By Olivia Quiniquini
Indian jewellery manufacturer Moksh is looking to expand its global footprint by tapping high-end retailers seeking fresh concepts to captivate an increasingly discerning market.
Established in 2005, the company has carved a niche for itself in the fine jewellery world with its handmade, bejewelled creations that meld traditional Indian design motifs and techniques with contemporary styles. Its popular Taantvi Collection crafts jewellery pieces using a delicate and intricate technique of weaving small Japanese keshi pearls to produce a mesh-like effect. Also turning heads is its Symphony line of contemporary sautoirs with various styles, from knots and tassels to asymmetrical and multiple-string designs.
In an interview with JNA during the recent Hong Kong International Jewellery Show, Moksh CEO Milan Chokshi discussed the company’s unique proposition and its growth trajectory.
JNA: What makes Moksh special?
Milan Chokshi: We specialise in beautiful, wearable jewellery pieces that have a lot of finesse and detail. Our creations feature different cuts of diamonds, a wide range of coloured gemstones and various kinds of pearls. Since we are based in India, we have access to the finest raw materials that allow us to deliver unique combinations at very low costs. It takes at least two to three months to create a Moksh jewellery piece due to the intricacy of our designs and the high level of craftsmanship required. Most of the time, when a woman wears our jewellery, it gets noticed. That’s a great compliment to the wearer and to us. If someone asks a lady about something she is wearing, it ensures that she will return to the retailer that sold her that exceptional piece.
JNA: What are your expectations for this year?
Chokshi: We aim to do as well as we did in 2016. Right now, it is really about retailers who are able to find a new category or drive customers to their current stores. To expect exponential growth in these times is not realistic. Our growth has always been gradual and consistent over the years. There has been no meteoric rise or a dramatic fall in our business so far, but market acceptance has been encouraging.
JNA: Which markets have delivered results for Moksh?
Chokshi: We are doing well in our domestic market where we established Moksh as a brand. We do bridal shows and trunk shows in different parts of India. On the international front, we work with high-end boutiques that sell our product under their label. We do good business in South America and have customers in the Middle East. Certain markets in Asia are also beginning to appreciate what we are doing. We adapt our lines based on market preferences. South Americans are able to carry off bigger pieces. In the Far East, people prefer more delicate designs. But since the product is both unique and universal, it can work in any market in the world. We are looking to participate in either Couture or Luxury next year to broaden our customer base.
JNA: How important are raw materials to Moksh?
Chokshi: They are critical to the success of the business. From the very beginning, we wanted to create our own style – and we could, largely since we are also in the diamond and the commercial jewellery manufacturing business and have access to all kinds of diamonds and gems. Given our background and the trading platform in our home base, it is very easy for us to pick and choose the shapes and calibrations we need.
JNA: Where does Moksh fall in the fine jewellery space?
Chokshi: Our price points are between $3,000 and $25,000, so we are neither extremely high-end nor extremely affordable. If the jewellery is too expensive, consumers would prefer a big, famous brand. If it is too affordable, they would become price-sensitive. We are happy to land somewhere in the middle, in that sweet spot of the market for wearable, easy-to-buy and easy-to-wear jewellery.
JNA: What did you set out to do when you launched Moksh in 2005? Have you succeeded?
Chokshi: Being in the trade, I was working closely with retailers in India and overseas. This allowed me to see what was available at retail and what capabilities retailers had. I realised there was a gap in the market for something unique and decided to create a new category in the retail space. I tried to develop a product and a price plan that offered something new to clients and did not interfere with my existing business. The biggest challenge in our sector is to create differentiation. It is really tough to stand out. Everyone thinks their concept is the freshest. The true measure of success is whether you can stay the course over an extended period of time. We have only been doing this for some 12 years now, so we will see.
JNA: What is your vision for Moksh?
Chokshi: Our goal is to be consistent in the delivery of great value to retailers by creating fine, unique jewellery that takes Indian traditions and gives them a modern spin to make them truly international. Hopefully, we can eventually have four to five Moksh stores globally.