The Gem Bazaar Jewellery Story

The Gem Bazaar Jewellery Story

How Gem Bazaar is changing the semi-precious jewellery sector

The dream of Gem Bazaar Jewellery (www.gembazaar.co.uk) is to bring the joy of wearing gorgeous semi-precious jewellery to as many women as possible. Jewellery is our passion – designing it, collaborating with workshops, packaging it, serving customers – we pursue everything that can enhance that experience. We are a company with heart aligned with strong business instincts.

Background

The Delhi sun broke through the first-floor windows of a non-descript terrace house in the centre of town. The midday sun lit the hundreds of gemstones on the strewn across the floor. We were transported to another world of light and colour. In this room the foundations for Gem Bazaar Jewellery were established. The range of colours were kaleidoscopic and sparkled in the Indian sunshine. From these gemstones Gem Bazaar’s first collection was curated. The company’s links with India remain strong. The company’s first brochure was designed and printed in India. The recycled silk bags to store jewellery are made in Jaipur from recycled sarees. The workshops we use are also based in Jaipur. The links that have been forged with the craftsmen go back several decades.

The Co-Founders

Husband and wife team Stephen and Emma are the co-founders of Gem Bazaar. They had first careers in other sectors before Gem Bazaar was established. Emma is the more creative as befits her role as Head of Design. She was born in Calcutta and started her professional life as a copywriter with a large ad agency in Singapore. Several years later she was transferred to the New York office. Design for her is organic – it emerges from within and cannot be turned on and off when required. Her love of jewellery started young when as a child she would visit the local jewellery market stall where a Nepalese woman sold many beautiful pieces. Colour remains a key aspect of our jewellery designs.

Stephen had a career in international finance with investment banks in London and Asia Pacific. His background in finance anchors the company and his passion for people reinforces the outstanding relationships the company has established with customers from around the world  

The Vision

The vision for Gem Bazaar is to see the company become the go-to semi-precious jewellery company in the medium priced segment of thenmarket. Sales have been made into the US and EU for several years with increasing demand from Australia and New Zealand. The two mantras Gem Bazaar has held to are style and value. The women who wear our jewellery feel special – something that lifts her from the ordinary to the extra-ordinary – that a gorgeous item of jewellery can transform how she feels about herself. Gem Bazaar jewellery taps into the energy flows that are around us.

The Challenges

Although we are a semi-precious jewellery company, in truth we are a technology business. Mastering technology is a daily part of business life. However it remains key to ensuring a growth. Social Media is crucial to our marketing and gradually we overcome the tech challenges that arise. At times moving forward is slow but perseverance pays off. It we cannot find the solution we seek someone who does know.

Embracing new wholesale and retail customers remain key to increasing revenue. The former arrives by word of mouth and through trade shows. The first experience of a London trade show was interesting – we felt the amount of effort and cost involved for the two-day show was disproportionate to the return. Nowadays the focus in on two shows in London where our jewellery is displayed for a month to wholesale customers. This means gravitating towards  two new collections annually.

The third challenge is funding. Advertising is key to the business. Expenditure is  usually divided between 70% on advertising and the balance to stock. We already have secured funding for cash flow from a fintech company who approached us in 2022. This has worked well and we will develop our relationship with it in the future. Another fintech company has approached us – with funding for advertising and stock. Currently we do not generate adequate cash flow so external funders are crucial for growth.

There is never adequate time to do all that is required. Accepting that premise is the first stage of getting things done.   Hard work and long hours are the price paid to achieve goals.

Company Strengths

First is our design. The company’s reputation for gorgeous items of jewellery continues to grow especially with repeat customers. This remains central to our future strategy especially the willingness to take risks. A  reputation for the introducing gorgeous designs regularly is key to continuing success.

Customer service follows up. It was decided at the beginning that customers would receive the best possible service at all times. Response times can be measured in minutes. What makes it different is that it comes with a human touch. This comes from being a family-based business.

Gem Bazaar is considered a family business. All counterparties whose services are used are part of that family. Our relationships reflect that – we act with integrity and honesty. We want everyone, whether an employee or customer, to feel they have gained something from their contact with Gem Bazaar. The simple act of engaging with Gem Bazaar, no matter for how long, should make a meaningful difference to those who do. We remain generous in our approach – in our designs and in the way we treat all people.

Opportunities

The semi-precious jewellery sector in the UK remains fragmented. The creates challenges but also opportunities. There are many smaller companies that market well and secure a reasonable turnover. A small number of companies have established their name internationally and thrive. Gem Bazaar operates in the medium sector of the price market – our prices range from around £50 to £200. At the beginning Gem Bazaar offered only two categories of jewellery – earrings and rings. Rings was a last-minute idea but proved hugely popular. In more recent years arm-wear and neckwear have been offered. New items will continue to be introduced.

Since Covid jewellery B2B and D2C platforms have been very popular. This has been a relatively inexpensive way to enter different markets and become known in them, especially US. We will continue to participate on appropriate platforms to secure increased revenue.

As we grow the company and add people to the payroll, we have the opportunity to create a different style of company. We value diversity and we seek out talent. All jewellery will eventually be sold as there will always be a buyer – somewhere. Our challenge is to find that buyer.

Conclusions

Starting a jewellery business calls for many skills. The business has to become an abiding passion for everyone involved – you live and breathe it every day. We envision daily what we want – we tear away any boundaries that limit the enormity of our dreams. Everything is possible if we so choose it to be.

Disappointments there are a plenty. A burglary that saw all of our stock stolen was a setback.  Yet it provided the opportunity to set out a bigger vision for the company with much grander plans.

As both founders have had prior business careers, they bring an abundance of wisdom to the company. If work has to be completed then weekends are no barrier to that. The  joy of creating a company with heart has its compensations.

In short we consider ourselves hugely fortunate to be involved in such a creative business. It demands huge amount from us but we also receive as much. We don’t have a grand master plan but each day we start with a vision of where we want to be and then work towards that. That’s good enough for now.

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MS, University of Tartu
Sleep specialist

Using the acquired academic and professional experience, I advise patients with various complaints about mental health - depressed mood, nervousness, lack of energy and interest, sleep disorders, panic attacks, obsessive thoughts and anxieties, difficulty concentrating, and stress. In my free time, I love to paint and go on long walks on the beach. One of my latest obsessions is sudoku – a wonderful activity to calm an unease mind.

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