Over at Q Report, CEO Rami Baron reflects on the year that was and his expectations of the strength of the industry moving forward.
What risks did you take this last year? Why? And did they work in your favour?
The biggest risk which we took last year was almost doubling our team. Bringing on a number of specialists in marketing, data analytics, accounting and the number of other specialities all meant a huge financial expenditure. Why? Because we identified growth opportunities both in Australia and overseas. Did they work in our favour? Some of these roles were able to provide immediate return on investment, but the majority of them will take two to three years at a minimum for us to evaluate whether they were the right decisions.
Rami remains steadfast in his position that a good business is built on trust and delivering on promises.
As a leader in your business, what is the single most important value you want to pass to your customers?
Hands down, the single most important value we want to pass on to our customers is trust. Trust, in terms of delivering on our promise. At the end of the day, insurance is a promise. A promise that should something happen to your jewellery at a future date, you can have absolute trust and confidence that the company you’ve chosen to insure your jewellery with will deliver.
The interesting thing about insurance is that barely anyone reads the fine print, and like so many other services, they don’t know the right questions to ask about a policy to ensure that it truly meets their needs.
It’s on this basis that we at Q Report looked to create a product and service which goes beyond people’s general expectations of what a jewellery insurance policy should provide. In the case of a claim, there should never be a discussion about exclusions. Many of our colleagues look at us incredulously when we say we like claims. Why? Because it’s the only time we can truly prove to both the consumer and the jewellers who work with us that we deliver on our promise.
For the industry and economy as a whole, interest rates remain the biggest threat to the jewellery market. However, Rami explains that technology and market research will be intrinsic to business success in this new landscape.
What do you anticipate the challenges of 2023 will be for the industry?
There is no doubt that the impact of increasing interest rates and increasing travel will bite into the luxury spend. These are a given.
An issue that interests me more and that I feel many retailers haven’t given enough focus to is the data they have accumulated on their customers over so many years. Have they accumulated this information in a manner that could be utilised to build growth and success? Do they look at that data as an asset in their business? I don’t mean this in terms of simply names, phone numbers and email addresses, I mean this in terms of purchasing patterns, regions, and areas where the clients are coming to them from. Retailers need to look at trends which are not based purely on a hunch but on hard-core data analytics.
In simple terms, the biggest challenges will be ensuring profitability, identifying and understanding the market trends and where their business fits in. Retailers need to ask themselves the hard questions such as how will they manage their marketing spend and overall expenses if business slows down?
Rami sees growth and opportunity for the future of the industry, with hopes of unity and space for a strong, educational community to thrive.
Where would you like to see the jewellery industry in five years time?
There is clearly a trend in Australia for small independent workshops to flourish. The most exciting part is seeing more and more women going into business for themselves. I believe this trend will continue. I think that a number of jewellers will see the benefit of teaming up together and creating small partnerships where each person brings a different skill set to the business.
I think overseas brands are going to target Australia more aggressively because they are able to make a higher margin on goods sold in Australia.
The higher end of the natural diamond market will probably shrink, however those in it will become more profitable as they evolve into more exclusive businesses, attracting the aspirational customer.
I hope to see more jewellers creating unique experiences for their customers – far more than simply giving them a bottle of champagne when they get engaged.
My number one aspiration for this industry is that we stop seeing each other as competition but instead unite and focus on giving back. What do I mean? We need to build the educational institutions to teach the next generation how to craft fine jewellery, how to bring their own style and creativity to this industry. We need to create an Australian jewellery industry we can all be proud of, in terms of the quality we produce. We can create a level of transparency which could be the envy of the rest of the world and which I truly believe we are capable of.
In the understanding that inspiration can strike from anywhere, Rami is proactive in his approach to find it.
How do you find inspiration to move your business forward?
It really is about one’s DNA. Some people are happy to continue doing what they do, while others are just never happy sitting still. Reading, meeting other business owners, especially those unrelated to mine, inspires me to find alternative ways of doing things and some of the magic ingredients that help us propel our business forward.