JCK India Event Tackles Industry Challenges

A one-day conference in Mumbai, India, focused on the how the local jewelry industry can capitalize on the social, economic, and political changes the country is experiencing.

Suresh Ramakrishnan, executive vice president of Reed Infomedia Pvt Ltd., in opening remarks, told the approximate 120 business leaders in attendance that the objectives of the JCK Authorities of India Meet 2008 on Dec. 21 at the JW Marriot Mumbai were to: identify, discuss, and debate critical issues pertaining to the jewelry industry; involve the leaders to come up with feasible options and solutions; and provide an ideal networking platform.

The moderators, Nirupa Bhatt of GIA-India and Middle East and Hemant Shah, partner, DIA VENTE, discussed the challenges faced by the family jewelers, including: low margins, whether to focus on volume business or value, and what to expect from the Indian government.

Bijou Kurien, president and chief executive of the Lifestyle division of Reliance Retail, discussed the changing consumer psychology, the effect of certain sociological changes on their buying behavior, and the influence of mass media.

Ashok Minawala, chairman of All India Gems and Jewellery Federation, Dharmesh Sodha, director of World Gold Council in India, and Anurag Vaish, planning and research manager of De Beers Group, India, led a session dedicated to goal setting and best practices jewelers should incorporate in their businesses.

Subhash Bhola, proprietor of Bholasons Jewellers, Vijay Jain, CEO of Orra, V Govind Raj from Tanishq, Shreyansh Kapoor, vice president of Kashi Jewellers, Rajiv Popley, director of Popley and Sons Jewellers and T Shantakumar, managing director of Kirtilals were the panelists for a retail panel discussion titled, “Sustenance to Success.”

Issues discussed during the session ranged from raising the luxury quotient and the margin of a luxury product to whether jewelers need to alter their marketing methodologies. They presented good case practices and executable strategies to address these concerns.

Prabir Chatterjee, managing director of Adora Diamond, Biren Vaidya, managing director of The Rose Group, Arun Bhatnagar, chief operating officer of D’damas, Ankit Mehta, chief executive officer of Interjewels International, Navin Jasnani, managing director of Sama Jewellery, and Colin Shah, managing director of Kama Schachter, participated in a manufacturers panel discussion titled, “Made for India.”

Participants discussed jewelry design, self-governance in a manufacturing unit, differences in the quality standards, and the scope of joint collaborations between retailers and manufacturers.

 “The discussions were very frank, interactive, and without any ego hassles,” said Rajiv Popley of K. G. Popley & Sons Jewellers. “The fact that we had a clear and frank communication with one another is proof enough that we have come a long way.”

Like others, he affirmed that knowledge, networking, and new business perspectives were the key take-aways of the discussions.

The event included two sessions on best practices in selling and luxury marketing, hosted by JCK contributors Brad Huisken and Rick Bannerot, respectively.

Huisken, author and sales trainer, touched upon the aspects of merchandising, advertising, accounting, human resource, and shop details in ensuring high volume of sales.

Bannerot, Rick Bannerot, a luxury goods and jewelry marketing consultant, used the case studies of Rolex, Starbucks, Lexus, and Apple, to drive home his point on effectively marketing luxury and luxury products to the right customer, at the right time.

The event concluded with a fashion show, which showcased new collections from Gitanjali and Kama Schachter.