Dhiaan Srinivasan grew up watching his father convert a small jewellery business into an empire. Today, Emerald Jewel Industry India is among the world’s largest manufacturers of jewellery, and he is determined to take the enterprise further with innovative technology, all the while retaining the core values that built the brand.
When Dhiaan joined the business in 2014, Emerald was already a market leader with over 30 years of experience. He understands that his role now is to add new avenues of enterprise without compromising on existing ones. “One of the untapped areas of potential in the Indian market is silver,” he says. “We realise the attraction of the metal, especially for millennials, who want to indulge while fitting in with the latest trends, and we look forward to incorporating the metal in our business further.”
Expanding the brand and embracing the use of silver led to the creation of Zilara, a brand of exclusive silver jewellery sold through the company’s retail arm JewelOne.
Finding the glow
Emerald started laying down the foundation of retail division in 2010, and by 2012 had set up its first store. Initially, the company had an intention of setting up 200 such stores. Unfortunately, since 2015, the industry has faced a number of challenges, including demonetisation, increased GST, and now, the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have faced unprecedented challenges every year, something that we have never experienced in the 35 years of the company,” Dhiaan reveals. “Adapting to every challenge thrown at us, and making the best of every situation, has made Emerald grow from strength to strength, and I am proud to have spear-headed this journey.”
As a result, Emerald had to infuse flexibility into its plans to reach its customers better and started retailing through ‘shop-in-shop’. “The shop-in-shop concept has expanded our business in ways we never considered before. Though the concept is not new, our adaptation of the process has been novel, to say the least,” he explains. “This method has been a win–win venture for everyone involved, whether it be Emerald or our venture partners, as, despite the pandemic, this business model has seen exponential growth.”
At the end of the day, people want the human factor – they do not want to interact with bots.
Dhiaan feels that with something as timeless as jewellery, the best way to differentiate one’s brand is through a winning business model. “The importance of creating a steady business model cannot be underestimated,” he stresses. “The trick is to be just slightly unique – less flash and frills.
“There are only a few industries as mature as the jewellery industry, such as the automobile industry. There is a lot we can learn from them, especially when it comes to technological adaptation. We have to use not only their successes, but also their failures as inspiration.”
Emerald will soon launch a separate brand umbrella with a wide range of online-exclusive products. Dhiaan is excited by the potential offered by ecommerce in a business that has been largely offline until now. “Because jewellery is a high-value segment, I fundamentally believe that we are just one big technological change away from the industry leaving an indelible mark in the online sphere,” he predicts.
Towards a bright future
Emerald is a union of 20 different companies and has the capacity to produce over 48 tonnes of jewellery each year. The retail segment of the business which operates under the brand JewelOne, has already made its presence known through the shop-in-shop concept, alongside its 15 retail outlets.
Dhiaan hopes to increase the shop-in-shop count to 1,000 outlets across the country and establish more independent retail stores in the coming years. The company also hopes to reach diverse customer groups through its brand offerings. “Emerald in every household – that is our intent,” he says.
Apart from his plans to retail online, he hopes to infuse the best of engineering technology and robotics in the manufacturing process to manage costs and achieve quality. “In the future, I predict that technological advancements will be our biggest strength,” he asserts. “We have already started moving towards this, and will likely achieve our goals in three to five years.”
Dhiaan says that recent years have brought with them the challenge of ‘unknowns’ because of the pandemic. Yet, he passionately believes that following the values that have helped the company achieve unprecedented success over 35 years will see it overcome every obstacle in its path.
Because jewellery is a high-value segment, I fundamentally believe that we are just one big technological change away from the industry leaving an indelible mark in the online sphere.
“One of the biggest differentiators of our company are the values that we stand for and how our values relate to the ideals currently relevant to the market. At the end of the day, people want the human factor – they do not want to interact with bots. Our motto moving forward will adhere to the same principles – how do we keep the human aspect intact, while incorporating more and more technology into our processes?”
Dhiaan also feels that a large part of the company’s success is its link with strategic contractors. “Logistics has become an important game-changer,” he explains. “Amazing logistics players in the market can take the competition to the next level.” He also believes that every supplier adds value to the growth story of Emerald.
Rooted in values and yet always on the lookout for modern technology that can take the business into the future, Dhiaan is ready to meet all forthcoming successes and challenges with Emerald. “It takes an awe-inspiring recipe to create success,” he smiles.
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