Biren Vaidya: Jew­ellery Whole­sal­ing With A Dif­fer­ence

Solitaire - - CONTENTS -

Biren Vaidya, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor and de­sign chief of The Rose Group, be­lieves that the fu­ture is all about up­ping your re­tail game. He is will­ing to share his vast ex­pe­ri­ence and build cus­tomised lines to help the in­dus­try grow. Soli­taire caught up with him at the IIJS for an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view.

Rose is into lux­ury jew­ellery re­tail, so what made you ex­hibit at IIJS?

In 2004, when we started our re­tail store Rose, we were whole­sal­ing and work­ing with about 5-6 se­lect re­tail brands and stores – two over­seas and four in In­dia. Post that in 2014, Sachin Jain of Forever­mark ap­proached me to bring out col­lec­tions for them as he ap­pre­ci­ated my de­sign aes­thet­ics. On the re­tail part, I said yes, but he con­vinced me to col­lab­o­rate on the whole­sale side of their busi­ness as well. At that point in time, I de­cided to give it a shot. I started at­tend­ing the Forever­mark Fo­rums, and one thing led to an­other and slowly we had a team and we were in­creas­ing our whole­sale busi­ness ev­ery year. It was grow­ing quite well for us.

This year, we have done mul­ti­ple col­lec­tions ad­dress­ing the var­i­ous re­quire­ments of re­tail­ers. One was a col­lec­tion where peo­ple were do­ing stack­ables and so was Forever­mark, but we took it to an­other level; we came up with a col­lec­tion called Rac N Stac. Forever­mark came up with a 50 point­ers col­lec­tion called Your Bet­ter Half; we brought out our own ver­sion and called it One in a Bil­lion.

All these col­lec­tions got an ex­cep­tional re­sponse at the re­cently con­cluded Forever­mark Fo­rum. Post that we did a Devi col­lec­tion that ad­dresses two things: one is I be­lieve we need to bring our In­dian tra­di­tional art to the fore; and we gave a mod­ern touch to the close gem set­ting of South In­dia; and the sec­ond was to give a jew­eller an op­tion to cu­rate his own Devi col­lec­tion from over 6,000 de­signs – so no two jewellers will have sim­i­lar pieces of that col­lec­tion.

So we do generic jew­ellery for each store, ac­cord­ing to their tastes and de­signs or the brand, and we also do whole­sal­ing with Forever­mark.

Do re­tail­ers have to sell your jew­ellery un­der the Rose brand?

In any other part of the world, they would be smart enough to do that. In our coun­try, they’re short-sighted. So I have no prob­lem if they sell it un­der their name; I don’t bother about that. They’re even scared to use the col­lec­tion’s name. But they’ll learn and come of age – be­cause over­seas if you’re sell­ing a watch, you’d rather use the watch name;

if you’re sell­ing some brand’s jew­ellery, you’d rather get that as­pi­ra­tion. Here, re­tail­ers have a dif­fer­ent sense of se­cu­rity or per­haps in­se­cu­rity.

Col­lec­tions that I do for Forever­mark, go un­der the Forever­mark brand, but it is de­signed and the in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty (IP) is ours, so re­tail­ers have to man­u­fac­ture with us. You can re­tail it in your store, you can put it as “Mr. XYZ Jew­eller and Forever­mark”, but at the back end the man­u­fac­tur­ing has to be by Rose, be­cause the de­sign and IP is mine and not Forever­mark’s.

With its ex­panded man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pa­bil­ity, why isn’t Rose adding more stores?

We have two stores at present in Mum­bai and Delhi. We are very clear; we will ex­pand our busi­ness when we see the po­ten­tial in ev­ery mar­ket to be able to sus­tain a store. As of now in In­dia, for our kind of prod­uct, there are two mar­kets, Mum­bai and Delhi. Peo­ple from all the other cities are com­ing to our two stores. And we also do pri­vate shows in cities such as Ahmed­abad, Kolkata, Chen­nai, Ban­ga­lore, Hy­der­abad, Pune, etc. So we’re cov­er­ing 6-7 cities be­sides Mum­bai and Delhi, and we have a whole separate team that only does road shows.

Any high-end brand, be­fore it starts to mar­ket, sees the sus­tain­abil­ity of the client base and builds up that way. You just don’t start stores. And that’s the smart way to do it, right?

We’re a very con­ser­va­tive com­pany. We’re self-fi­nanced, so we like to take steps very, very care­fully. This is also a very high-as­set, cap­i­tal­in­ten­sive busi­ness, so one has to be very care­ful be­fore tak­ing such steps if you want to stay debt-free.

If you look at brands like Patek Philippe, which are yet a fam­ily com­pany, they pre­fer grow­ing ac­cord­ing to their own strengths. And the cus­tomer comes look­ing if he as­pires for the brand. It’s not nec­es­sary for you to be re­ally out there.

The high-end jew­ellery busi­ness is a lot about re­la­tion­ships and trust, which takes time to build. But we know our game, we’ve spent 37 years. We en­sure that we don’t miss out our cus­tomers and they don’t miss our col­lec­tions be­cause we do a lot in the higher-end pieces, trea­sures which are one of a kind in the world, and we have a story be­hind each one of them.

What are your plans for the fu­ture?

Jew­ellery is an art form, and I en­joy my art. I’ve crossed the 50-year mark. I have told my chil­dren that the world is now free to get knowl­edge from the cloud, so for the jew­ellery in­dus­try that is what I’m go­ing to do. I have done what I could for Rose, and with this whole­sale busi­ness I’m will­ing to build col­lec­tions that will help other re­tail stores un­der­stand what the fu­ture is com­ing to. It’s go­ing to be about brands, ex­pe­ri­ence, sto­ries, as­pi­ra­tions, etc. I don’t think our re­tail game is ready for that. I’m try­ing to do my bit – who­ever wants to get that knowl­edge from me, it’s for free. Now it’s up to them.

Through my whole­sale busi­ness, I hope that oth­ers get an in­cli­na­tion of what I’m do­ing. If Rose makes a col­lec­tion, we give you ev­ery­thing, right from the point of sale (POS) ma­te­rial to the mar­ket­ing, etc. I just can­not fathom why a jew­eller would not want to take some­thing like this – free – without my name; the jew­eller can put his/her name and Forever­mark is will­ing to advertise for it for that jew­eller. It’s an op­por­tu­nity for the world to be able to start get­ting into this space.

Biren Vaidya stands proudly be­side his cre­ations at the Rose booth at IIJS.

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