An Exclusive Interview with Ashish Pethe (Zonal Chairman West, GJC & Committee Member, GJS) 1. The efficiency, effectiveness, and usability of the GJS Virtual platform has been well received by both sellers and buyers. We would like to know in detail, how does the virtual platform benefit Indian retailers? \u00a0 The most important aspect of GJS Virtual is that it is an annual B2B initiative. So, for us, it becomes very helpful as we do not have to wait for specific exhibition days to see products from sellers. Also, the 6 exhibitions allow witnessing new collections and network with new manufacturers. India is a large country with every state offering a specific form of jewelry that they have expertise over. All that is readily available at the click of a button, everything on one platform. This is revolutionary. \u00a0 2.Would you like to participate in such future endeavors like GJS Virtual organized by GJC? \u00a0 Absolutely! Digital is the way forward. Pandemic has simply forced us to embrace the inevitable change that the gems and jewelry industry rightly needed. Plus, GJC has always identified the needs of the industry and has been proactive. I am sure any future endeavor by GJC would also be in line with the present requirement of the trade. \u00a0 3. Although the pandemic has taken its toll, there have been positives. Markets like US and China are coming back strongly. Do you think participating in GJS Virtual will help you to reap benefits in the current scenario? \u00a0 Not just US or China, India is coming back strongly too. It is just a matter of time that we will bounce back 100%. Meanwhile, to counter the lack of traveling and replenish our inventory for the upcoming festival season, GJS Virtual is just what we need. Digital buying makes it safe, less time-consuming, and cost-effective. The overall process becomes much planned and seamless with active participation from all members of the team.\u00a0 \u00a0 4.The virtual expo promises a variety of jewelry, insights, market trends, and networking opportunities. Also, Jewellery stores and retailers are opening their shutters with a series of unlocking phases. How do you think, the amalgamation of endeavors from both sides will help retailers in the coming days? \u00a0 Due to the pandemic, there have been no exhibitions throughout the year. Hence, no collection launches from manufacturers. Also, the festive season is expected to see a lot of buzzes as the end consumer has been missing out on the fun. So, a virtual expo will bridge the existing gap between demand and supply. The retailers who are back to business would need to replenish their stock for the festive demand. With slim chances of physical exhibitions this year, GJS Virtual will prove to be a great platform for the sellers to showcase their offerings and the buyers will get an opportunity to choose from a large variety. \u00a0 5. With festivals around the corner, how will the GJS Virtual platform help Indian retailers in these crucial moments? \u00a0 The most important role of GJS Virtual in this situation is to bridge the gap between the sellers and the buyers. With no physical exhibitions across the year, the sellers have not been able to present their collection to the retailers. Also, the festive season will see demand from the consumers as they have not been able to celebrate any festival for the last 6 months. To cater to the surge in demand, retailers need to stock up. GJS Virtual will play a major role in this. \u00a0 6. How has the virtual exhibition (GJS VIRTUAL) helped you to learn and explore the new technology arising in our industry? \u00a0 Extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures. Digital is the future and the change is inevitable. However, with the availability of physical exhibitions, there was resistance to change. GJC has successfully converted a threat into an opportunity which is a great move for the industry. The learning has been immense as a lot of research has undergone in the background trying to source the best for trade. The jewelry industry, unlike other industries, has specific needs that have been taken care of by GJC. The need to showcase jewelry in a studio, using an HD camera, a one-on-one meeting with no time restrictions, there are so many features which are our industry specific. We can truly say that GJS Virtual is an initiative by the industry and for the industry. \u00a0 7. Among the features offered by GJS VIRTUAL, which one do you like the most? \u00a0 GJS Virtual is a feature-driven initiative and it is impossible to pinpoint a few favorites as they are customized to suit the needs of our industry. However, if I have to, I think its year-long availability will change the dynamics altogether. Also, features like 6 unique exhibitions, one-on-one video meetings with life-like quality, data of exhibitors for the future, industry-related webinars, and smart AI matchmaking make me interested. I am waiting for the first exhibition to start on the 5th of October.