Mem­ber Pro­file

Thai-American Business (T-AB) Magazine - - Contents - Writ­ten by: Emma Boudah

Spokes Jew­elry was founded in Jan­uary of 2012. Both Greg and I had pre­vi­ously been work­ing in var­i­ous as­pects of the jew­elry and gem in­dus­try in the U. S., Bel­gium, Viet­nam, Costa Rica and Thai­land. Bangkok is a tra­di­tional hub for jew­elry man­u­fac­tur­ing as well as a cen­ter for gem­stone cut­ting and sales. There is no short­age of large in­ter­na­tional man­u­fac­tur­ers or tiny lo­cal work­shops. This re­sults in two out­comes for a jew­elry brand look­ing for a man­u­fac­turer: huge min­i­mums and lit­tle ded­i­cated ser­vice un­less you are a large, es­tab­lished ‘ name brand’ OR a litany of lan­guage and cul­tural bar­ri­ers and the ever- present threat to your in­tel­lec­tual property. Some­times it is both. In many ways, th­ese are the same prob­lems a com­pany faces in seek­ing a man­u­fac­tur­ing part­ner in any in­dus­try.

We saw a very real need for a small- batch, high- end jew­elry man­u­fac­tur­ing ser­vice. There was de­mand for a bou­tique man­u­fac­turer that was closely man­aged, fea­tur­ing open com­mu­ni­ca­tion and at­ten­tion to de­tail. Our con­tin­u­ally grow­ing busi­ness is tes­ta­ment to that de­mand. Our par­tic­u­lar niche is to of­fer the best of Thai jew­elry man­u­fac­tur­ing and crafts­man­ship com­bined with Western cus­tomer ser­vice & com­mu­ni­ca­tion. We have heard from many cus­tomers who have pro­duced else­where over the years, be it in China, In­dia or other Thai lo­ca­tions, and the com­plaints are al­ways the same;

“I didn’t hear fr om them f or weeks or months on end.”

“I sent them my mod­els and didn’t know what was hap­pen­ing un­til I got a ship­ment.”

“Un­ex­pected de­lays.”

And lastly, my per­sonal fa­vorite; “I wish they would have just t old me ‘ no’ from the be­gin­ning.”

As Bangkok res­i­dents, we’ve all ex­pe­ri­enced some of the above is­sues as peo­ple demon­strate that cul­tural bug­bear “kraeng jai.” As ex­pats we may understand the con­cept, but to a Western cus­tomer, this is mys­ti­fy­ing at best and in­fu­ri­at­ing at worst. A func­tion of be­ing in the lux­ury goods in­dus­try is that even the small­est item may be a very high value prod­uct. Gold, di­a­monds, gems, de­signs - trust is es­sen­tial to bridge the gap of dis­tance. Our ap­proach is to main­tain an ‘ open door’ to our cus­tomers, even if that door is vir­tual. We find that by us­ing Skype, imes­sage, What­sapp, Line, and reg­u­lar emails, the cus­tomer loses that fear and feels in­volved in the process and aware of our progress. If the cus­tomer is shut out, there is a fur­ther missed op­por­tu­nity for col­lab­o­ra­tion.

At Spokes Jew­elry Ser­vices, we de­signed the com­pany to of­fer a one- stop shop for all man­u­fac­tur­ing ser­vices. We of­fer ev­ery­thing from de­sign to CAD work, model, mold and sam­ple pro­duc­tion to stone sourc­ing and re­peat pro­duc­tion. When ev­ery­thing is done in- house there are sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fits to the busi­ness, such as lower cost of pro­duc­tion vs. out­sourc­ing; qual­ity stan­dards are main­tained; in­tel­lec­tual property is kept within four walls; in­creased cus­tomer loy­alty as we of­fer more ser­vices; and ac­count­abil­ity. This last point is per­haps the most im­por­tant. If we are go­ing to make your fi­nal prod­uct, the onus is on us to make your model and mold in the best it­er­a­tion pos­si­ble. It will save time and im­prove the out­come.

Our busi­ness is pri­mar­ily man­u­fac­tur­ing fine gold jew­elry for high- end jew­elry brands in the US, Europe, Aus­tralia & New Zealand. 98% of our prod­uct is ex­ported and some of it shows up be­ing worn by celebri­ties on red car­pets and at awards shows. We also enjoy making some cus­tom one- off pieces for the lo­cal mar­ket to keep us on our toes.

Al­though a U. S. Marine Corps Vet­eran Amer­i­can & Ir­ish in na­tion­al­i­ties, we take great pride in our role pro­mot­ing Thai crafts­man­ship to the world. While Chi­nese man­u­fac­tur­ing for ex­am­ple may be cheaper, they do not have the history of fine jew­elry pro­duc­tion that Thai­land boasts. Gen­er­a­tions of Thais have been de­voted to gold­smithing and gem set­ting and we have dis­cov­ered that our staff take a ca­reer- minded ap­proach to this in­dus­try - they come to the in­dus­try, they stay in the in­dus­try. This is re­flected in the qual­ity of Thai jew­elry man­u­fac­tur­ing. On an in­ter­na­tional scale Thai­land is at the top. We had many coun­tries to choose from when we started Spokes Jew­elry but for us, it has to be Thai­land. “No re­spect for in­tel­lec­tual property. They won’t re­turn my molds.”

Greg Boudah do­ing qual­ity con­trol at Spokes Jew­elry

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