From being a jeweller to carving a niche for itself as an international luxury brand of Indian origin, The Rose Group of Companies has emerged as a forerunner in jewellery, watches and lifestyle accessories.
The House of Rose, its experiential luxury retail brand, has always stood out for its design, craftsmanship and its deft use of colossal and rare coloured gemstones, while Rose: The Watch Bar brings haute horological brands to the Indian market.
Biren Vaidya, Managing Director of The Rose Group of Companies, talks about the journey over four decades, lessons learnt along the way, and building a multi-category legacy that is being carried forward by the younger generation.
How do you plan to celebrate the brand’s 40-year milestone?
We released coffee table books when we completed 25 years and 30 years respectively. Today, we have reached our 40th year. I would like to thank everyone from our employees and vendors to our customers and patrons. We wouldn’t be where we are without them. Life has taught us seven philosophies – hard work, honesty, humbleness, happy to work, giving 100 per cent and nothing less, team effort and the customer being our reason for being. These were inculcated in us by our parents, and it continues to hold us in good stead at Rose.
We have a lot of things planned for this year: We are going digital. We have recalibrated our jewellery collection. We are going to complete the brand by expanding in multiple categories such as cashmere, small leather goods and fragrances. One day, we will manufacture our own watches along with the other international brands we retail at Rose: The Watch Bar.
The House of Rose has always celebrated gemstones in its collections…
The brand has had a very deep understanding of gemstones. There was a time when people would say that gemstones have no resale value. Over the years, we have enabled our patrons to appreciate good quality emeralds, rubies, pink and yellow sapphires, tanzanite. We have done some wonderful pieces with pearls and coloured diamonds as well (The only stone we don’t work with is blue sapphire).
We have promoted different gems in our jewellery from pieces worth Rs.50,000 to $1 million. We also have the good fortune of cutting and certifying a 292.5-carat pear-shaped Colombian emerald, which we christened The Empress of Rose. We have created many such treasures since then.
You have recently launched an e-store. Can you tell us a little more about your digital strategy?
When my sister’s younger daughter Divya and my younger son Karan joined the business two years ago, we recognised the need to prepare for a change of hands and bring in the younger generation to take the legacy forward. In our company, the average age has come down from 39 to 29. A little before Covid, we became more active on Instagram.
It was logical to go digital, but I wanted online consumers to have the same experience as they would at our brick-and-mortar store. With Covid it was challenging. We have had a soft launch of our e-store. In the coming months, we will digitally launch ourselves full scale.
We have set aside a huge budget for digital marketing and have hired a digital agency.
In the last one and a half years, we have sold jewellery worth Rs.5 lakh as well as Rs.50 lakh through enquiries on Instagram. Those living in Mumbai and Delhi came in and saw the pieces, although some of the bigger ticket items were sold to customers overseas. They have faith in the brand and are willing to buy the pieces on the net.
We have created a different collection for the e-store with price points from Rs.50,000 to Rs.4 lakh. The response to the collection has been very good.
Which are the strong markets currently?
India is a strong market. We are very strong in The Middle East as well. The high-ticket sales through Instagram enquiries were from the Middle East. We are seeing a younger, sharper, digitally savvy patron base that is different from our existing customer base.
What do Indian jewellers need to do to be recognised globally?
Brands need to identify what they want to do – either build a mass or a niche brand and work accordingly. Everyone cannot do everything. You cannot put Hermes and Michael Kors in the same basket. You have to be focused and build the brand’s DNA accordingly.
Pandora has built a brand for itself in silver. There are thousands of silver manufacturers in India, but there is only one Pandora.
One also needs to understand that a customer does not want a generic piece of jewellery. When they buy from a retail store, it is about the story, experience, quality, and design.
Where do you see Rose in the next decade?
We will have a stronger footing in India and internationally as well. Digital will be a great help in achieving this. The DNA of our retail brand has been the same for the last 18 years. We will continue to focus on design, craftsmanship, fabulous gem quality, creating a story, delivering an experience, and meeting the aspirations of our customers.
India is shining. We are creative people, there is such a huge archive of over 2,000 years in jewellery design. Ideas exist in every nukkad (corner). We just need to pick it up and put it out there.