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.”
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.”