic, and it is a reality that the pandemic has stopped people from coming to brick-and-mortar stores. In such a scenario, e-commerce will act as an added revenue for purchase and opens up a much larger market for us globally.
How will it be a bridge between the online and offline world – will all your stores continue as usual, and will you be adding any new boutiques in India or abroad – in 2021?
When you visit our site, you’ll notice how we have created the same experience as you would expect if you were to visit us. The website is a virtual clone of the real-time 'World of Valaya'. Everything that you get to experience in a real-time store is what you will experience at the virtual store. In terms of merchandise, the website will be a replica of the real-time store and in terms of experience, we have made it as close as possible to the levels of luxury and grandeur that we are associated with.A saree from JJ Valaya's collection
So we have a human touch, with detailed appointments, measurements – everything to make sure that we are not lacking in any way, and the customer goes back happy. We have a defined system for our patrons to connect with our teams for online appointments and online video consultations. It's an elaborate network that we have created where they can talk from anywhere in the world and experience the store first-hand. We first speak to the person in question before we make an appointment for a video walkthrough and understand what the client needs. Only then do we give that person an appointment on another day. In the meantime, we shortlist garments that would appeal to the bride and she is then taken through this selection.
Yes, all our stores will continue as usual, and we will be adding new brick-and-mortar stores in 2021, including our flagship store 'World of Valaya' in Delhi. It will be a large space and would exhibit everything we do, from fashion, lifestyle, jewellery, accessories, interiors, art to photography. We were supposed to launch 'World of Valaya', a month back, which was to be followed by the launch of the website in August. Now, because of the pandemic, the real-time launch has moved to early 2021 and the website is getting launched as it was planned.Sarees by JJ Valaya now available on valaya.com
The main collection is Tabriz – would it include every silhouette we've seen from you in the past – from lehengas to sarees to menswear – is there anything new you would be adding?
The current collection is Tabriz, which is our collection from 2019-2020. However, with the India Couture Week happening on September 18, we will be launching our new collection, for 2020-2021, which will also be available on the website. As far as Tabriz is concerned, it is a collection inspired by mystical Persia of the 16th-19th centuries. Currently, we don't have our past creations available on the website. However, in the future, there will be an archive section on the website, which will house all the timeless pieces of JJ Valaya, from inception, which people have related to in the past, and even now. For example, we have a few items that people have been buying from the last 12-14 years because they are so perennial, classic and timeless, that people want them anyway.Couturier JJ Valaya
Are these made to order on the website? How long does it take to deliver an outfit anywhere abroad?
It depends on various factors. There are some products that we can deliver within a week, like jewellery and accessories. But mostly, if it concerns a bespoke and couture garment, there is always a time period of 6 to 12 weeks, depending on what the garment is. As in the real-time experience, when people come and order with us, they know it’s going to take two months to get ready, and are used to it.A saree with JJ Valaya's signature chevron pattern
It's interesting that you have made one of your favourite motifs – the chevron – into a separate collection – what was the reason for this?
Chevron, undoubtedly is our favourite motif, inspired from the chevrons found in the architecture of Rajasthan and in the Art Deco movement. Therefore, we made an entire new collection inspired from the chevron, called 'Shifting Leaves Chevron'. The reason behind this is that the chevron is our brand staple and identity, and we strongly propagate it. It is a pattern unique to us and is our signature. Every year we will be taking out an interpretation of this pattern as a limited-edition collection. This year's interpretation is going to be introduced online and next year, it will be another collection.The new Ika jacket by JJ Valaya The new Ika jacket is the younger sibling of the Alika jacket by JJ Valaya
I recall when the Alika jacket was launched – how can one create a bespoke Ika jacket via the website – what are the options in terms of colour and fabrics?
Ika is the younger sibling of our cult iconic jacket the 'Alika'. It is the cooler version which people can configure for themselves on screen, by choosing a fabric, colour, print, piping, and embroidery details of their choice. Besides being something the wearer can customize for herself, it is also reversible. On one side is the monochromatic jacket, and the other side is a coloured one. So, you can wear the same jacket during the day and night by simply turning it inside out. It is an exciting kind of DIY – people can enjoy the same quality and luxury but in a completely new way. In terms of fabric, there will be raw silk and linen to choose from. Otherwise, this is a print-strong jacket, which will get a touch of embellishments if required. Patrons can also purchase it as a completely printed jacket and that will, of course, reflect in the price.Menswear by JJ Valaya
Can you tell us the story of the Jhalamand House capsule collection – is it an ode to the Jhalamand thikana itself – since I know you were born in Jodhpur – what references from there have you imbibed – and is it menswear and home linen?
Jhalamand House was our residence in Jodhpur when I was born. The line is an ode to my birthplace and has nothing to do with Jhalamand per se. It's an online exclusive, and a bespoke experience curated for the patrons. The collection is a line of signature men's shirts in cotton and linen. There are only three styles and two colourways, white and black, which men are most comfortable with. They are signature shirts that one can identify as a staple from our brand. www.valaya.com
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