A GLIT­TER­ING LEGACY

The House of MBj suc­cess­fully com­pletes 120 years in the busi­ness of jew­ellery mak­ing. To mark this glit­ter­ing suc­cess, we in­ter­acted with Mayank Soni, the manag­ing di­rec­tor and one of the four broth­ers who run the cen­tury-old fam­ily busi­ness.

Marwar - - Profile - Text Anurima Das

The House of MBj is a jew­ellery brand trusted across In­dia and around the world as torch­bear­ers of the royal stan­dards of Ratan­garh (in Ra­jasthan). By com­bin­ing th­ese with the best jew­ellery-mak­ing tra­di­tions of Ben­gal, MBj has been en­sur­ing qual­ity and nov­elty through seven gen­er­a­tions. Start­ing with whole­sal­ing and ex­port­ing, they en­tered the re­tail mar­ket in 1982 in Kolkata. and to­day they have sev­eral show­rooms. That apart, the house also has its own state-of-the-art man­u­fac­tur­ing unit in Delhi, where gold, polki and di­a­mond jew­ellery is crafted. The in­cep­tion The House of MBj was founded in the year 1897, in Churu, Ra­jasthan by Mayank Soni’s fore­fa­ther, Prithvi­raj Kadel. His legacy was car­ried for­ward by Bi­las­rai Kadel, Su­ra­j­mal Kadel, Moti­lal Kadel, Ba­narsi Lal Kadel, Kailash Chan­dra Soni, Ka­mal Kishore Soni, Par­manand Soni and Vijay Ku­mar Soni, and to­day the man at the helm of af­fairs is Mayank Soni.

“Our fore­fa­thers were mostly gold­smiths in Ra­jasthan, who used to pro­duce tra­di­tional gold jew­ellery. Dur­ing the first few years, our clients were mainly the lo­cals, traders and mer­chants,” says Mayank. Thus Prithvi­ra­jji be­gan his jour­ney as a gold­smith in Churu, serv­ing the lo­cals, as well as vis­it­ing mer­chants from dif­fer­ent states. His suc­ces­sor, Bi­las­raiji, moved to Kolkata for bet­ter prospects, fol­lowed by Su­ra­j­malji and Moti­lalji and they fol­lowed in the foot­steps of Prithvi­ra­jji. “Our great grand­fa­ther Moti­lalji died at the age of 46, leav­ing our grand­fa­ther with the big re­spon­si­bil­ity of tak­ing care of the busi­ness at a very young age. His vi­sion and ef­forts at the right time led him to start the whole­sale busi­ness along with man­u­fac­tur­ing,” Mayank adds.

The next gen­er­a­tion, in­clud­ing his fa­ther and un­cles (Kailash Soni, Ka­mal Soni, Par­manand Soni and Vijay Soni) started the re­tail busi­ness. “And in my gen­er­a­tion, we are walk­ing in the foot­steps of the last two gen­er­a­tions, mak­ing The House of MBj a big­ger brand na­tion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally,” says an up­beat Mayank.

Seven gen­er­a­tions of ex­cel­lence

Since 1897, The House of MBj has cher­ished the im­por­tance of her­itage, style and in­no­va­tion. From be­ing gold­smiths to be­com­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers and whole­salers dur­ing 1900’s, they have come a long way and car­ried the ba­ton suc­cess­fully through the gen­er­a­tions. Then, in 1982, they grew into a re­tail busi­ness and started their maiden re­tail show­room at AC Mar­ket in Kolkata. In 1988, they ex­tended their foot­print and opened a sec­ond show­room at Bara Bazaar. The ex­pan­sion con­tin­ued to stretch their hori­zon fur­ther and the brand suc­cess­fully opened their third show­room in Jaipur in 1992. In 1996, they opened their fourth show­room in New Delhi and in 1998, a fifth show­room at Lord Sinha Road, in Kolkata.

Though no more show­rooms have been added in re­cent times, the growth has con­tin­ued. “In the year 2015, we opened our man­u­fac­tur­ing unit with a cor­po­rate of­fice and a bou­tique show­room in Delhi, which has been a big mile­stone for the brand,” says Mayank. “It has been an ex­tremely il­lus­tri­ous jour­ney for the fam­ily, and it is by win­ning the trust and pa­tron­age of cus­tomers that the com­pany has grown from strength to strength over seven gen­er­a­tions.”

