The second day of the Mines to Market conference hosted by the GJEPC had a lineup of equally thought provoking sessions pertaining to the diamond industry. The day began with a rather challenging panel discussion – ‘Survival in the Absence of Growth.’ Stephane Fischler, President, Antwerp World Diamond Centre, presented the audience with a powerful presentation and advised them to prioritize quality over low cost methods. “Stop being obsessed by cheap labour, cheap software and cheap computers, cheap is expensive,” he said.
“Always be open with the banks. That is the only way to gain trust, do not take shortcuts and be aware of what’s happening around the world when it comes to finance,” said Mavji Bhai Patel, Managing Director, Kiran Gems. The context of surviving in the absence of growth is tricky as it comes with the presumption that there is indeed no growth. “We are not here to survive, we are not cheap. We are businessmen and we are here to make profits. It has been bad for the last few years but we cannot stay in the rut. We need to change ourselves, spend money and understand technology,” said Sanjay Kothari, Vice Chairman, KGK Group.
A lot of importance was given to Marketing as a means to earn more profitability throughout the conference. Oded Edelman, CEO, James Allen, one of world’s rapidly growing online retailers of diamond jewellery made a presentation with an engaging video to attract more Millenial audiences to their website; the video garnered three million views within a couple of weeks since its launch. Abdul Salam, Group Executive Director, Malabar Gold & Diamonds said that though times are changing and they are definitely looking at more sales through their online platform, the traditional brick and mortal model is something that works for them.
Rajeev Mehta, CEO, Diamexon, quoted some of the biggest spends on marketing by the likes of Pampers and Gillette and said that Apple surprisingly doesn’t figure in the list of top twenty companies with the biggest marketing budgets. He pointed out that if a product is good, it will speak for itself and marketing is not the only means to an end. “Tesla’s spend on marketing is $0,” he concluded.
Diamond financing has always been an area of utmost importance and this time around, the panelists gave a fresh perspective on the same. Chaim Even Zohar set the tone by stating that ABN Amro made a decent, respectful exit. Some of the eminent personalities from banking who joined the panel discussion were Linus Koh, CEO, SDiX, Biju Patnaik, Executive VP, IndusInd, Prasad, CGM, SBI and Praveenshankar Pandya, Chairman, GJEPC.