Jewel Trading: Adapting to Market Challenges with Diamond Jewellery Expansion

JAY PATNI, CEO of Dubai-based JEWEL TRADING LLC, exemplifies the company’s agility in navigating economic shifts, demonstrating a keen ability to swiftly respond to consumer demands and rapidly expand its operations.

Jewel Trading LLC, founded by Shekhar Patni, father of Jay, embodies the essence of perseverance and entrepreneurial vision. Sr. Patni’s remarkable journey, from starting as a salesman in a Dubai jewellery shop to establishing Jewel Trading LLC in 1991 and Jewel & Gems DMCC, Dubai in 2012, reflects sheer hard work and determination. Today, with 8 flourishing stores in Dubai, the company is primed for expansion into strategic GCC markets and Mumbai.

How have you adapted your business strategy to navigate the challenges posed by the current economic climate?

In response to the challenges presented by the current economic climate, we have implemented several strategic adaptations to ensure the continued success of our business.

Firstly, we recognise that economic fluctuations often influence customers’ tastes, preferences, and spending habits. To address this, we have adjusted our pricing strategies and modified the designs of our jewellery to better align with varying budget constraints. This flexibility has enabled us to remain competitive while continuing to meet the evolving needs of our customers.

Furthermore, we have made strategic decisions to optimise our profit margins, sometimes sacrificing short-term gains to maintain sustainable turnover. By doing so, we ensure the longevity and stability of our business operations.

Jay Patni

Expanding our customer base has also been a key focus area. We have actively targeted new demographics to diversify our clientele and mitigate risks associated with relying too heavily on specific market segments. This approach has allowed us to tap into previously untapped markets and unlock new sources of revenue.

Additionally, we have intensified our marketing and public relations efforts to increase brand visibility and engagement. This has involved targeted campaigns aimed at both existing and potential customers, as well as collaborations with influencers and media outlets to amplify our reach.

Looking ahead, we are continuing to explore opportunities in emerging markets, such as India and Southeast Asia, as well as consolidating our presence in established markets like the United States.

Can you elaborate on the specific measures you have implemented to support its expansion into diamond jewellery amidst market uncertainties?

Jewel has been actively involved in the diamond jewellery business since 1999, initially focusing on wholesale operations. However, recognising evolving market dynamics, we strategically shifted our focus towards retailing, culminating in the opening of our first retail store in 2009. This transition has enabled us to establish a stronger presence across the region and forge deeper connections with our customers over the years.

On model: A high-end diamond necklace and chandelier earrings by Jewel

How many stores does Jewel currently have and what are the growth plans for the year 2024?   

Currently we have 8 stores around Dubai in different verticals (diamond, gold, silver). Now we are trying to expand our retail front to other regions. For 2024, we have ambitious growth plans aimed at expanding our retail presence both regionally and internationally.

We are focused on expanding our footprint in key cities within the GCC region, specifically Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, and Doha for new store openings. These expansions aim to bring us closer to our customers and enhance accessibility to our jewellery offerings, particularly in silver and diamond jewellery segments.

In addition, we are also setting our sights on entering the Indian market, with Mumbai being our primary target. The city presents a significant growth opportunity, particularly in the diamond jewellery segment. We believe that leveraging our strategies to establish a strong network and incorporate Western design knowledge will position us for success in this dynamic market.

A contemporary diamond-only set by Jewel.

What are the demands for varied jewellery products?

Our focus at Jewel is on crafting exquisite bridal jewellery tailored to the unique tastes and traditions of both the Middle Eastern and Western regions. We offer a comprehensive range of items essential for every bride’s journey, whether it’s selecting trousseau pieces or finding the perfect ensemble for the wedding day. Additionally, our collections cater to family members seeking gifts or personal adornments for themselves.

At Jewel, we prioritise offering exceptional value for money. As part of our commitment to excellence, we have expanded our offerings to include fancy-shaped diamonds. While these pieces may command a higher budget, they are considered worthwhile due to their timeless allure and lasting quality.

Moreover, we specialise in cut and coloured stone jewellery, offering an economical yet elegant option for customers. These pieces are perfect for special occasions, combining affordability with designer craftsmanship.

