Tell us a bit about the history of Pranda
Pranda UK is a wholly owned subsidiary of Pranda Jewelry and was established in Thailand over 40 years ago. It specialises in manufacturing gold and silver gem set jewellery along with high end fashion jewellery. The UK subsidiary is effectively the factory gate here in the UK. We are keen to promote designers to become partners with Pranda for the manufacturing of their collections, and to assist in coordination and offering an import service if required. Pranda prides itself on being a friendly, family-run business offering the security and reliability of working with a large organisation, yet at the same time maintaining intimacy with the client who can soon form a relationship that is hard to find elsewhere.
Tell us about your client mantra
We promote the concept of ‘the architecture of craftsmanship’, meaning the formation of a close relationship with a client. This involves coordinating design, sourcing quality components and facilitating exacting standards to bring to fruition the beauty of finely crafted jewellery.
Recent hallmarking figures suggest that gold sales are on the rise, how are you finding the market right now?
Retailers that regularly restock our 9ct gem set jewellery experience good sell-through, they don’t cost the earth and our pricing reflects the drop in gold price. Sales are definitely on the up, but for some jewellers they are still slow to stock new gold lines. Jewellers have been relying on utilising their existing stock holding, but injecting new products will help to boost sales, as consumer confidence returns to the market.
Do retailers seem to be stocking more jewellery, and what type of jewellery is selling best right now?
Pranda’s own brands, Blossom Copenhagen and Merii offer the retailer an excellent opportunity to have a silver, and silver gold plated collection on an attractive window display to suit their budget. We don’t set hard and fast rules on how much they need to invest as we’d prefer to work together so that the retailer reorders as they sell, ensuring that the best sellers stay in stock, that way we both benefit from increased sales.
Gold gem set sales reflect a ‘back to basics’ with ruby being very strong. Sapphire and emerald are also very strong whilst the semi-precious gems amethyst and blue topaz are the favourites. Turquoise is also proving popular. Sales of our more expensive 100 cut cubic zirconia in 9ct settings are also selling well. They are a Swiss cut CZ with 100 facets so are a cut above the rest. They represent a quality product that can be an alternative to a diamond engagement ring for those that want a big show for their money.
Looking back at the last few years, would you say things are finally on the up?
Times have been extremely tough with retailers becoming buyers rather than sellers of gold. As there is a lag at the beginning of a recession before the situation hits home, the same is true for the reverse, at the end of the recession, and there is a lead time to build back consumer confidence before things improve. Because of this the industry has had to re-think product and methods of selling. Gold gem set jewellery designs are made to minimise metal, branded collections of silver with silver gold plated options give the look at a reasonable price. Our job as a supplier is to offer the retailer that affordable product as a stock line and also as an addition to the retailer’s internet offering.
Could you tell us a bit more about the day-to-day running of Pranda UK?
Pranda UK has been wholesaling Pranda jewellery for 25 years and we believe that it’s all about the service. As part of Pranda Group we benefit from the close relationship we have with them for reliability of supply, and the consistent quality. We have full access to their design office to develop new products to suit the UK market and access to what’s new at Pranda. Our stock holding ensures fast and efficient dispatch. We stock ring sizes L to P and have our own sizing facility for outside that range. Alternatively special orders for specific ring sizes are on a four to five week delivery. We also distribute our 9ct gem set gold and silver brands via sales agents across the country with a dedicated brand sales manager, Dave Edwards, who works from his base in the Midlands.
You recently launched a new website, how important is it for you to have a website that looks good?
As retailers gain confidence in the market the option to browse our website and place an order when it suits them rather than waiting for the agent to call, or remembering the reference of the item that they’ve just sold so they can reorder, is of great benefit. It’s convenient for the retailer to see images and order little and often. The website is a tool for both the retailer and our agents to help improve our service and accessibility. Retailers can easily register to the website to get a log in. It makes it easy to check for availability of designs in alternative gems. They can also look to increase their own web site as we are happy to make images of the products available to them.
How do you stay ahead of your competitors?
The jewellery trade is a friendly and close-knit industry and we pride ourselves on having built up a lot of loyal customers by being there for them and thinking beyond them to their own customers. Buying jewellery is always a red letter day for the consumer and therefore we respond to the retailer in the same way they would to their customer, we like to think of ourselves as a team.
We are fortunate to have the Pranda Group behind us so it enables us to keep developing designs and can introduce to our market initiatives taken by the Pranda Group. We have a large portfolio of designs and have more launches planned for the future.
We’ve taken a look at laser hallmarking in this edition of Jewellery Focus: what’s your opinion? Do you think laser hallmarking is inferior to the traditional punch method?
Not at all, with the majority of jewellery being hallmarked as a finished product, laser hallmarking helps avoids bruising and misshaping earring posts. We have Sheffield mark at 2 o’clock on rings so the laser in the recess helps to avoid wear.
Where do you see Pranda UK in five years, are there any big plans?
We want to have continued growth on internet sales, and in return this will need fast and efficient response times. We also want to continue to gain more relationships with designers, so they can find a home at Pranda. What’s around the corner at Pranda Group, I can’t say, but there’s always an exciting new development around the corner. I’m very excited about the latest Dancing Diamonds by H. Gringoire., H. Gringoire Paris 1880, which is now part of the Pranda Group.