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Professionalizing the Business is not only necessary but Inevitable

Ashish Pethe, Partner, Waman Hari Pethe Jewellers, believes professionalizing the jewellery business is need of the hour in today’s changing and challenging business place. He also opines that every forward thing king jeweller must be present in digital retailing to take advantage of the online boom. Creation of India Good Delivery Standard is another thing that he touches upon. Excerpts…

First we wish to know a bit about WHP jewelers – its history, current share in the market where you have presence and about your expansion plan.

The Company, having a legacy of 108 years, was founded in 1909 by our founders Late Shri. Waman Hari Pethe & Late Shri. Ganesh Hari Pethe. They initially started in a small shop in Girgaum, Mumbai. They started dealing in real pearls and soon increased their range to include Gold , Silver & Diamonds.  Currently the company has 23 showrooms spread across three states of Maharashtra, Goa & Madhya Pradesh. It is amongst the leading jewellers in all the markets they are present in. The company is known as " One Stop Shop " for all jewellery needs.We plan to add about 2/3 showrooms every year for the next three years in Western India.

Do you think professionalizing the business is absolutely necessity in today’s market condition especially for those having long family history?

Absolutely. I think professionalizing the business is not only necessary but inevitable. In the fast changing landscape of Jewellery retailing industry all jewellers need to professionalize the operations. All the family owned jewellers should realise that separating ownership and management is the only way forward to growth and taking the business to the next level.

As a jeweller, what kind of bullion bars you prefer for manufacturing? To be precise, do you prefer LBMA bars or any bars available in the market? Lot of arguments take place nowadays that jewelers do not maintain required purity in the jewellery, (even people raised questions on hallmarked jewellery) and on the other hand, jewelers argue that they do not get required standard bullion bars. 

As a Jeweller we use both LBMA bars as well as locally minted bars. I think the jewellers many times take wrong decisions with short sighted approach. It is important to be prudent in procuring Bullion Bars. The proposed Indian Standard will go a long way in solving the problem of sourcing right bullion bars especially in smaller cities and towns.I think this will solve a lot of problems faced by jewellers while manufacturing jewellery.

As an industry veteran, what is your view on our industry competitiveness? Can we compete eye to eye with global major jewellery brands? 

 I think competition within the industry is very intense and I think it is best for the consumers. But I feel Industry needs to pull up its socks and work together to be really competitive with other consumer product industries which are vying for the larger share of consumer's wallet. Making gold and Jewellery relevant to the Millennial is a challenge for the industry.  I think the Indian Jewellery is on par with Global Jewellery products. But we need to develop the marketing and branding aptitude to make a competitive global brand. It requires a deep commitment along with deep pockets and a totally global mindset. My sense is that we are on the cusp of having an Indian born Global Jewellery brand.

What is the scope of jewellery retailing using digital platform in India?

Online/Digital Jewellery retailing is slowly picking up speed with the Gen Next getting hooked on to online shopping. It is a matter of time before we see this trend reaches a tipping point. Every forward thinking jeweller needs to be present in the digital space to take best advantage of the online boom when it happens. For this the jeweller has to show a long term commitment to online marketplace.

Do you think India needs a comprehensive jewellery policy so that not only the trade competitiveness improves but also it will create opportunity for bigger livelihood? 

 The Industry needs a comprehensive jewellery policy so as the Industry can be catapulted into a higher growth trajectory in a positive way. The Industry already is one of the highest employments generating Industry. If the Industry moves to a higher growth more employment will be created.

Disclaimer: Views are personal and not the views of the publisher.