An Art Deco pearl and amethyst set by Jewel.

Could you provide insights into the approach to enhancing the in-store shopping experience for customers interested in diamond jewellery?

Enhancing the in-store shopping experience for customers interested in diamond jewelry involves several key approaches:

Diamond jewelry customers seek a more personalized experience focused on building relationships. To cater to our high-value clients, we have introduced a new elite lounge where they can engage in a more personalized interaction rather than just being customers. This exclusive environment is designed to make them feel comfortable and build trust, particularly when making significant investments in high-value items.

To ensure a seamless retail experience, we prioritize ongoing sales team knowledge training. In today’s market, customers demand complete transparency in their purchases, and our sales team is at the forefront of this effort. They undergo comprehensive training to ensure they possess in-depth knowledge of the products they sell and can address any questions or concerns customers may have.

Embracing technology is integral to meeting the evolving needs of our customers. Customisation and personalisation are key drivers of business growth, as customers seek unique experiences. We are actively exploring advancements in technology such as AI, VR, and other innovations to enhance efficiency and better meet the individual needs of our customers.

What are the consumer preferences and behaviour of jewellery buyers? Are they looking at Italian/ French/ German brands?

Consumer preferences and behaviour are influenced by various factors, including brand inspiration and unique design preferences.

Customers typically fall into two categories: those who seek inspiration from major brands and those who prioritise unique designs.

There is a growing preference for less chunky jewellery, particularly among brides, who often seek pieces that they can wear beyond their wedding day, opting for more understated styles.

Every day and smaller occasion jewellery are currently trending, reflecting a shift towards more versatile and practical pieces.

There is an increasing demand for budget-friendly gifting options, indicating a desire for accessible luxury items.

Italian brands are particularly favoured in the diamond jewellery market due to their innovative and inspiring designs.

How do you see overall sales vis a vis previous year? 

In comparison to the previous year, overall sales are expected to remain stable. There is a significant level of uncertainty in the market, with gold prices reaching all-time highs, affecting customer sentiment. Sales are likely to occur primarily based on necessity and urgency, with customers potentially compromising on price for specific designs. The impact on sales of smaller, generic diamond items is not expected to be substantial, as the price of gold does not have a significant influence. Additionally, the stabilization of diamond prices compared to the previous year’s rise is expected to contribute positively to sales.

What are the marketing and promotional strategies to attract and retain customers, thereby driving sales growth? 

We engage in several marketing and promotional strategies that play a significant role in attracting and retaining customers.

Utilising influencer marketing channels, especially in the diamond jewellery sector, has proven to be highly effective.

Emphasizing personal branding over company branding tends to yield better results, as customers often trust recognisable faces and content that showcases expertise.

Offering deals and discounts on slow-moving stock can significantly increase sales, as customers are always on the lookout for such opportunities.

Diversifying marketing efforts across various mediums increases brand awareness among customers and enhances the perception of trustworthiness.

Engaging in public relations activities is crucial, as they help elevate brand visibility, especially when conducted within the same ecosystem as the target customers.

In March 1991, Jewel Trading made its mark with the inauguration of its inaugural silver shop in Deira Gold Souk. Recognising an emerging opportunity, by January 1993, the company ventured into wholesale silver trading, targeting the GCC market. Over the years, the company expanded its presence, establishing outlets in key locations like Bur Dubai and Deira City Centre in 1993 and 1995 respectively. In October 2002, Jewel Trading diversified its offerings by introducing a wholesale diamond jewelry section, focusing on bridal sets tailored for the GCC clientele. The company’s growth trajectory reached new heights with the opening of its flagship store in Dubai Mall in October 2008, followed by a diamond retail outlet in Gold Souk in October 2009. The year 2018 marked another milestone as Jewel Trading launched a dedicated retail store for 22k gold jewelry, aiming to serve UAE expats and global tourists alike. This remarkable journey culminated in October 2019 when Shekhar Patni, the driving force behind Jewel Trading, was honored with the prestigious golden visa, a testament to his remarkable achievements and contributions to the UAE’s business landscape.

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