The KGK group, a century old fully integrated brand in the Gems and Jewellery industry, has now ventured into the retail segment in India with its brand Entice. After remaining behind the scenes and supplying gems and jewellery to retailers, it has now opened its first exclusive store in Delhi. Sanjay Kothari, Vice Chairman, KGK Group, tells Gunjan Piplani about customers being a priority and his future plans for Entice.
Gunjan Piplani (GP): You have captured the world with your B2B business. What made you enter a new vertical of B2C?
Sanjay Kothari (SK): Entice is our retail brand, which we started in 2004. We have our boutique shops in China, Hong Kong and also in Jaipur. So entering the retail sector came across as a natural forward integration, which is inevitable. We saw this as the right time to start off with our exclusive retail showroom as the markets were slow.
We have been in the B2B business for more than 100 years now. We thought we should take a step further and come in direct contact with the customers. We wanted to produce and sell directly to the customers. To start off, we saw Delhi as a good centre as it was the best place to increase the popularity of our brand.
Our strength would be the quality of gems that we offer, as being a supplier, we have been the primary source for diamonds in India, buying them directly from miners and selling them here in India.
Moreover, coming directly from the source, ie, the miner, the price of the gems would also be lower as there would be lesser overheads.
GP: Now that you have stepped into the retail segment, how do you plan to expand your presence in India?
SK: Right now we want to gain experience with this one store in Delhi. Once we gain experience, we plan to have 3-4 stores in Delhi and then move to Mumbai, Chennai and other cities. Our first priority is to set up showrooms in all the metropolitan cities and looking at the kind of feedback we get, we might as well explore the B class cities.
We are aiming for about 10 stores in the next 3-4 years, of which two will be opened this year itself. We want to take this slow as this is our first B2C venture. We want to first understand the needs of people, and keep a track of the trends, along with ensuring quality products.
All our stores would be company owned.
GP: Will you target only the high end customers or will your offering also entertain people across various pockets?
SK: We offer designs that are very light and of lower cost to expensive and extra expensive. So we are catering to a wide stratum of the society and not just a niche segment.
GP: Now that you are moving on from being a supplier to being a competitor to your clients, how do you feel about it?
SK: Dwelling in the Indian retail segment is tough, but then it lets everyone make a place for themselves. Moreover, we are survivors and we believe that our quality products would only create confidence among our customers.
GP: Do you think training salespersons is important for selling luxury products?
SK: Training of the salespersons is an important aspect, especially when we are engaging with customers who not only have money to spend, but who also want to be serviced well. And because our objective is to be service oriented, we are regularly indulging in training programmes for our salespersons. In fact, we are spending lot of money on training.
GP: Your priority is your customers. What special services are you providing to your customers?
SK: For us, what is most important is our customer base. In order to satisfy customers, who know and understand luxury, we offer them customised solutions. The people at our store will sit with the customers to understand their need and modify the available jewellery accordingly. At times, when size is a constraint, we also make sure that the size of the jewellery is modified accordingly. For instance, if a neckpiece or a pair of earrings doesn’t fit well, we take measurements of the neck bone or earlobes for it.
Moreover, we also give money back warranties. For our solitaire, it is 100 per cent money back, while for the rest of the jewellery, we deduct about 10 per cent cutting, running, labour and investment cost. We believe in giving back what we receive. We want to create faith in customers with this policy.
GP: What are your future plans? What revenues do you currently have and what are your expectations?
SK: We want to popularise our brand, which is a time consuming process. Moreover, we might as well think of opening separate generic stores for all kinds of consumers, along with boutique shops that would offer exclusive jewellery.
Right now, we are a group worth $1 billion and we expect to grow up to $2 billion in the next 2-3 years.