Forevermark, launched in India in 2011, has had a strong growth, especially this year. With the jump in sales volume, India is set to overtake the US this year as its second-largest market, behind China. Sachin Jain, President, Forevermark India, spoke to BE’s Samarpita Roy about his company’s brand development and financial strategies.
Q. To thrive in these fast-changing times, there
is a need to be inspired and innovative. Can you
please describe the innovations in product, design, and retail that can assure success in future development?
A. Consumers’ preferences are constantly evolving. Forevermark works on several levels to keep pace with this change. In terms of product and design, every year, our company’s ‘Design & Innovation’ centre in Milan
conducts in-depth research to forecast the four key themes significant for diamond jewellery trends in the year
ahead. Influenced by the international art and fashion
scene, recent looks on the red carpet, and evolving consumer behaviour, each trend is not just driven by aesthetics
but also encapsulates the emotional meaning of a diamond. Forevermark has also collaborated with various fashion designers over the years to develop exclusive lines of jewellery to be in sync with the latest consumer preferences in hi-end luxury. The latest collaboration is with ace couturier, Sabyasachi Mukherjee, for the Zanyah collection.
With respect to innovations in retail, our company has opened several shop-in-shops at existing jewellery retail stores. We also aim at making shopping for diamonds a more tangible process by providing our customers an opportunityto view the unique inscription number on each Forevermark diamond through the viewer, before making their purchase. This interactive experience engages the customer with our brand and builds a sense of trust. We are also working on several new technological retail innovations and aim to make shopping for diamonds just not an interactive but an emotional experience.
Q. Consumerism in India has changed a lot. E-retailing is growing. Consumer demand changes across regions here. What is in store for the Indian consumers especially for today’s Indian women to be attracted to Forevermark?
A. A diamond is an emotional purchase and today’s women believe in the stories and emotions that a product offers. Each Forevermark diamond is genuine, untreated and natural, which reflects the qualities of the modern Indianwoman. Today’s woman looks at purchasing jewellery, which reflects her personality, is an emotional buy, and can be worn regularly. We recently launched the ‘Twogether’ collection, a mid-priced range, which identifies with these aspirations. It features two sparkling diamonds at the heart of each piece and is set in 18k yellow, white and rose gold, ideal for a night out or corporate wear. Each diamond has a unique inscription number which is an assurance that the diamond is beautiful, rare and responsibly sourced. This authenticity of our diamond will always attract our consumers from across the globe.
Q. How was your performance last year?
A. Ever since we launched Forevermark, we envisaged that consumers will be more aware of ethics and the provenance of a diamond. It is all about responsibly sourced diamonds. Over the past year, we have grown by 100% and will continue in this direction in the future.
Q. What problems are facing while operating in India? How can you compare the problems in India with those of other countries?
A. A major challenge faced in the industry is sales talent. I believe the industry needs to put in a stronger effort in attracting the right sales professionals to sell luxury jewelleryitems. Transparency is another challenge faced across the industry in all areas of business. Lastly, retail infrastructure needs to be developed across the country for the industry to expand effectively.
Q. How far is it a myth or a reality that the Indian diamond market is growing? What are your expectations from the Indian market in the next five years?
A. Since its inception, Forevermark has experienced phenomenal business growth in the Indian diamond market. Its growth trajectory in India is to capture the market share in the generic diamond category following the roll-out of the goods and services tax (GST) regime. We also plan to increase its presence to 230 by the end of 2017 and will come up with three more exclusive outlets in Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata apart from its exclusive store in Bangalore. Forevermark currently has a 20% market share in this price segment. This is the market that we shall now target and cater to. With the 2016 strike, demonetisation, followed by the GST and digital disruption, these are interesting and challenging times. These may appear as hindrancesin the short-term but they will definitely have positive long-term effects on the industry.
Q. Analysts fore-cast global synthetic diamonds market to grow at a CAGR of 7.49% during the period 2017-2021. How is it going to affect your business?
A. For everything that is ‘real or natural’ in this world, there is a counterpart that is ‘artificial or cloned’. Diamond buying consumers look for authenticity and the promise that a diamond holds. Lessthan 1% of the world’ s diamonds are eligible to become Forevermark diamonds. They are the world’s most carefully selected diamonds where each diamond has a unique inscription number guaranteeing that it is beautiful, rare, and responsibly sourced. With this assurance, consumers are aware of their purchase and make informed decisions on whether they want one of nature’s most sparkling gifts or a man-made synthetic one.
Q. As a global business operator, how do you fulfil your corporate social responsibilities?
A. Each Forevermark diamond is responsibly sourced and embodies our principles of integrity, opportunities for women, and our dedication to protect the natural world. The inscription is an assurance of the physical integrity of our diamonds throughout their journey, as well as the conscientiousness with which we run our business. We are committed to the preservation and protection of habitats, their species, and the wider natural world as well as, benefit the people, communities, and countries from which the diamonds originate.