With a firm determination & clear mindset, Antony Jose has truly set the ball rolling for Prince Jewellers in South India.
Antony Prince joined his family jewellery business — but only after graduating from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), New York, and completing a master’s degree in Strategy, Leadership & Change Management from UK. Together with his father and elder brother, he took the family brand to new markets.
Prince Jewellery has a legacy dating back 83 years. My father Princeson Jose founded our company, but long before that his grandmother ran her own jewellery shop in a small village near Kottayam, Kerala. The brand has come a long way since those days, and Prince Jewellery is one of the most recognised brands in South India.
Some years ago Prince Jewellery spotted an opportunity to tap into emerging new markets by catering to a growing, aspirational target consumer. Towns and cities are evolving rapidly, and it was the ideal time to open new showrooms in new locations. Speaking of my own advent into the business, my original brief was to identify new markets for growth and research locations for new showrooms.
Very soon we were expanding, at first in Chennai, the city where Prince Jewellery began. The idea was to target millennial customers and expand the reach of our brand. It was about time we took up the task, aggressively, of expanding our clientele.
I built a tight team of people to research the best sites thoroughly. That’s when we came across Velachery, which is Chennai’s IT hub and one of the fastest-growing areas in the city. We researched the local consumer preferences. We decided to begin with lightweight jewellery, with a focus on diamond and platinum. We sat down with our purchase team and explained the market dynamics. Six months ago, we opened a 6,000 sq ft store in Velachery.
At the same time we launched a new diamond jewellery brand, TIA, aimed at millennials. The brand is priced at Rs5,000 and up, and positioned in the gifting segment.
After Velachery we identified Coimbatore. It was an obvious choice. Coimbatore is on the Central government’s list of “smart cities”. It is at the heart of a major manufacturing belt — a city of industrialists and surrounded by industrial towns.
Many affluent consumers visit Coimbatore for high-end shopping. They have a taste for antique jewellery, good-quality diamond as well as exquisite silverware. Therefore, the jewellery at our showroom would have to be top-notch and the designs unique. As to location, 100 Feet Road was the obvious choice, ideal for access from nearby towns and not lacking in infrastructure. Unlike in Velachery, our Coimbatore showroom was intended from the start to cater to high-end customers with a strong focus on bridal jewellery.
We made Prince Jewellery’s entire portfolio available in the showroom, from the Muhurtham collection to the Bridal Collection to Princess, the diamond bridal collection, to our exquisite silverware collection. Spread across more than 8,500 sq ft of floor space, the interiors and spaces in our Coimbatore showroom are shaped for the modern luxury customer.
Another relevant feature here is a videoconferencing lounge, which enables our customers to speak directly with our designers in Bengaluru, Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram, or to the factory, in great comfort. This enhances customer engagement and helps them customise their jewellery with the hands-on help of our designers.
Millennials have very specific and interesting jewellery preferences! We are more than happy to welcome and indeed adopt their ideas.
Given that Prince Jewellery is new to both markets, the response we have received is beyond our expectations. When we opened in Coimbatore, for example, we had customers coming all the way from Salem and Tiruppur to shop for wedding purchases. They know the brand and its legacy. And the brand has definitely gained in awareness and equity amongst these valuable new customer segments.
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