Hong Kong jeweller Magia Ltd has built a solid reputation in the fine jewellery industry since the company’s inception in 2001. Over the years, the company has perfected a recipe for success that is hinged upon a commitment to excellence, constant innovation and flexibility in business.
In an interview with JNA, Magia Director Bobby Budhrani shares the secret behind his triumph as one of the industry’s most trusted jewellers.
JNA: What makes Magia stand out from the competition?
Bobby Budhrani: Magia has always strived to stand out from the rest and develop its own identity from day one. We create innovative and exceptional designs that are entirely different from run-of-the-mill products. We conceptualise a design and translate it into a multi-dimensional piece of jewellery, giving it a layered look. We think out of the box and envision a product that a modern woman with a sophisticated taste will enjoy wearing because it is one of a kind. No other woman in the room has anything like it so it makes the wearer feel special as all eyes are on her.
JNA: What are your growth prospects in 2017? Which markets will contribute to your business this year?
Budhrani: We are expecting some growth in 2017 since the year started on a positive note and we hope to see this trend continuing. The US is still our top market, followed by Asia, Europe and the Middle East. I think a lot of people are coming back to the limelight particularly Southeast Asian and American buyers. Europe is still yet to re-emerge. We have a few clients in China to whom we supply exclusive products at the moment but we are trying to get a foothold there. It’s ironic because we are in China and yet it is a challenge to infiltrate this market perhaps due to the language barrier. But this is next in our agenda. We are also looking at Vietnam.
We are still cautious so we continue to offer products that don’t cost much but retain an elegant and commanding appeal. In any situation where the market is just beginning to pick up, buyers become price-sensitive. We are looking at price as a very significant factor for buyers. The important thing is maintaining the beauty and premium quality of the jewellery piece. We are already working on new designs, which we plan to launch in upcoming exhibitions. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the gradual but steady improvement we are seeing now will be sustained for the rest of the year.
JNA: What do you find most challenging about running a jewellery business today?
Budhrani: I find it particularly challenging to continue encouraging consumers to shop for jewellery in person. I fear that the online retail business could be hindering the growth of the industry by taking away that special buying experience and effectively stripping the glamour out of it. Another problem we are facing is manufacturers lowering the quality of their products by using less expensive materials and less skilled labour to reduce costs. A piece of jewellery then becomes more of a costume jewellery with little or no investment value.
JNA: How do you plan to face those challenges?
Budhrani: We attempt to re-educate consumers about the importance of visiting physical stores to make their purchase. An expensive piece of jewellery has to be tangible. You have to try it, feel it and see how it looks on you and if it suits your personality.
We will also continue our strategy of offering competitively priced products. People are more price-conscious now compared to the past two or three years. They want the same but more affordable look so we have to use alternative or replacement stones, which are not as expensive.
We always go for the so-called “number two” when choosing coloured gemstones, which means we don’t go for the top colour because it costs a lot. Everyone is sourcing number one. However, colour number one in rubies and sapphires sometimes appear too black or dark; the red or blue doesn’t really pop out. Number two colours, meanwhile, create a softer balance and are more reasonably priced.
This year, we will probably be using more alternative stones in our collections such as tsavorites in place of emeralds until summer and work our way to darker, cooler colours towards the start of another season. Prices are also quite stable at the moment since the market is starting to stabilise.
JNA: What is your business strategy in your key markets? What can we expect from you in 2017?
Budhrani: We plan to participate in more international trade shows and increase our exposure in major markets. We also want to visit our clients more often this year to show them our new collections. The past year has given us ample time to rethink and improve our strategies. We are coming out with new designs and collections, which are even more exceptional than before.
We also noticed that the younger generation of buyers is always looking for something different since they want to stand out in a crowd. Their taste is becoming more refined. There is the nouveau rich who want to flaunt their style and their newfound sophistication to the world. For instance, China is beginning to think out of the box when it comes to product choices, and we welcome this development. JNA