Our retail partners need innovative products that seek to de-commoditise the sector and allow them to appeal to their consumers and earn good profits.
People across the globe are cutting down on their luxury spending. What are your sales expectations for Forevermark in 2016? Stephen Lussier:
While we have seen macroeconomic uncertainties across the world, fortunately Forevermark sales have been growing very strongly. Our worldwide sales were up 40% in 2015 which is remarkable given the global economic scenario. We saw growth in our key countries – US, India and China, and continue to perform very well. We couldn’t be more pleased. Our sales figures are proof of the power of our consumer proposition. Consumers around the world find our brand to be very compelling. We are sure Forevermark will continue to grow this year as well.
What is Forevermark’s strategy for India in 2016? Stephen Lussier:
India is the third largest market for Forevermark and it is one of the fastest growing markets. We are very optimistic. 2015 was a good year for Forevermark India. We were up 35% in terms of volume from the previous year. I think it is hard to find other brands growing at the same rate in the world or even in India in the current economic conditions. When we look at the emerging middle class market, the market opportunities are going to grow manifold in the next 5–10 years. And we should be able to grow along with it if we execute our plans properly. Our plan is two-fold. One is to deepen our engagement with our existing partners. We have got the best jewellers in India as our partners. We want to develop this opportunity with them. Our second priority is to constantly innovate. We are launching the new Artemis collection which I think is very innovative in our sector. Through this collection we are bringing in creativity from the luxury fashion world into something that is really timeless – diamond jewellery. Innovative striking designs generate excitement for our sector. We are going to launch another one in the months to follow. We want to use Forevermark to bring new customers into the sector. The Indian woman has money to spend; she just needs a compelling proposition. A great example of that is our Capricci nose ring collection which we launched last year. It surprised us with its popularity and we decided to supercharge it this year with a television campaign that will run from now until the middle of May. We want to make the concept of diamonds very accessible and offer something women can wear every day. (L to R) Sachin Jain, Athiya Shetty, Bibhu Mohapatra and Stephen Lussier at the launch of the Artemis collection.
What are the challenges in expanding the Forevermark brand within India? Stephen Lussier:
The challenges are not radically different from anywhere else in the world. For any brand to grow, you need to have a compelling selling proposition for your consumers – current and future, as well as a compelling proposition for your retail partners. And I think that’s why Forevermark has grown as fast as it has. The idea that the consumer is buying a product which is rare, beautiful and ethically sourced connects with the consumer’s desires.
When we started, the retail landscape in India was very fragmented and segmented. Northern India is completely different from Southern India. The retail infrastructure in the South is much better in terms of larger format stores and chain stores. We took the challenge and turned it into an opportunity by partnering with retailers across the country and then working around their respective models. We also trained human resource on the floors, at a regional level as well as at an individual level to bring everyone on the same plane and to ensure that everyone speaks the language of diamonds. For a brand, good quality retail space is important. The industry also needs to do a lot more to attract the right talent in the retail industry.
The men’s jewellery segment has been growing in India. Does Forevermark plan to launch more collections dedicated to the men’s segment? Stephen Lussier: