If diamonds are a girl’s best friend, then how can men not befriend them too? Incidentally, men have always sold diamonds to women, and even now with the advent of e-commerce online stores like Caratlane, Vollaya, and Bluestone men are doing the same.
The latest one making diamonds attractive is Stylemydiamonds.com, started by– you guessed it, a man– Priyaj Jain. Stylemydiamonds (SMD) is the Indian arm of Diamond Factory group, which is based in UK and has been operational for a decade.
Priyaj’s family has been in the jewellery business for four generations, but was mostly manufacturing jewellery for B2B customers. Since Priyaj joined in 2003, they started looking at the consumer side of the market. “When we started in 2003, e-commerce was just making a beginning even in UK. We realized it was possible to sell good quality things at a lower price. The hefty markup that jewellers levied on jewellery could be done away with in e-commerce,” says Priyaj.
They started by selling on eBay and slowly understood the possibilities that e-commerce had. Between 2003 and 2007, they did both offline and online sales, but completely moved to online in 2007. After using marketplace like eBay for two years, Diamond Factory setup its own online store in 2009 in UK. “We created the Diamond Factory brand so that we could look particularly at B2C products and build a brand for the end consumers,” explains Priyaj.
Priyaj claims they now rank among the top five jewellery portals in the UK, and a lot of business comes through word-of-mouth. “It was easy for us to create trust because we had a background in jewellery business. We have noticed that if you can give the customer what he wants and he likes it, he will spread the word. In our case the word-of-mouth really made a difference,” says Priyaj.
SMD will attempt to replicate Diamond Factory’s success on Indian shores. Among the various things on cards are plans to customize products, make personalized jewellery for customers, and educate the customer about diamonds. “The future of retailing is customization and we believe in it,” says Priyaj.
Another interesting way that SMD will engage customers is by taking them on factory tours. “We will organize tour of our manufacturing facility for our customers. In the West, it’s a fairly common practice to take people around to visit their cheese or chocolate factory. It gives customers more understanding of how things are made. We don’t feel threatened instead we want to inform customers. People have started buying shoes, clothes and books online, they will also start looking at diamonds,” he says.
Their bestselling item in the UK is engagement rings and Priyaj thinks it could be the same here. Once customers have seen a design pattern online, they have an option of walking into the SMD store in Mumbai and discussing the nuances before placing the order. Diamond Factory has followed the model of offline integration with stores in London and New York. SMD, says Priyaj, will carry forward the practice here as well.
While SMD is a startup here, it will dig into its pool of human resource globally and Priyaj says that the 100-member team is working in tandem to make their India foray successful. They are relying on digital as well as mass media advertising for spreading the word, and Priyaj claims they have started getting good number of enquiries, most of which are for high value items priced above Rs 4 lakh.
As SMD works to establish itself in India, Priyaj says they want to offer financial services, sell precious metals and manufacture jewellery for B2B customers in the future. “We want to stay focused on our customers. So we don’t mind if we do less, but we want to do good work,” he emphasizes.