Tak­ing the fam­ily legacy for­ward was a nat­u­ral for Mayank Soni and he has been do­ing just that

since he stepped into the busi­ness in the year 2000, while he was still study­ing for his grad­u­a­tion. Tak­ing over the reins, he be­gan en­rich­ing the busi­ness with his strate­gies and cre­ative in­sights and then went on to pur­sue his grad­u­a­tion in gems and di­a­monds from GIA and then a jew­ellery pro­duc­tion course from Me­tallo No­bile, Italy. “Dur­ing the course, I care­fully stud­ied and an­a­lysed dif­fer­ent mar­kets, mar­ket trends, con­sumer be­hav­iour and prac­tices, among other things and tried to gain an un­der­stand­ing of the jew­ellery in­dus­try at large,” says Mayank Soni. “This knack of un­der­stand­ing the big­ger pic­ture and ap­ply­ing it in smaller ways has helped the brand grow in many ways. Cur­rently, I am based in Delhi, run­ning the cor­po­rate of­fice of The House of MBj, mainly look­ing af­ter the cre­ative, brand­ing, mar­ket­ing and pro­duc­tion de­part­ments.”

The other di­rec­tors of The House of MBj at present are his four younger broth­ers, Gau­tam, Gunjan, Ab­hishek and Aayush Soni, who di­rectly re­port to their un­cle Vijay Soni, who is the CEO of the The House of MBj.

Craft­ing glo­ries

Jew­ellery de­fines and adds glory to mo­ments of cel­e­bra­tion, and in that they ex­ude a sense of pride with their de­sign, crafts­man­ship and ex­quis­ite beauty. Ev­ery piece is unique in its own right and ev­ery jew­eller tries to give his best to his de­signs. And MBj is no dif­fer­ent. Their con­stant en­deav­our has been to shape each piece of jew­ellery with ex­tra­or­di­nary fer­vour and de­sign­ing each piece ar­tis­ti­cally to re­flect a mas­ter­ful amal­ga­ma­tion of the tra­di­tional and mod­ern.

MBj’s ex­clu­sive polki and di­a­mond jew­ellery pieces are show­stop­pers in ev­ery way. The de­signs are a beau­ti­ful

It has been an ex­tremely il­lus­tri­ous jour­ney for the fam­ily, and it is by win­ning the trust and pa­tron­age of cus­tomers that the com­pany has grown from strength to strength

jux­ta­po­si­tion of the old and new, and it is through the union of th­ese two el­e­ments that they are able to up­hold their legacy, while, of course, pay­ing due at­ten­tion to con­tem­po­rary trends. Their beau­ti­ful kadas, heavy chok­ers and ear­rings are all styled to be ver­sa­tile and each piece can be worn as a state­ment piece and ef­fort­lessly ac­ces­sorized with both In­dian and West­ern at­tire. The house also spe­cialises in con­tem­po­rary pieces that are a per­fect blend of moder­nity and tra­di­tion. The lim­ited edi­tion pieces range from beau­ti­ful chand­balas em­bel­lished with pearls and di­a­monds, glit­ter­ing chan­de­liers set with di­a­monds, pea­cock kadas, chunky cock­tail rings and bracelets, ban­gles em­bel­lished with di­a­monds, heavy chok­ers adorned with pre­cious stones that trans­port one to the by­gone era.

Talk­ing about them Mayank Soni says, “We of­fer ex­cel­lent crafts­man­ship, high qual­ity stan­dards and an ex­haus­tive range of clas­sic and con­tem­po­rary de­signs. With a clien­tele spread across In­dia and the world, we con­tinue to feel in­spired to cre­ate time­less jew­ellery that are a class apart, while en­sur­ing that there’s some­thing for ev­ery­one.” Liv­ing up to its age-old val­ues and tra­di­tions of un­com­pro­mis­ing qual­ity, un­matched crafts­man­ship and ex­cel­lence in ser­vice, The House of MBj has carved a niche for it­self amongst dis­cern­ing cus­tomers glob­ally, in­clud­ing en­tire gen­er­a­tions of dis­tin­guished fam­i­lies. Car­ry­ing for­ward th­ese val­ues, the com­pany con­tin­ues to ex­tend its pres­ence across dif­fer­ent mar­kets through both its stores as well as par­tic­i­pa­tion in pres­ti­gious ex­hi­bi­tions glob­ally. The hori­zon seems lim­it­less for The House of MBj and even 120 years later, the brand seems young and ready for the fu­ture. There is so much that they bring to their pa­trons that they truly de­serve a spe­cial place in ev­ery jew­ellery box.

Stand­ing (l-r): Ab­hishek Soni, Gunjan Soni, Mayank Soni, Aayush Soni, Gau­tam Soni; Sit­ting (l-r): Ka­mal Kishore Soni, Kailash Chan­dra Soni, Vijay Kr Soni

Clock­wise from top, left: Polki choker with blue enam­elling from The House of MBj; a polki enam­elled maangtika; a pair of gold kadas in tem­ple jew­ellery aes­thet­ics; crafts­men at work at the MBj ate­lier

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