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Innovation - Agent of Change
Change is law of nature, but unfortunately, the gem and jewellery industry is not witnessing many changes except the change of faces. Challenges like the deep rooted Indian mindset, which is averse to changes and avoids risk, fascination towards quick and easy money and most important no attempt to venture out of their comfort zone—are posing serious threat to the industry. Preeti Srivastav talks to a few agents of change like Hemant Shah, Anup Bohra and Umesh Ganjam, for whom innovation is a mission
By: Diamond World News Service
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Aug 20 2012 12:08PM
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Reference: 7191  

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“On a scale of 10, our industry stands at one, when it comes to innovation,” opines Hemant Shah, partner, Priority Jewels. Shah is one of the speakers at the seminars being conducted at the forthcoming IIJS. He will be discussing the challenges that hold the industry from embracing changes and getting more innovative.

A look at the other luxury product industry like high-end watches, automobiles and others suggest that they have changed with time and maintained freshness in their products. But the gem and jewellery industry has hardly seen any revolutionary change in terms of designs, marketing strategies, or for that matter manufacturing.

“Unfortunately, very little has been done in terms of any kind of innovation in the industry. We are a big industry and jewellery is one of the most sought after luxury products. But because we have been too lax about the marketing we have failed drastically to create the much needed hype about our product, while other industries are matching steps with the changing times and ruling the young minds. For example, if we don’t have a good, expensive phone to flaunt today then our own friends make us feel low. In such pressure, irrespective of the age or profession, an expensive phone has become a necessity. This is what is required for the jewellery industry.”

Though the industry boasts of some big names, it’s mostly about carrying the legacy forward and in the name of tradition, same old marketing methods and designs are being recycled.

Marking the same, Shah says, “I hardly see any new players in the market doing anything new. One thing the industry must understand is that we badly need innovations—not only to improve our market, but for our survival in long term. We need a little unity and vision to get back the glory of the industry.”

Shah points out that the industry has failed to attract and retain good talent. “While nine out of 10 diamonds are polished in India, still Indian is not a design destination. No cut, so far, has been developed in India, this says it all about the country’s position in jewellery design market. Except for a few designers, who are innovative, not all take risk.”

In an attempt to find the root of the problem in history, Shah says that since the time immemorial we are traders. We know how to make money from buying and selling things, but creating something is not our culture. That same culture is holding us back from expanding our horizons and venturing into unexplored arenas like contemporary jewellery designing.

Seconding Shah’s opinion was Anup Bohra of Jewels Emporium, who has been actively making efforts to make India a brand in the jewellery design market and embracing innovative ideas. Bohra said, “India has already been identified as a supply centre in world. In fact we rank among the top suppliers, however, when it comes to designing, we don’t have much to boasts about.”

One of the key factors behind India’s image as only of a supplier is lack of any research or marketing. “Because of no research, we have become redundant and have nothing new to offer to the buyers, who were already inching away form jewellery given the inflating prices. Apart from research, we also have been very poor in marketing ourselves and because of that we are losing our share of market. Today the scenario is this that jewellery does not feature in the top 10 wishlist of average consumer. Gadgets and other luxury product, because of their strong marketing strategy, they have become a mandate for common consumers.”

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