Renaissance Global Limited (RGL), an established design house, is a key supplier to major retailers in the US. Sumit Shah, its Non-Executive Chairman and Global CEO made the most of the opportunity by acquiring the rights of Enchanted Disney Fine Jewelry in 2019, thereby getting a firm foothold into the jewellery licensing business.
RGL has been on a spree of signing licensing agreements with brands. After inking the deal with Enchanted Disney Fine Jewelry, the company signed agreements with Hallmark, Star Wars and Disney Treasures.
In January 2022, it announced a licensing agreement with the US National Football League (NFL). Through this agreement, Renaissance and the NFL will collaborate to design a unique branded jewellery collection using NFL intellectual property. With the success of licensed jewellery on their online portals, RGL is poised to become a leader in the Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) business. Sumit Shah, the Non-Executive Chairman and Global CEO of RGL, spoke to Solitaire International about the benefits of brand licensing.
What are the design trends that are prevailing in the US with respect to the licensed brands? Are the designs provided by the licensor or developed in-house?
For the past 25 years, Renaissance Global has been creating incredible jewellery designs for its marquee clients across the globe. The company employs more than 150 designers with expertise in global fashion trends across the USA, UK, Hong Kong, and Dubai. With our investment in the latest technologies and human talent, we have the ability to craft over 1,000 unique designs per month. For Licensed Jewellery, all designs are developed at Renaissance Global Limited. From design conceptualisation to fine jewellery execution, everything is done in-house, as per the guidelines given by the licensors.
We have a robust merchandising team, which constantly monitors design trends and providess feedback on our designs. Though our core design team is based in Mumbai, we have creative designers collaborating from our US and UK offices.
It’s surprising to note that ‘villain jewellery’ contributes about 40% of sales. What are the designs that are fast moving in this category? Can you share thoughts on the consumer mindset?
We offer consumers unique jewellery collection, which is inspired by drama, magic, and mystery of Disney’s most glamorous villains. Consumers seek products that connect with them on an emotional as well as aesthetic level. For instance, the black rose in the Maleficent Disney Villain ring that we have crafted, symbolises rebirth and new beginnings. There is a strong preference for established brands because of the trust factor.
What are the recent technological innovations that have been initiated in your company?
We are always looking at innovation in technology that not only enhances production and manufacturing, but also overall consumer experience. Recently, we have started to provide custom-made, on-demand jewellery on our D2C websites. Rather than visiting a jewellery counter or selecting from an existing ring inventory, customers can create their own digital designs using the options and tools available through the company’s website. We are also in the process of partnering with a European company, which would enable us to offer a game-changing customer experience in customising their jewellery.
Tell us about your e-commerce journey.
As uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic rippled across the globe and short-circuited demand, the fine jewellery industry suffered revenue declines of 10% to 15%, according to McKinsey estimates. While the whole industry was reeling under pressure to stay afloat, RGL leveraged this time to strengthen its D2C segment and embark brand’s next phase of growth through branded jewellery segment. In the last 15 months, RGL has launched five D2C websites for in the international markets: Enchanted Disney Fine Jewelry (www.enchantedfinejewelry.com); Star Wars Fine Jewelry (www.starwarsfinejewelry.com); Hallmark Fine Jewelry (www.hallmarkfinejewelry.com); Made For You (www.diamondsmadeforyou.com); and Jewelili (www.jewelili.com).
For the period April to December 2021, our D2C business more than doubled (+123%) to ₹ 94.3 crore compared to ₹ 42.3 crore a year earlier.
As a traditional jewellery manufacturer and wholesaler, one of the initial challenges was to pivot the company towards a D2C, consumer-facing, company. However, our management’s continuous focus and support led to a significant growth in our D2C segment. Also, as data privacy rules become more stringent and the tech companies make changes to the amount of data we have access to, the industry has had to adapt their marketing strategies to keep customer acquisition costs in control.
The cost of acquisition in the US is very high compared to other markets like India. As Covid hit, many businesses were forced to sell on their online channels to survive. This created increased competition for online traffic which substantially drove up the marketing costs. RGL has invested a significant amount of money in customer acquisition, including SEM & Digital marketing, brand building, and brand awareness.
When was the lab-grown diamond collection launched? How is the response?
We have recently witnessed increasing acceptance for lab-grown diamonds (LGDs) in our key markets. Young diamond buyers are drawn to LGDs, and with this segment of consumers increasing by between 15% and 20% annually, according to an AWDC report, the growth is expected to continue. Our LGD brand was launched at the end of 2020 and is currently at a nascent stage.
The prospects for the next two years.for the licensee brands and the lab grown brand.
The branded fine jewellery market is poised to grow at a compoundannual growth rate (CAGR) of 8 to 12 percent from 2019 to 2025, whichis more than double the rate of the overall jewellery market. The company’s long-term strategy is to continue to grow its branded jewellery business across key international markets. Through its strategic licensing model, RGL has partnered with global iconic brands such as Disney, Hallmark & NFL. The company further plans to extend this model across newer brands, which will further fortify its position in the global branded jewellery industry. For 9M FY22, branded segment contributed 23% to our total revenue. We endeavor to achieve ~50% sales from Branded Jewellery segment over the next 3-4 years.
We have witnessed increased customer acceptance of lab grown diamonds as an alternative to mined diamonds& we expect this trend to continue in the foreseeable future.