Go­ing for gold

Ajay Sobhraj, founder and chair­man of Au Finja, re­veals the se­cret to the jew­ellery brand’s suc­cess and where it is head­ing in the fu­ture

Gulf Business - - CONTENTS -

How has the gold and jew­ellery mar­ket changed since Au Finja was founded?

“Au Finja as a brand has been in ex­is­tence for over 20 years now. Be­fore our ex­is­tence the ban­gle in­dus­try only pro­duced hand­crafted pieces of jew­ellery, and we be­came the first true brand in this cat­e­gory. Today our range of ma­chine-made wrist-wear is lead­ing the mar­ket not only in sheer vol­ume world­wide, but also the qual­ity and pre­ci­sion of our de­signs.

“As a re­sult of our suc­cess, more brands have cropped up. But sadly, while qual­ity is the most dis­cussed as­pect of the jew­ellery busi­ness, it is of­ten also the most ig­nored. Most brands put out sub-stan­dard prod­ucts with su­per­fi­cial fin­ish­ing. At Au Finja there is an un­writ­ten rule. If some­thing – any­thing – pre­vents you from pass­ing the qual­ity of an item, then don’t pass it. Every em­ployee or worker has to come to terms with the strict qual­ity pro­to­col of the com­pany. There are no ex­cep­tions in this re­gard.

“Through this metic­u­lous ap­proach, we haves set var­i­ous bench­marks for the in­dus­try and has ush­ered in a qual­ity-con­scious cli­mate.”

Has de­mand been af­fected at all by tougher eco­nomic con­di­tions in the re­gion over the last two years?

“Yes, it has to an ex­tent. One needs to bear in mind that tougher eco­nomic con­di­tions may dampen con­sumer de­mand in sev­eral life­style cat­e­gories, but not so heav­ily in cat­e­gories such as gold jew­ellery. This is pri­mar­ily due to the emo­tional con­nec­tion it has to tra­di­tions among coun­tries in the In­dian sub-con­ti­nent as well as the Far East. Jew­ellery pur­chase de­mand fluc­tu­ate mores with the rise and fall in gold prices and not be­cause of any ma­jor eco­nomic down­turn.”

Do you have any new col­lec­tions com­ing to mar­ket be­fore the end of the year?

“In 2017 so far, 10 new ranges have been launched within our dif­fer­ent col­lec­tions. The in­tro­duc­tion of the AUSUM and YUME col­lec­tions has been typ­i­cal of the com­pany’s phi­los­o­phy – ex­plore and in­no­vate, and go where none has gone be­fore. As a re­sult, the de­sign ranges of th­ese two col­lec­tions have be­come a talk­ing point among the top jew­ellery brands in the world. A ma­jor in­ter­na­tional lux­ury brand has ap­proached Au Finja for an ex­clu­sive range of AUSUM to be fea- tured as part of their jew­ellery col­lec­tion. Dis­cus­sions are in the fi­nal­i­sa­tion stage.”

What is the com­pany’s strat­egy mov­ing for­ward and are there any ar­eas of the mar­ket you will be fo­cussing on?

“The com­pany has moved for­ward by in­tro­duc­ing wed­ding bands in the mar­ket. Again, de­sign in­no­va­tion and pre­ci­sion man­u­fac­tur­ing is key here. Our ini­tial re­sults are more than en­cour­ag­ing and the com­pany will launch its range of wed­ding bands in im­por­tant out­lets across the world.

“The com­pany is also at the ad­vanced stage of launch­ing the Au Finja gold coin in con­fig­u­ra­tions rang­ing from 1g up to 20g. This uniquely-de­signed coin can also be worn as an or­na­ment.

“Europe and the Amer­i­cas have given us a warm wel­come and our mar­ket pres­ence is steadily grow­ing across ma­jor cities on th­ese con­ti­nents. Global ex­pan­sion and the avail­abil­ity of our brand across more than 16,000 re­tail out­lets across the world is a spe­cial feel­ing but hum­bling too. We need to work harder at our craft and con­tinue to de­light the end user with our prod­uct.”

What are your ex­pec­ta­tions for the gold and jew­ellery mar­ket next year?

“With the in­tro­duc­tion of VAT in the UAE and other parts of the GCC ev­ery­one is in the wait and watch mode. Hav­ing said that, I can em­phat­i­cally state that noth­ing af­fects the buyer of gold jew­ellery. When they want to buy, they buy. Pe­riod. And this num­ber does not come down. It only grows.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.