Diamonds are forever
"Diamonds are a women's best friend," so the saying goes. Manek Gem Art International has been the trusted friend of ladies for nearly three decades.
Started by MR. R.R.Manek it functioned on a very small workshop at Mumbai, Ghatkopar with only one jewellery casting machine. With the trust and support of few friends and relatives, gradually moved in Opera House, and imported machinery from Germany. Sourcing diamonds proved to be another challenge and more than that was to find good craftsmen to make the jewellery that time.
Soon Manek Gem became a major player in manufacturing and supply of Diamond jewellery. Well known for their good quality and finish of diamond jewellery, which they make themselves entirely. They along with supplying to the local market, targeted export market and today they supply to 30 jewellers in wholesale in India and export to many jewelers in USA and UK.
In Goa, they started selling their products 15 years ago through exhibitions. Tremendous support from the people of goa made them come again and again. Gradually it became difficult to continue exhibitions due to logistics of movement of expensive items from Mumbai and back. The support from friends and customers from Goa, led to the opening of their first showroom at M.G. road, Panjim in Aug, 2004. Today they have three branches in Goa, one in Margao and the latest one Sparssh at Caculo mall.
The business is managed hands-on by family members. The patriarch, R.R.Manek is the decision maker and looks after it overall. Sheetal Palan, Manek’s daughter and her husband Anand Palan are equally involved in the business. Both handle the retail market. Anand’s Brother-in-law Ketan handles the exports and purchase of diamonds while brother Devang handles manufacturing and supply to local market “We handled every aspect of business step by step. As this is a family managed business, it made decision making easier,” says Anand. Sheetal is a jewellery designer. Many clients who want custom made jewellery seek her advice.
“We try to be present at the store as far as possible, so we know what the customers actually want. You have to be present there yourself to know what their likes and grievances are. All our diamond jewellery is lab certified and we give lifetime buy back and exchange of our jewellery. Customer satisfaction is emphasized,” says Anand.
“Although Goa is a small market, it doesn’t make it any easier to run business here. Goans love jewellery , but traditionally Gold jewellery is been worn more than diamond jewellery .Getting the market interested in diamonds was a big challenge in itself. People compare diamonds with gold jewellery and found it expensive. But with the right knowledge and opening up of Goan market, now people know that to wear diamonds is a different concept altogether. It looks more beautiful and rich, a status symbol yet reasonably priced.” Although times have changed, today he says the main challenge is in the marketing and competition. “Today you can’t afford to not be on your toes,” says Anand, so even when he is travelling he keeps track of what’s happening to the store.
While the diamonds are cut and polished in Surat, their jewellery is manufactured at their manufacturing units at Opera House, Jhaveri Bazar or Kandivali Mumbai. Apart from cutting and polishing of diamonds, which is outsourced, the rest of the other work is done in-house. Since sales are accounted as direct sale from factory, customers get factory pricing. As far as quality is concerned, the jewellery is all certified with guaranteed purity.
Manek Gem has recently started a jewellery line called ‘Sparssh.’ It is their first in-house brand. Anand says, “We had always wanted to create a brand which is light weight and delicate. One can use it daily and also is affordable, this led to Sparssh.” The price range of the jewellery in the Sparssh line is from Rs. 8-10,000 to Rs.50, 000/-. In the future they plan to open more showrooms in many other markets within a couple of years. They would also want to set up their own manufacturing workshop in Goa.
Anand says “The local customers in Goa are always looking for a quality product and also are ready to spend. In fact, these days we have seen domestic tourists spend more in Goa than the foreigners.” One of the biggest challenges which we are happy to face in Goa is getting new designs, as Goa is a small market, we can’t repeat same designs, once they are sold. This keeps us and our in-house designers very busy and innovative as we try and create new designs. For all those who would like to pick up something more suited to their budgets, we are here to cater to them.”