After the worldwide success of Tara Jewels, the brand has made a name for itself in the Indian market as well. Mr. Vikram Raizada,Executive Director,Tara Jewels Ltd. illustrates the same and the outlook of jewellery as a whole through this intuitive session.
Aadeetya Sriram (AS): Tell us about Tara Jewellers, when did you start-up?
Vikram Raizada (VR): Tara Jewels Limited, which owns the “Tara Jewellers” brand is one of the leading second largest exporter of studded jewellery exporters from EPZ and EOU complexes in the country for the year 2006-2007, 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 (Source: Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council). The company was incorporated in 1995-2001 and we’ve had a fruitful experience in the international market. We manufacture in India and China. We have 3 manufacturing units in India and one in China. We export to various key jewellery markets in the world; these include USA, which was the largest market in the world for Indian exports of gems and jewellery for fiscal 2009, also UK, continental Europe, European Union, South Africa, Australia, China, Canada, UAE, etc. In European Union, we exported to 16 countries including Austria, Germany and Switzerland. We have our subsidiaries in some of these countries:USA, Hong Kong and China, and distribution offices in USA, Germany, Hong Kong and Australia, distributed across the world. Looking at the changes and evolution in the Indian market, we decided to expand our retail footprint over here, and presently operate through 31 standalone retail stores in India.
AS: When you say standalone retail stores, where exactly have you positioned them in the country?
VR: We believe mid-income segment of India’s retail jewellery market is largely untapped by organised jewellery companies and see it as a key long-term driver of growth for an integrated large scale jewellery manufacturer like us. Our strategy of setting up stores in the country is to follow exclusivity. We have concentrated the Indian market in an organised way; our initial focus was to roll out in west, central and north India Delhi region, looking at the remaining parts subsequently. Our first 31 stores are in 19 cities across the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi. It is important to understand that while we are looking for width, and we are also looking for depth. We have not followed the conventional strategy of opening up in key metros for our stores. We are present in metros, mini-metros and other cities possessing higher concentration of mid-income segment, Tier I, II & III towns. That is the level of penetration within which we have wanted to work in the country.
AS: Did you have a definite planning in terms of your positioning of stores in the country?
VR: We had undertaken study in the Indian market, across different town classes, to understand the perception of Indian women on jewellery. We believe there is a great aspiration for diamond jewellery, but at the same time there are certain barriers in the Indian woman’s mind. So our strategic approach was defined to address those barriers, and fundamentally we see ourselves undertaking the role of expanding the market. Strategically, we looked at 4 basic points; one to redefine the jewellery purchase process, secondly to re-engineer & the develop smart retail formats, thirdly to build consumer confidence, fourth to inculcate good trans-create best practices from the our experience in the international market. We have got extensive fair experience across the market, which enables us to differentiate between markets.
AS: What are the trends that you came across in the women segment for jewellery?
VR: Over the years, the efforts of market through various organisations and retailers, there has been great aspiration that has been created for Diamond jewellery. As far as gold jewellery is concerned, it is evidently a part of the Indian lifestyle and is very much part-and-parcel of the way we lead our lives. On the diamond jewellery front, there was a perception, that diamond jewelleries are expensive, probably created by the industry themselves, because our stores look as opulent, which sets-up certain perceptions. An Indian woman has been uncertain about the diamonds, not surprising considering the level of understanding they have for the gold jewellery. Due to various practices she felt that gold represents a better investment value. These factors have acted as barrier in the minds of Indian women.
AS: Talk us through your product categories in terms of your jewellery? Which sectors are you catering to with your products?
VR: We have covered almost the entire jewellery gamut, whether it is diamond jewellery, coloured stone or gold. Retail is a very localised business, so these 31 stores do reflect our catchments taste. The consumer today is looking for certain basic values, e.g. like preference towards certified and hallmarked jewellery. All our product offerings are not only hallmarked, but are also certified by 3rd party international laboratories. Our target sector is the middle income class of India, because we believe that jewellery has been relatively deeper penetrated in the wealthier portions of India, and we have realized the opportunity that we wish to address.
AS: What according to you are the trends visible in the Indian Gem & Jewellery industry? What is the future of industry in the country?
VR: The Indian market is significantly different, because today while the Indian consumer is looking at jewellery from a fashion perspective, the fact is that, jewellery is seen as a significant investment in India. That is the principle perception of people towards the jewellery category. Trends do come in, there is an emergence of fashion category in jewellery now, as well as occasion wear, but still we have to confess that wedding jewellery still forms a pivotal part of the industry. There has also been emergence of every-day wear, there is a definite segmentation in jewellery just like in watches, shoes etc. We give prime importance to the part of educating the consumer as well. We intend to involve customers in various customer education programs through partner organisations like GIA, India at our retail stores, for which we have introduced the concept of consultative selling in our stores.
AS: Tell us about your technology set-up for the jewellery?
VR: Tara Jewels is known to be strong on the technological front. The company is mechanised and has introduced a number of technologies into its projection processes. As a matter of fact, there are a number of patents that Tara Jewels has in various manufacturing and setting technologies, which allows us to create well-designed and prepared products in the market. Tara Jewels has access to advance technologies. We use technologies to maintain quality consistency in our offerings, enhance higher perceived value, reduce human efforts, increase quality checks and higher reliance etc. We own the patented turntable technology and use for multi-skilled workforce, which is an indigenously developed manufacturing facility based on “precision oriented jewellery” concept. We have applied for grant of patent to our invisible plate setting technology for setting princess diamonds in wax. Similarly, we have also applied for grant of patent on resizable ring technology which enables resizing of rings without disturbing the shape or falling of stones in case of studded rings.